Our purpose at UNT Health Science Center is to transform lives in order to improve the lives of others.
We have extraordinary teams creating remarkable work at UNTHSC – every day. That means innovative science in our laboratories, collaborative learning in our classrooms and compassionate care in our clinics. It adds up to a graduate university that’s transforming and improving lives across North Texas and beyond.
In the last fiscal year, our people and programs have lived out this purpose in many ways. Our successes are worthy of recognition and celebration, and I’d like to share some with you.
Creating a sustainable people culture
Our biggest strength is our people – and we enhance our sustainable people culture by creating programs, policies and a values-based work environment that increase team member satisfaction and engagement.
In the last fiscal year, we implemented a flexible work policy for employees and, in partnership with Lena Pope, opened the Miles Foundation Early Learning Center on our campus to provide our team access to high-quality, affordable childcare.
In an effort to retain valuable team members, we paid approximately $2.4 million in market-based salary adjustments. We also made significant renovations to Alumni Plaza, building an enhanced outdoor space for our community to enjoy.
Creating the providers of the future
Start with this extraordinary achievement: Our fourth-year medical students in TCOM earned the highest score in the nation on a national board exam for future osteopathic physicians, the COMLEX-USA Level 1 Exam.
In addition, TCOM received the maximum 10-year “Accreditation with Exceptional Outcome” from the AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, a status reserved for the nation’s top schools. These accomplishments are a reflection of our One University mission to define and produce the providers of the future, and a success shared by our entire UNTHSC team.
Physician Assistant graduates continue to stand out among their Texas peers, with a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the national certification exam for the fourth consecutive year. Surveys of our Physical Therapy students show remarkably engaged students who are highly likely to recommend UNTHSC and the School of Health Professions to their peers.
The School of Public Health saw its research funding increase 10 percent over the previous year. So far in 2018, our pass rate on the Certified in Public Health exam is 96.5 percent, a significant improvement for our SPH students.
Zeta Lambda, a student organization in the College of Pharmacy, was recognized as a top 10 chapter nationwide for its community service. And nearly 80 percent of our MedSci graduates in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences have been accepted into medical school, dental school or other professional programs over the last four years.
We hit significant milestones on the journey toward creating the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, with successful site visits from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The LCME will determine accreditation for the School of Medicine, while the Coordinating Board will determine whether UNTHSC’s name can be on the diploma alongside TCU. We anticipate positive news later this month, which I look forward to sharing.
The quality and value of a UNTHSC education is increasing through new affiliation agreements with multiple Dallas-Fort Worth health systems for all of our clinical schools. That means better on-site training for our students in medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and the physician assistant program. As a result, our students will have more opportunities to get hired locally after graduation. We signed on as the academic sponsor to create more than 500 new residency slots in DFW in a partnership with HCA Healthcare and Medical City Healthcare, and 150 new residency positions with Baylor Scott & White Health.
On the research front, we have remarkable people producing remarkable work. We received an estimated $52.4 million in research awards, a UNTHSC record. Our average research award has more than doubled to $318,000 over the last five years.
Our programs investigating health disparities, cardiovascular diseases, eye diseases, Alzheimer’s and forensic DNA are national leaders in their fields. We are investing in junior faculty through seed grant programs and have enhanced our commercialization team by increasing licensing and tech transfer activities. And we are implementing a tool called Elsevier Pure that will better showcase the expertise of our faculty and promote research collaborations across the university.
We also made a visible, high-profile addition to campus, nearing completion on the Interdisciplinary Research and Education Building. The IREB will be home to the School of Medicine, the UNT System College of Pharmacy and the North Texas Eye Research Institute. The building itself also offers a visible entry point to the public and more closely aligns us with our Cultural District neighbors across Camp Bowie Boulevard.
And last but not least, we hired Charles Taylor, PharmD, as our Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. He fully embraces the Extraordinary Teamwork approach to health care and education that is central to our One University vision.
Building financial strength
Our Correctional Medicine team increased revenues by 10 percent, to more than $32 million. And for the first time since 2007, our UNT Health Clinical Practice Group was profitable, putting itself on the path to greater success in the years to come.
Much of our progress comes from the hard but necessary work of revamping our operational infrastructure and processes. For example, we implemented the Axiom software program for improved budget planning and transparency. We overhauled our clinic compensation program from a guaranteed salary model to one based on productivity. And we adopted a software program that tracks our available research space for utilization and productivity, allowing us to assign space to our most productive scientists.
Now, and Next
In the coming fiscal year, our focus needs to be on our purpose – to transform lives in order to improve the lives of others – and our vision of One University, defining and creating the providers of the future.
Focus on the action verbs in those statements: Transform. Improve. Create. Let us be men and women of action – transforming, improving and creating. Let our actions speak loudly, and show Fort Worth and North Texas what we’re about.
I am proud to be your president, and proud to be part of our extraordinary UNTHSC team.
My best always,
Dr. Michael R. Williams