The University of Houston (UH) has partnered with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) to make a “fast track” medical program possible, wherein aspiring medical doctors can earn their pre-med Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degrees in seven years instead of eight.
10 students will be selected each year beginning this fall 2013 semester, to enroll in a comprehensive, 3-year pre-med program at UH. This will be followed by 4-years of medical school in either UTHealth or UTMB, wherein first year courses will be designed to count for their fourth year pre-med requirements.
According to The Observer:
“We, at UTMB, are proud partners in this innovative approach to shorten the time pre-medical students can become a physician without diminishing or minimizing the skills and knowledge needed to become a doctor,” said Dr. Lauree Thomas, UTMB’s associate dean of admissions and student affairs. “UTMB has trained more physicians than any other Texas institution, and we’re very proud to enter into this new era of collaboration that will, ultimately, benefit the people of Texas.”
UH chemistry professor Simon G. Bott firmly believes that this dual degree program, with its emphasis on partnering intensive science courses with behavioral science and humanities, will not only produce competent and professionally equipped doctors, but physicians who are socially responsible as well.
“UTHealth is committed to training physicians who will provide service to residents in the state of Texas. We are pleased to have this opportunity to partner with University of Houston in this initiative,” said Dr. LaTanya J. Love, assistant dean for admissions and student affairs at UTHealth. “Our proximity to the University of Houston will allow us an opportunity to establish relationships with these students from their first undergraduate year and expose them to our students, faculty and the world’s largest medical center.”
This move by the University of Houston reflects the burgeoning biotech and life sciences sectors in Texas, as more and more students seek to enter the sector through their paths in education and higher learning.