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University of Houston, HCA Houston Healthcare Take Major Step to Address Physician Shortage

1063 Days ago

Houston, June 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

The University of Houston and HCA Houston Healthcare have taken an important step toward addressing the local and statewide shortage of primary care physicians by partnering to bring 138 resident positions to Houston by 2020 with plans for 389 total resident positions by 2025.

The inaugural group of 39 residents will be welcomed to the newly established HCA Houston Healthcare/University of Houston College of Medicine Consortium residency program during a Long White Coat Ceremony on Friday, June 28 at 10 a.m. at the Hilton University of Houston. The newly-minted doctors from around the world will be given new long white lab coats, recite the Hippocratic Oath, and meet the faculty and program directors they will be training under during the years of their residencies.

“Our partnership with the University of Houston will train and keep high-quality physicians where they’re needed most – right here in Texas,” said Jose Perez, M.D., vice president of graduate medical education for HCA Houston Healthcare. “The Long White Coat Ceremony is a very important milestone in the career of a young doctor. It symbolizes the transition between being a doctor in training, and becoming a fully-fledged medical doctor charged with the care of patients.”

Houston has grown by four million residents since the last local medical school was established in 1972. Moreover, Texas ranks 47th out of 50 states in primary care physician-to-population ratio. The new UH College of Medicine is focused on preparing primary care doctors to practice in underserved urban and rural communities and hopes to admit its first class in 2020, pending preliminary accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. The number of residency slots created in the UH-HCA partnership exceeds the total required by the State of Texas for consideration of new medical schools.

Studies conducted by the American Association of Medical Colleges found that 68% of all medical residents stay in the communities where they complete their graduate medical education.

“We are thrilled to partner with HCA Houston Healthcare to launch this residency program and we expect it to expand quickly,” said Stephen Spann, M.D., UH vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the UH College of Medicine. “HCA will provide clinical training sites for our medical students and we hope that many of them will want to complete their residencies within the new graduate medical education training program. Our goal is to train and keep primary care doctors in Texas to address the significant shortage, so it’s a natural fit.”

Starting Monday, July 1, the residents will be located at HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, host of four surgical residents and 20 internal medicine residents, and HCA Houston Healthcare West, the base for five obstetrics/gynecology residents and 10 in family medicine. The residents will also spend time training at HOPE Clinic, a local Federally Qualified Health Center with sites located in Aldine, Alief, Asiatown and west Houston.

Ana Benitez, M.D., one of the residents who will start working in internal medicine at HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, is excited about beginning the next phase of her training.

“I’m looking forward to learning about all of the latest treatments,” she said. “I’m also eager to learn how to interact with patients and handle difficult situations.”

Benitez, who has been living in New York City, is also “happy to be leaving all of my winter clothes behind!”

WHAT:          University of Houston and HCA Houston Healthcare White Coat Ceremony

WHEN:          10 a.m. Friday, June 28, 2019

WHERE:       Hilton University of Houston, Waldorf Astoria Ballroom, 4800 Calhoun Rd., Houston, 77004

PARKING:     From Interstate 45 South, exit Spur 5 (Exit #44B). Follow to University Drive and make a right. Turn left on Calhoun Road and then make a right at the first stop sign (between the parking garages). Turn right at the dead end and the entrance to the underground Hilton parking garage will be on your left.  Please note there are road closures due to construction near the Hilton Hotel.


FOR THE MEDIA:  Jose Perez, M.D., vice president of graduate medical education for HCA

                            Houston Healthcare, and Stephen Spann, M.D., UH vice president for

                            medical affairs and founding dean of the UH College of Medicine, will be

                            available for interviews before and after the ceremony.




About HCA Houston Healthcare

HCA Houston Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare in the Houston area, where excellent trained physicians, nurses and allied health professionals treat almost a million patients and provide more than $2 billion in charity care every year. With an employee base of 15,000, HCA Houston Healthcare’s comprehensive network includes 14 hospitals, nine outpatient surgery centers, nine freestanding emergency centers and numerous freestanding diagnostic imaging facilities in the greater Houston area. For more information, visit www.HCAHoustonHealthcare.com.

HCA Houston Healthcare is part of HCA Gulf Coast Division, a comprehensive network of hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, emergency centers and diagnostic imaging facilities in greater Houston, Corpus Christi and South Texas. Facilities in the Gulf Coast Division include: 17 hospitals, nine ambulatory care centers, 13 freestanding emergency centers, and a regional transfer center that provides one phone call access and support for patient transfers into and out of the HCA Gulf Coast Division affiliated hospitals as well as access to ground and air transportation within a 150-mile radius. HCA Gulf Coast Division is part of HCA Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of quality healthcare services with 185 hospitals in the United States and England.

About HCA Healthcare Medical Education

HCA Graduate Medical Education is one of the nation’s largest providers of residency and fellowship training programs across the nation. With more than 203 programs across 21 specialties and 43 hospitals, HCA GME is building a leading network of innovative, patient-centered graduate medical education programs.

About University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for excellence in undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions in the country, UH is a federally designated Hispanic- and Asian-American-Serving institution with enrollment of more than 46,000 students.

AboutHOPE Clinic

The Asian American Health Coalition dba HOPE Clinic is the second largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in the greater Houston area, with over 117,000 patient visits (21,000 unique patients) served in 2018. Currently with 4 locations in the Houston area, HOPE Clinic serves a very diverse patient population with staff speaking over 25 different languages to accommodate the patients. HOPE Clinic provides primary care services, including pediatric, ob/gyn, dental, vision, mental behavioral health, and nutrition services.


Debra Burbridge
HCA Gulf Coast Division

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