If you read the recent article featuring Stuart Flynn, MD, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, then you know of his plans to create a medical school that prepares physicians to be visionary, empathetic and team-oriented as health care attempts to drive healthier outcomes and focuses more on prevention.
When Flynn arrived in April, he hit the ground running, meeting with city and county health care leaders, learning about UNT Health Science Center and Texas Christian University and building his staff.
As progress for the M.D. school continues, Flynn answers a few questions and outlines pivotal next steps.
Q. Why is this new M.D. school necessary?
A. There is a current shortage of qualified physicians in North Texas, and we plan to address that. By partnering with our Fort Worth providers, we hope to grow graduate medical education opportunities and provide superb residencies locally. We know that of the residents we keep locally for residency training, 85 percent will stay here to practice. We want to train our own and retain many of our own to serve Fort Worth and surrounding areas.
Moreover, we want to teach physicians to be optimal providers in the changing landscape of health care. As wellness and early disease intervention move to the forefront of health care, we must change the way we educate providers how to interact with patients and teach them the business practice of medicine.
Q. What is the name of the school?
A. The M.D. school is a partnership between TCU and UNTHSC and the work we are doing is truly collaborative. We are preparing our students to be skilled communicators and ethical leaders who model a team approach to medicine. We hope to secure a donor whose name ultimately will be featured, but until that time, we are the UNTHSC/TCU Medical School. Less formally, you may hear us refer to the "M.D. school" or "Fort Worth’s M.D. school." This new program exists separately from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. The two schools will work side-by-side and allow Fort Worth to confer both M.D. and D.O. degrees.
Q. Where will the M.D. school be located?
A. That is the million-dollar question. Space is a premium at both institutions, so we are utilizing a "hotel office" concept, where staff members have shared offices and technology at both campuses until we can determine a more permanent solution. My office at TCU is in Sadler Hall and my extended staff may be located in the Sid W. Richardson building. On the UNTHSC campus, our offices are in on the third floor of the MET.
Q. Are the faculty and staff employees of TCU or UNTHSC?
A. The M.D. school will use the talents and expertise of faculty and staff at both institutions. Just like a blended family, there are yours, mine and ours, where each serves a vital purpose.
Our faculty will be composed of physicians, scientists, pharmacists, nurses and others. Many of these individuals currently work at TCU or UNTHSC, and others will be added and named appointees rather than employees of either institution.
Q. What are the next steps?
A. We are focusing all of our energy right now on accreditation. Writing the accreditation document is no small endeavor, and we are maximizing our resources at both universities. Fortunately, several staff members are familiar with the accreditation process, so we are not reinventing the wheel, but identifying and capitalizing on the nuances of both institutions.
We plan to submit the accreditation document to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in November for a site visit next June and would ideally receive preliminary accreditation by October 2017. That will allow us to begin recruiting students for the first class, which would begin in 2018.
Q. How do we reach you and your team?
A. You may email any of us through the fwmdschool.org domain (see below). We chose this interim domain to reflect the collaborative nature of the school – it isn’t proprietary to either university campus, but instead really "belongs" to the Fort Worth community. For those of us who also have emails specific to TCU or UNTHSC, the fwmdschool.org email address works in tandem and will redirect. We hope that having the common domain for both campuses will help people reach us no matter where we are physically located.
Q. Who are the members of the team?
Dr. Stuart Flynn-Dean
Jolie Allen-UNTHSC Director of Performance Improvement
Dr. Jennifer Allie-Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Development
Judy Bernas-Associate Dean and Senior Officer for Communications and Strategy
Dr. Jacque Chadwick-Vice Dean for Educational Affairs and Accreditation
Dr. Tara Cunningham-Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Diversity
Tom Giandinoto-Senior Associate Dean of Finance and Administration
Dr. Karen Restifo-Associate Dean of Student Affairs
Traci Richards-Assistant to the Dean
Carlos Tapia-Senior Administrative Coordinator