UT-Austin Med School, and why they’re just getting one now

UT Austin is finally going to get a teaching hospital (built by Seton):

The medical school facility, which will include academic and medical research space, will be financed by UT-Austin.According to the university administration’s internal estimates, the cost of the entire endeavor is approximately $4.1 billion over 12 years. Central Health will cover about 10 percent, and Seton is expected to cover nearly half, including the clinical faculty and residency slots for graduate medical education.The rest will largely come from UT-Austin.

Good, I suppose. We’re going to be short doctors soon anyway, and more training slots are welcome. (Insert dichotomy between what society needs and what they’re willing to pay for and its distortion of the residency training market).

And now, Story Time with GruntDoc:

“I think people will look back and say, ‘How did this community work without having a major medical center here?’” Powers said.

via UT-Austin Med School Plans Proceed After Election — Higher education | The Texas Tribune.

A good question, now let me tell you they ‘why’ as it has been told to me*.

In the early ’70s, the Texas Legislature set aside the authorization and funding for a new medical school in Texas. All understood it would be a UT Austin school, right there in the backyard of the Texas Capitol.

For those unaware, the Texas Legislature is in session for 90 days every two years, and the last minute flurry of bill passage and amending is said to be quite remarkable. And, this is how a powerful legislator stuck a rider onto a somewhat unrelated bill that said ‘all the money from that other bill is for Lubbock’, and it was passed.

The UT Austin medical school was hijacked, and landed squarely in Lubbock. Reportedly powerful people were ticked but couldn’t do much about it, and Lubbock has supported the Med School well (I myself attended several generations past). Shenanigans in legislatures? Who’d have though.

Now, Austin will get a Medical School. Better late than never. Congrats!

 

*This was told to me as a tale when I was quite young, so I suspect the details aren’t spot-on, but it makes sense given how the Texas Lege works and how little Texas Tech would have been expected to get a Medical School over UT in the early ’70s. Let’s not use this for a Wikipedia entry, okay?