October 6, 2005

University of North Texas Health Science Center President Ronald R. Blanck, D.O., has announced his plans to retire from the position he has held for the past five years. He says he will remain at UNTHSC until a new president is named.

â??I make this announcement with some sadness, because I love the UNT Health Science Center and have enjoyed being part of such a wonderful, dynamic institution,â? Blanck said. â??However, my wife, Donna, and I feel it is now the right time to be closer to our family on the east coast.â?

Blanck joined the UNT Health Science Center in August 2000 upon his retirement from a 32-year career in the U.S. Army. At the time of his retirement from the Army, he was a lieutenant general serving as the Armyâ??s Surgeon General and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command, which has responsibility for more than 46,000 military personnel and 26,000 civilian employees throughout the world.

UNT Chancellor Lee F. Jackson said, â??Dr. Blanck has led the UNT Health Science Center to unprecedented advancement, achievement and growth. Thanks in large measure to his vision, the UNT Health Science Center is more vital than ever and well positioned to rise to new levels of excellence. We will miss Dr. Blanck for his insightful leadership and his keen sense of humor.â?

UNT Board of Regents Chairman Bobby Ray commends Blanck for â??outstandingâ? service to the UNT Health Science Center and the UNT System. â??The exciting task before us now,â? he said, â??is to launch the search for a new UNTHSC president whoâ??ll continue to build on the stature and the momentum Dr. Blanck has helped us achieve.â?

Blanck presided over an expansion of the schools within UNTHSC and the creation of a fourth school. During his tenure, enrollment almost doubled, research funding tripled, and the size of the campus doubled, with the construction of the Center for BioHealth and the purchase of additional adjacent property.

He also increased hospital partnerships, opened a Center for Non-invasive Imaging in the Center for BioHealth, helped bring the first federally funded Community Health Clinic to Fort Worth, and expanded the biotechnology incubator in partnership with the city.

During his time at the UNT Health Science Center, Blanck has acted as an adviser on bioterrorism issues and an expert in preparing the medical community to respond to mass casualty incidents or those involving weapons of mass destruction. In addition to his many speaking engagements and advisory positions, he was chair of the task forces on bioterrorism for both the Texas Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association.


Major progress during President Ronald R. Blanckâ??s tenure as UNT Health Science Center president:

-Center for Non-invasive Imaging opens.
-Expansion of the biotech incubator with the city of Fort Worth.
-Texas Center for Minority Health, Education, Research and Outreach begins with $7 million National Institutes of Health grant.
Hispanic Business magazine ranks UNT Health Science Centerâ??s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine #5 among medical schools for Hispanic students.
-The American Osteopathic Foundation, the American Osteopathic Association, and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine renew funding for the national Osteopathic Research Center, housed at UNTHSC.

-Texas Missing Persons DNA Database receives $1.9 million from the Department of Justice for various national projects, including the design of a national DNA collection kit.
-The School of Health Professions is created, increasing the number of schools at UNTHSC to four.
-Go Center Project, a collaboration with the Fort Worth ISD to mentor and recruit middle and high school students into the sciences, is launched.
-The Diabetes Research and Metabolic Studies Center, a multi-discipline research project, is created with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
-UNTHSC collaborates with the Fort Worth ISD to start the Minority K-12 Initiative for Teachers and Students program to help recruit more underrepresented students into the health sciences.
U.S. News and World Report ranks UNT Health Science Centerâ??s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine #20 in the nation in primary care, #15 in the nation in geriatrics and #33 in the nation in physician assistant studies.

-The School of Public Health receives funding from the Sid Richardson Foundation for the Texas Institute for Hispanic Health.
-Dallas Southwest Osteopathic Physicians Inc. funds an Endowed Chair in Geriatrics at the health science center. The $1.2 million chair is the first endowed chair in geriatrics at any osteopathic medical school in the nation.
-Mary L. Schunder Gross Anatomy Laboratory opens. The fully computerized anatomy laboratory is the first to have computers at each station.
U.S. News and World Report ranks UNT Health Science Centerâ??s School of Public Health #19 in the nation in community health.
-The national Osteopathic Research Center opens at the UNT Health Science Center. Initial funding of $1.1 million for a four-year period came from the American Osteopathic Foundation, the American Osteopathic Association, and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

– The Texas Missing Persons DNA Database is created by the Texas Legislature with funds from the Office of the Attorney Generalâ??s Crime Victimsâ?? Compensation Fund. The UNTHSC DNA Identity lab is qualified to enter data into the FBIâ??s Combined DNA Index System.

Research Initiatives that have received increased funding and seen breakthroughs during President Blanckâ??s tenure:

-Aging and Alzheimerâ??s Disease
-Heart Disease
-Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
-Lyme Disease

-Hispanic Health Initiatives. During the last five years, there has been a significant increase in attendance and offerings at the annual Hispanic Wellness Fair coordinated by UNTHSC; initiatives, such as Salud Para Su Corazon, have been created to put lay health workers in the community; work to get funding for the first and only federally qualified health clinic in Fort Worth, housed at the Northside Family Medical Clinic, was successful; and many other initiatives have continued to address minority health disparities.

-Minority Recruitment. The health science center has supported many programs that have contributed to its success in recruiting minority students. UNTHSC has been the leading health science center in Texas in graduate minority enrollment every year since 1999. In 1999, the Clinton administration listed UNTHSC as a Program of Excellence on their Initiatives on Race website, and in 2001, the Bush administration recognized the health science center with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring, a program administered by the National Science Foundation. In addition, it has been recognized as a Role Model Institution since 2000 by Minority Access Inc., an NIH affiliate organization.

Contact: Roddy Wolper 940-565-2943, metro 817-267-0651, e-mail rwolper@unt.edu.

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