AUSTIN, Texas — Since the community voted to create the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin nearly five years ago, the number of medical residents working in Austin-area clinics and hospitals has grown by more than 30 percent, and the number is expected to grow even more over the next four years.
The increasing presence and importance of Central Texas medical students and residents in clinics and hospitals that serve the community — especially people with low incomes or without insurance — is just one finding of the Community Benefit Report, an annual report created jointly by the Dell Medical School and Central Health, the local health care district serving people in Travis County regardless of their ability to pay.
This year’s report demonstrates that the young partnership between the start-up medical school, Central Health and the Seton Healthcare Family (a member of Ascension) is already improving health and increasing access for those who need it most. Already, the partnership is resulting in:
- More community physicians: Through Dell Med and Seton’s expanding graduate medical education program, the number of medical residents providing care in Travis County clinics and hospitals grew from 218 in 2012 to 287 today; it is projected to grow past 300 by 2020. (A medical resident is a physician who provides care under the supervision of a Dell Med faculty member.)
- Medical students working in the community: All 50 of the medical students in the first class are working in safety-net hospitals and clinics, and several of the students lead volunteer efforts to improve health across the community, especially among the underserved.
- Medical residents caring for CommUnityCare patients; Six Dell Med residency programs operate in CommUnityCare Health Centers: Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Obstetrics and
- Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Dermatology: the programs include 130 residents and 49 faculty from Dell Med, and CommUnityCare’s Chief Medical Officer is a Dell Med faculty member.
- More access to prenatal care services: Dell Med’s Department of Women’s Health steered the redesign of a prenatal and postnatal care system, helping women with low incomes or without insurance.
- A focus on mental and behavioral health: Dell Med works with a wide range of state and local partners to change the way the community cares for people experiencing mental health issues, in part by integrating mental health care into primary and specialty care to make these services more accessible.
- Grassroots ideas driving better health: Dell Med’s Center for Place-Based Initiatives collected nearly 100 ideas from the community for addressing serious health priorities; 10 of those ideas are now being developed by the Department of Population Health.
- Disease treatment and research: Dell Med recruited academic leaders specializing in cancer, neurological disease and mental health — all areas of need in Central Texas; these individuals will help further Central Health’s mission and improve the health of the community.
“Central Health is excited to continue our work with Dell Med and Seton — building a better health care system that benefits people who are low income and uninsured,” said Mike Geeslin, Central Health President and CEO. “It’s exactly what the community asked us to do. This work is all about taking an entire health care system to a higher level. As the school continues through its start-up phase, Central Health is invested in this partnership with the goal of creating and sustaining a community-focused, patient-centered medical school.”
The Community Benefit Report details programs and initiatives Dell Med created — department- by-department — to help residents get well and stay healthy through a $35 million annual investment by the Community Care Collaborative, the nonprofit partnership of Central Health and Seton. In 2012, Travis County voters approved a tax increase to support improvements to the health care system, including the creation and support of a medical school.
“This community’s vote really was visionary. It’s exciting to see that vision becoming a reality, and it’s thrilling that so many people across our community are part of that process,” said Dr. Clay Johnston, inaugural Dean of the Dell Medical School. “We started building the school about three years ago, and we have made tremendous progress with much more to come. With the community changing its approach to health and health care, we believe we’re already on the way to making Austin a model healthy city. And as we progress, we can be a model for how other communities approach health.”
The report shows that the funding Dell Med receives from the Community Care Collaborative — funding that Central Health guarantees — has been and is being used in ways that are consistent with the 2012 ballot language, Central Health’s mission and the Affiliation Agreement between Central Health and The University of Texas at Austin that governs the school’s use of this money.
“Our partnership with Dell Med and Central Health is based on innovation — not just innovative health care breakthroughs, but also novel ways to collaborate and bring community resources together to improve the quality of life in Central Texas,” said Greg Hartman, Seton’s Chief of External and Academic Affairs.
The school’s focus on medical residents is not only putting more providers into the community — it’s helping them become better physicians, said Dr. Dan Nguyen, a Dell Med family resident physician and President of the Graduate Medical Education Resident Association.
“Identifying as part of the LGBT community myself, I plan on providing outpatient primary care with an emphasis on LGBT health, HIV prevention and gender-affirming medical practices. My residency in family medicine thus far in my career has highly prepared me to feel comfortable in the care I will need to provide,” Nguyen said. “I have no doubt that my training will prepare me to become the physician I have dreamed of becoming and to provide care to the currently underserved LGBT population.”
About Dell Medical School
The Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin was created in unprecedented partnership with Travis County taxpayers, who in 2012 voted to support the vision of improving health and making Austin a model healthy city. Dell Med is focused on being a catalyst to help create a vital, inclusive health ecosystem, and to revolutionizing the way people get and stay healthy.
CONTACT: Stephen Scheibal, Dell Medical School: 512-495-5062 (w), 512-762-8808 (c) Ted Burton, Central Health: 512-978-8214 (w), 512-797-8200 (c)
About Central Health
Central Health is here to make our community stronger by investing in access to health care for our most vulnerable residents. We are the local public entity that connects low-income Travis County residents to high quality, cost effective health care. We work with a network of partners to eliminate health disparities to reach our vision of Travis County becoming a model healthy community.