One in a series of articles on Tarrant County’s top newsmakers in 2016.
The first class for Fort Worth’s new medical school is being pushed back by nearly a year.
Originally scheduled to begin in the fall of 2018, the TCU and University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine has now set the summer of 2019 as the target date to welcome its first class of 60 students.
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Dr. Stuart Flynn, the founding dean of the new medical school, said his goal creating a non-traditional curriculum takes time. After talking with Liason Committee for Medical Education, Flynn said they decided to hold off submitting their documentation to accrediting body until next August.
“We had a very aggressive time line,” said Flynn, one of the Star-Telegram’s top newsmakers in 2016. “It’s normally an 18-month process. We tried to do it in five or six months.”
Under the new time line, the accrediting body would conduct a site visit in February 2018 and the medical school would get preliminary accreditation in June 2018, which would jumpstart recruitment of the first class of students.
This isn’t the first time Flynn has started a medical school. He was the founding dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, where he helped develop the curriculum and lead the school through obtaining its accreditation.
With the rapid changes coming in the healthcare industry, students at the new TCU/UNTHSC will not be part of a traditional medical school. Flynn said students will do more than just sit in classrooms listening to lectures, and classes will be held at both campuses.
Flynn also has been in discussions with all of the major hospitals in Tarrant County.
“We are in serious discussions with JPS, with Baylor, Texas Health, with Methodist, with HCA, with Cook and if this plays out how I would love it to play out — we’ll have a relationship with every one of those because they serve very different patient bases and cultures. That would be a beautiful position for a physician to train.”
It is the second medical school for the UNT Health Science Center, which had been seeking an M.D. program for several years but couldn’t obtain legislative approval. It already offers a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree through the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
What is clear right now is TCU is the degree-granting university for the medical school. What is also clear is UNTHSC brings many assets to starting this medical school that are value-added.
Dr. Stuart Flynn, founding dean of Fort Worth’s new medical school
“What is clear right now is TCU is the degree-granting university for the medical school,” Flynn said. “What is also clear is UNTHSC brings many assets to starting this medical school that are value-added.”
The new medical school will take advantage of UNTHSC’s faculty, pharmacy school, public health school along with TCU’s nursing, engineering and business programs.
Flynn also plans to tap many local physicians to be part of the new medical school.
“This will be a very different curriculum than a traditional medical school,” Flynn said. “We’re recruiting a large cadre of ambulatory care physicians. The reason is they’ll train there because that’s where they’re going to practice.”