Houston Methodist and Texas A&M join forces to enhance physician education and research innovation

Houston Methodist and Texas A&M Health Science Center have teamed up to train the next generation of physician leaders in the Texas Medical Center.

Houston Methodist and Texas A&M Health Science Center are partnering to bring more innovative research and medical education to the state through new health professions degree programs in the Texas Medical Center. Beginning in 2015, 24 Texas A&M medical students will begin clinical training and graduate research in Houston, with plans for that number to double by 2016.

“The Texas A&M and Houston Methodist joint degree programs combine the strengths of our institutions to train the next generation of physician leaders,” said Tim Boone, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Houston Methodist Institute for Academic Medicine and the new regional vice-dean for the Texas A&M College of Medicine. “Our programs will mentor young physicians to nurture their ideas for new cures and treatments, and provide them the skills they need to turn these ideas into realities that improve health for patients everywhere.”

The medical degree program will begin with two years of basic medical science and pre-clinical training at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Bryan and continue with the third year rotation and options for fourth year electives at Houston Methodist Hospital. As part of a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree program, Texas A&M will work with Houston Methodist to provide translational research opportunities on the Houston campus. Those individuals pursuing an M.D./Ph.D. joint degree will take their medical and graduate sciences classes at Texas A&M campuses and complete three to four years of doctoral thesis work at the Houston Methodist Research Institute or the Institute for Biosciences and Technology, both leading medical research institutes.

“Through combined efforts, Texas A&M and Houston Methodist are offering aspiring physicians and clinician scientists a unique, unparalleled educational opportunity in an academically rich environment renowned for scientific discoveries and translational clinical research,” said Brett P. Giroir, CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center. “These are exciting times for the Aggie family as we continue to build our Houston campus, and in turn, lead world-class research and medical education in the most important health-related district in the world.”

The partnership is part of a larger Houston expansion plan for the Texas A&M Health Science Center and follows the recent announcement of a two-year ground lease in the Texas Medical Center for future construction of a multidisciplinary research and education building adjacent to the Albert B. Alkek Building that currently houses the Texas A&M Institute for Biosciences and Technology.

“We are pleased with the announcement of this partnership between two prestigious members of the Texas Medical Center, Houston Methodist and Texas A&M Health Science Center,” said Robert Robbins, M.D., president and CEO of Texas Medical Center. “This is a great example of the new spirit of collaboration that is emerging across the Texas Medical Center.”

Participating Houston Methodist doctors and scientists will receive Texas A&M faculty appointments and titles.

“This partnership will afford Texas A&M medical students the opportunity for specialized training alongside world-class doctors and scientists at Houston Methodist as they complete their journeys toward becoming the next generation of health care leaders,” said Paul Ogden, M.D., interim dean of medicine and vice president for clinical affairs, Texas A&M Health Science Center. “Together we are opening new doors for the future of medical education, all the while ensuring Aggie doctors are amply prepared to address the ever-changing health care needs of Texans.”

Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute and director of the Houston Methodist IAM, said initiatives like this one join the strengths of two Texas institutions in a way that benefits Texans.

“These are the kinds of programs Texas needs to cut through the barriers to medical innovation. They empower physicians at our nationally recognized hospitals, to partner with our excellent universities and our growing biotechnology industry to use research dollars more efficiently and achieve real progress in treating the worst diseases.”

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