Fort Worth

Dean named for Fort Worth M.D. school at TCU/UNT Health Science Center

The UNT Health Science Center and TCU are joining together for the M.D. school, which will have its first class 2018.
The UNT Health Science Center and TCU are joining together for the M.D. school, which will have its first class 2018. Star-Telegram

Dr. Stuart D. Flynn, who helped start the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, has been selected as the founding dean of the M.D. school to be jointly run by TCU and the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Flynn, who was also dean of the Arizona medical school, is expected to start the job in April. He was one of four finalists to visit both campuses in January.

The new medical doctor program hopes to have its first class in the fall of 2018.

“TCU, the University of North Texas Health Science Center and Fort Worth offer all the ingredients needed to develop a cutting-edge M.D. school with national aspirations,” Flynn said in a statement. “I am excited to build this school with valued colleagues, including a nationally recognized osteopathic medical school, a renowned and forward-looking nursing program, excellent pharmacy and public health schools, and several other high-caliber colleges at both universities.”

The UNT Health Science Center already has the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, which offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine degree. The effort to add an medical doctor program was opposed for years by some osteopathic physicians.

The M.D. and the D.O. training will exist side by side.

As the founding dean of the Phoenix medical school since 2008, Flynn helped create the curriculum and led the school through obtaining its accreditation.

Arizona school grew under Flynn

The Phoenix medical school opened as a branch of the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. Initially, the school was intended to be a partnership with Arizona State University before ASU dropped out to work with the Mayo Clinic on a Scottsdale medical school, according to The Arizona Republic.

The Phoenix school started with a class of 24 students and now has a class size of 80. So far, each class has had a 100 percent match rate for residencies with half the classes choosing primary care disciplines, which has been identified as a need in Texas. The Phoenix medical school will seek full accreditation next year, according to the Arizona newspaper.

Besides medical training, Flynn said, it is important to have for students to have empathy, respect and servant leadership.

“Those latter traits sound like common sense, but if not nurtured in medical school, students often can get overwhelmed by all they have to learn,” Flynn said. “To accomplish our goal in improving the value of healthcare for all, we envision doctors who proactively work to keep people healthy, not just recognize disease and treat it.”

The health science center also includes graduate schools for pharmacists, physician assistants, physical therapists, public health experts and biomedical scientists.

“Dr. Flynn’s leadership style will fit seamlessly into the values-based culture we are building at the health science center,” President Michael R. Williams said. “His vision for the future of medical education will create more adaptive, high-quality physicians prepared to meet the changing healthcare needs of Texas.”

Plans for school began in 2015

The M.D. program is an extension of the two schools’ long-standing collaboration on science and healthcare issues in the Fort Worth community.

More than 1,200 students from nursing, speech-language pathology, social work, athletic training, medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health and biomedical sciences have trained together.

Students in TCU’s Neeley School of Business and the health science center’s School of Public Health also study together in the health science center’s master’s program in health administration and TCU’s healthcare MBA program.

The new M.D. program will use existing facilities and resources on both campuses. The new school must obtain accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

“Having Dr. Flynn join us in this ambitious project is a tremendous step forward,” TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said. “His expertise in navigating the complexities of a new medical school, combined with his passion for mentoring the leaders and critical thinkers who will drive healthcare transformation, fully aligns with the mission of Fort Worth’s M.D. school. We’re so happy to welcome him to campus and to our community.”

Flynn helped create curriculum

As the founding dean of the Phoenix medical school since 2008, Flynn helped create the curriculum and led the school through obtaining its accreditation.

The Arizona Republic reported March 5 that questions were raised last year about the amount of financial support, local control and independence of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix had from the main Tucson campus. Those concerns were enough to lead an accrediting body to warn that the Phoenix school could face probation or loss of accreditation without fixes.

Those accreditation concerns ended in February when the Liaison Committee on Medical Education approved the medical school’s proposed fixes and advanced it to midtier “provisional” accreditation, the newspaper said.

Flynn received his medical degree and residency training at the University of Michigan and completed his fellowship in oncologic pathology at Stanford University. He was a professor of pathology and surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine before being hired for the Phoenix medical school.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna