The University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) is a graduate university and research and treatment facility that plays a vital role in the economic prosperity and community well-being of the city of Fort Worth and environs. The facility injects more than $600 million into the Forth Worth and regional economy annually, employing 416 faculty members, 855 Adjunct Faculty, 1,353 Non-Faculty Staff and has a current student body of 1,949.
UNT Health, the clinical enterprise of the Health Science Center, also sees patients from across Tarrant County, with physicians and health providers representing most every medical specialty.
UNTHSC includes the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM), the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), the School of Public Health (SPH), the School of Health Professions (SHP), which includes the Physician Assistant Studies and the Physical Therapy Programs, and the new UNT System College of Pharmacy, opening in 2013. U.S. News & World Report, in its 2012 list of the Top 50 Medical Schools, ranked UNTHSC 12th in Rural Medicine, 15th in Genetics, 16th in Family Medicine, 35th in Primary Care, and 38th in Physician Assistant Studies, Hispanic Business magazine has ranked the TCOM as one of the Top 20 Medical Schools for Hispanics, and UNTHSC was named best in Texas for social mission by Annals of Internal Medicine.
UNT Health is Fort Worth’s flagship medical institution, treating patients from across Tarrant County, with physicians and health providers representing most every medical specialty. UNT Health has 49 practice sites, 170 physicians practicing 40 medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties among its more than 220 health providers, 1.4 million square feet of facilities, and logs more than 580,000 patient encounters annually. The group’s doctors practice in 40 medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties, including allergy/immunology, family practice, cardiology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, internal medicine, neurology, obstetrics, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, physical therapy, psychiatry, sports medicine and surgery/neurosurgery. Clinics operated by the Health Science Center see hundreds of thousands of patients, are deeply involved in community-based health programs, and UNT Health has ten separate educational outreach programs mentor students of all ages for successful careers in health and science.
The Health Science Center also serves as home to several National Institutes of Health-funded research programs and currently leads all Texas health science centers in research growth. In the past five years, extramural research awards have increased by more than 100 percent.
The Health Science Center also is an active collaborator with TECH Fort Worth, a business incubator designed to create alliances between innovators in the biotechnology field and businesses and investors who can help not only bring the research brought to them to fruition, but also provide valuable economic development opportunities to Fort Worth.
The Health Science Center has created the Health Institutes of Texas to speed research discoveries from bench to bedside. The Health Institutes of Texas include: the Cardiovascular Research Institute, the Center for Commercialization of Fluorescence Technologies, Focused on Resources for her Health Education and Research (For HER), the Institute for Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Research, the Institute for Cancer Research, the Institute of Applied Genetics, the North Texas Eye Research Institute, the Osteopathic Research Center and the Texas Prevention Institute.
The UNT Center for Human Identification, housed at the Health Science Center, receives federal funding to analyze DNA samples from both unidentified remains as well as reference samples submitted by family members of missing persons to law enforcement agencies nationwide. The Center is one of only nine in the nation with access to the FBI’s next-generation CODIS 6.0 DNA Software. The Health Science Center is the only academic center with access.
Founded as the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1970, the Health Science Center is now a graduate-level institution of the University of North Texas System. Originally operating out of a converted bowling alley, UNTHSC is now located on 33-acre, 1.2 million square-foot campus in Fort Worth’s Cultural District.
With the establishment of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1993, the name was changed to the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. In 1999, UNTHSC joined UNT’s Denton and Dallas campuses to form the UNT System.
While the facility now teaches and practices a wide range of Allopathic medicine disciplines, Osteopathy remains a major focus at UNTHSC. TCOM is Texas’ only college of osteopathic medicine and one of only 28 in the nation.
Allopathic medicine (commonly considered the conventional Western medical model), is system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals such as nurses, pharmacists and therapists treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation or surgery. M.D.s practice allopathic medicine.
Osteopathic medicine is a practice centered on the whole person, the body’s ability to heal itself and disease prevention. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, a central tenet of osteopathic medicine is that the body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing and health maintenance, with is a focus on preventive health care. Doctors of osteopathic medicine are called D.O.s and are fully trained and licensed to prescribe medicine.
There are nearly 57,000 D.O.s currently practicing in the U.S. today, and almost 50 percent of all D.O. students are women. D.O.s practice a “whole person” approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard your body as an integrated whole, consisting of mind, body and spirit. D.O.s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal the human body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones that make up two-thirds of body mass. This training equips osteopathic physicians with a better understanding of the ways that an illness or injury in one part of your body can affect another.
Approximately 65 percent of practicing osteopathic physicians specialize in primary care areas, such as pediatrics, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, and internal medicine. Many D.O.s fill a critical need for physicians by practicing in rural and other medically underserved communities.
Both osteopaths and M.D.s are licensed to practice medicine in the United States. One difference is in philosophy: Osteopathic physicians, or D.O.s, believe that the body has an innate ability to heal itself and thus focus on disease prevention, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.
UNTHSC’s future expansion ambitions include adding an M.D. program, but further expansion depends on a number of factors, including enabling legislation at the state level, and of course funding.
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