Established in 1970, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC), a graduate university located in Fort Worth, is one of three institutional components of The University of North Texas System.
Nationally recognized for leadership in developing primary care physicians. Selected by The Princeton Review for the sixth consecutive year as one of 124 institutions in its “Best in the West” section of its website feature “2014 Best Colleges: Region by Region,” The UNTHSC focuses on training future osteopathic physicians, on providing an increasing number of health profession programs, and on conducting a vigorous research program. The Princeton Review rates schools in six categories — academics, admissions selectivity, financial aid, fire safety, quality of life and green.
Units of the UNTHSC include 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. UNT Health is the faculty practice providing direct patient care for the citizens of Tarrant County.
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“We’re pleased to recommend the University of North Texas to users of our site as one of the best schools to earn their undergrad degree,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior VP/ publishing,. in a release. “We chose it and the other terrific institutions we name as ‘regional best’ colleges mainly for their excellent academic programs. Our ‘regional best’ colleges constitute only 25 percent of the nation’s four-year colleges — a select group, indeed. We also take into account what students at the schools reported to us about their campus experiences at them on our student survey for this project.”
Along with the flagship university of the UNT System — the University of North Texas, founded in 1890, and UNT Dallas, which
became the city of Dallas’s first public university in the in 1999, the UNTHSC serves the North Texas area, boosting economic activity in the region by nearly $2 billion annually. About 36,000 students are enrolled in UNT System’s three schools in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and system enrollment is projected to increase to approximately 45,000 students by 2015. The UNT Health Science Center component has a $220 million annual budget and adds approximately $600 million into Fort Worth’s economy annually.
The UNTHSC has a combined faculty of more than 400, a staff of more than 1,400, and 750 part-time and adjunct faculty from other institutions and the community. The Health Science Center is also 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.
UNT Health, the clinical enterprise of the Health Science Center, sees patients from across Tarrant County, with physicians and health providers, and is one of the county’s largest multi-specialty medical group practices. UNT Health currently handles more than a half million patient visits each year for everything from lab work and surgery visits to geriatric care. 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.
History of the University of North Texas Health Science Center
The UNT Health Science Center’s beginnings came with the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine accepting its first students in 1970. The first class of doctors of osteopathic medicine graduated in 1974. TCOM is Texas’ only college of osteopathic medicine and one of only 28 in the nation. In 1975, TCOM became a state-supported medical school under the jurisdiction of the North Texas Board of Regents, and in response to TCOM’s remarkable growth and its achievements in health care and science, the Texas Legislature redesignated the medical school as a health science center in 1993. TCOM became the cornerstone component, retaining its osteopathic identity and focus. Roughly 65 percent of the more than 3,000 physicians the college has trained practice in primary care fields, such as family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics. Other graduates have chosen specialties ranging from aerospace medicine to heart transplant surgery.
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 form of medical practice centered on the whole person, the body’s ability to heal itself, and disease prevention. One difference from Allopathy is in philosophy.. 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 a focus on preventive health care. Doctors of osteopathic medicine are called DOs and are fully trained and licensed to prescribe medicine.
According to The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the discipline was founded in the late 1800s in Kirksville, Missouri, by a medical doctor who recognized that the medical practices of the day often caused more harm than good. He focused on developing a system of medical care that would promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself and called this system of medicine osteopathy, now known as osteopathic medicine.
Osteopathic physicians, also known as DOs, work in partnership with their patients. They consider the impact that lifestyle and community have on the health of each individual, and they work to break down barriers to good health. DOs are licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all 50 states. They practice in all types of environments, including the military, and in all types of specialties, from family medicine to obstetrics, surgery, and aerospace medicine.
DOs are trained to look at the whole person from their first days of medical school, which means they see each person as more than just a collection of organ systems and body parts that may become injured or diseased. This holistic approach to patient care means that osteopathic medical students learn how to integrate the patient into the health care process as a partner. They are trained to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds, and they get the opportunity to practice these skills in their classrooms and learning laboratories, frequently with standardized and simulated patients.
Both American osteopathic physicians and European osteopaths call themselves DOs, but American practitioners are Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, and European practitioners have a Diploma of Osteopathy, and are trained primarily in the practice of osteopathic manipulative techniques. There is consequently some confusion regarding the difference between U.S osteopathic physicians and osteopaths trained in other countries.
Conversely, America’s’s approximately 63,000 fully licensed osteopathic physicians practice the entire scope of modern medicine, bringing a patient-centered, holistic, hands-on approach to diagnosing and treating illness and injury. U.S. DOs can choose any specialty, prescribe drugs, perform surgeries, and practice medicine anywhere in the United States. They bring the additional benefits of osteopathic manipulative techniques to diagnose and treat patients.
Today, more than 20 percent of medical students in the United States are training to be osteopathic physicians. Osteopathic physicians can choose any specialty, prescribe drugs, perform surgeries, and practice medicine anywhere in the United States.
Almost 50 percent of all DO students are women. DOs practice an holistic 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. DOs 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 DOs fill a critical need for physicians by practicing in rural and other medically underserved communities, allowing DOs to have a greater impact on the U.S. population’s health and well-being than their numbers would suggest. While DOs constitute 7 percent of all U.S. physicians, they are responsible for 16 percent of patient visits in communities with populations of fewer than 2,500.
Both osteopaths and M.D.s are licensed to practice medicine in the United States with DOs practise regulated by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.
University of North Texas Health Science Center Rankings & Accreditation
TCOM has been ranked one of the top 50 medical schools in the nation for primary care by U.S. News & World Report each year since 2003, and awarded a Top 15 Specialty Ranking in Rural Medicine, a Top 15 Specialty Ranking in Geriatrics, and a Top 20 Specialty Ranking in Family Medicine in the U.S. News & World Report, 2013 edition. It has also been ranked as one of the Top 20 Medical Schools for Hispanics by Hispanic Business magazine four times since 2005. UNT Health has ten separate educational outreach programs mentor students of all ages for successful careers in health and science.
The school’s name was changed to the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth when the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was established in 1993. The School of Public Health was established in 1997, which was also the year the first students matriculated into the Physician Assistant Studies Program, which is now in the School of Health Professions along with the Physical Therapy Program. In 1999, UNTHSC joined UNT’s Denton and Dallas campuses to form the UNT System.
The UNTHSC’s 33-acre, 1.2 million square-foot campus is situated in Fort Worth’s Cultural District and home to the Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library, where virtually the entire wealth of the world’s current medical knowledge is accessible to the public seven days a week through sophisticated information search networks and computer databases. On the cultural side, the UNTHSC campus also houses the Atrium Gallery, a public art gallery that is a member of the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association, and The Health Science Center serves the community through a variety of community and school outreach programs. For example, the Health Science Center founded the Fort Worth’s annual Hispanic Wellness Fair and the annual Cowtown Marathon. The center participates in several and federally funded programs that bring students and teachers onto campus each summer.
On the medical research front, the Health Science Center has created the Health Institutes of Texas (HIT) to speed research discoveries from lab bench to bedside. HIT modules 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, and the only academic center with access.
The UNT Health Science Center is also home institution to several National Institutes of Health-funded research programs and currently leads all Texas health science centers in research growth with extramural research awards having increased by more than 100 percent over the past five years. Through the Office of Clinical Trials, faculty physicians participate in clinical research projects, seeking improved treatments for disorders like high blood pressure, migraine headaches, ulcers, arthritis and diabetes.
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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