FORT WORTH -- The University of North Texas System announced Thursday that more than 20 community leaders have been named to an advisory task force that will provide a greater Fort Worth perspective within the UNT system as work continues to enhance the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth."I think it's excellent," said task force member Allan Howeth, an attorney and chair of the UNTHSC Foundation board of directors. "I think the advisory opinions of the committee, collectively, will have a lot of influence."The task force will be chaired by Fort Worth attorney Dee Kelly Jr. and includes many prominent leaders; including Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, and former Fort Worth mayors Kenneth Barr and Mike Moncrief.The task force will focus on long-term and short-term goals during the current legislative sessions and for the next two years, selection and naming of a permanent president for UNTHSC, and identifying and recruiting Fort Worth residents who could serve as future regents in the UNT System."We are going to stay tightly focused on the mission given to us by the chancellor," Kelly said.The graduate institution, located in Fort Worth's cultural district, is home to a cutting-edge medical research facility that includes the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Center of Human Identification.It's been in turmoil of late; in December the UNT board of regents fired Dr. Scott Ransom as its president, after regents and Chancellor Lee Jackson cited concerns about Ransom's conduct and leadership style, namely the way he handled a merger study.Dr. Michael Williams, a former UNT regent, is currently serving as interim president of the institution.Fort Worth community leaders and members of UNT Health Science Center advisory and fundraising boards criticized the firing and wondered if Fort Worth would lose a strong voice within the system. Several also spoke against the idea of merging the Fort Worth institution and the Denton flagship campus.Since then, Jackson and other UNT System leaders promised to keep Fort Worth leaders in the conversation.Howeth said the task force is a sign that UNT System leaders are making good on their word. He said they will be involved in studying how to improve medical education training; including pushing for increased hospital residency slots and an M.D. program.Jackson said in a press release that competition in medication education in Texas and the recent "leadership transition" at the health science center make the formation of a task force timely."This campus is the core of our work in healthcare and health research, and we are honored to be a big part of the Fort Worth and Tarrant County communities," Jackson said in the news release. "We are excited about our future in Fort Worth."Diane Smith, 817-390-7675Twitter: @dianeasmith1
The task force
The UNT System announced Thursday that is has formed the Fort Worth Community Advisory Task Force. It will be chaired by Fort Worth attorney Dee Kelly Jr.
Lee S. Anderson, M.D., past president of Tarrant County Medical Society
Kenneth Barr, former Fort Worth mayor
Mike Berry, president of Hillwood Properties
Roy Charles Brook, Tarrant County commissioner
Johnny Campbell, president and CEO, Sundance Square
Arnold Gachman, CEO Gamtex Industries
Luis Galindo, attorney
Allan Howeth, partner, Cantey Hanger L.L.P.
Erma Johnson-Hadley, Chancellor Tarrant County College District
Susan Halsey, partner, Jackson Walker L.L.P.
J. Roy Lowry, D.O., member of Tarrant County Hospital District board of managers
Patricia Meadows, partner, Kelly Hart & Hallman L.L.P.
Mike Moncrief, former Fort Worth mayor
Charles Powell, president and COO, Bank of Texas
John Robinson, executive vice president of Amon G. Carter Foundation
John Stevenson, vice president of Keystone Group L.P.
Bob Terrell, former Fort Worth city manager
Wes Turner, former Star-Telegram publisher
Libby Watson, former Fort Worth assistant city manager
Glen Whitley, Tarrant County judge