The University of Houston College of Medicine’s inaugural class of 30 students will not have to pay for their medical education, thanks to an anonymous $3 million gift to the school to fully fund the first class’ tuition when the school opens in 2020. The College of Medicine hopes at least half of each graduating class will specialize in primary care to aid in the state’s shortage of primary care physicians.
“Student debt is the number one deterrent for students when applying to medical school,” said Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston. “This generous gift will allow such students an opportunity to attend and ultimately lead the future medical workforce. As a result, the UH College of Medicine will increase access to primary care, enhance quality of life and strengthen Houston as a business destination.”
The gift also goes toward the university’s $1 billion “Here, We Go” Campaign that the school hopes will secure $120 million over 10 years to cover startup costs for the College of Medicine. A third of these funds will be generated through philanthropy, a third from state appropriations and a third from intellectual property revenue.
The University is finalizing a partnership with HCA Healthcare’s Gulf Coast Division to bring new first-year resident positions to the College of Medicine starting in 2019, reaching a total of 389 resident positions by 2025. The school says it will be the 15th academic college with a mission to address shortages of physicians in primary care and other specialties such as general surgery and psychiatry to improve health in communities with healthcare disparities.