Those of us who live and work in Houston are familiar with the vast size of the Texas Medical Center. We serve nearly 10 million patients annually. A baby is born here every 20 minutes. Our doctors perform more than 200,000 surgeries each year across 21 different hospitals. The list goes on and on.
But after joining Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on a trade delegation to the United Kingdom and Germany this summer, I realized just how difficult it is enormity of our presence.
Our meetings with leaders from the government, industry and health care sectors were designed to identify opportunities for collaboration between the U.K., Germany and Houston. We explained to our European colleagues that Houston is the energy capital of the world. We explained that we have one of the world’s busiest ports and that we pioneered the exploration of space. We explained that we are the most diverse city in the United States and, of course, that Houston is home to the largest medical center in the world. Any one of these features would distinguish a city, but we possess them all.
Describing the Texas Medical Center can be daunting. Most people assume a medical center consists of a hospital and a few medical office buildings. The Texas Medical Center, however, is so much more. I explained that we’re the destination for patients around the country—and around the world—to receive life-saving treatment. We’re a bustling academic center, where students learn and researchers make critical discoveries. And increasingly, we’re a business hub advancing the creation of cutting-edge medical technologies.
It was interesting to observe the faces of people in those European audiences as they started to grasp the scope of our work and the extent of the opportunity here.
Barbara Bush once said, “the Texas Medical Center is Houston’s gift to the world.”
It was an honor to join Mayor Turner and tell the Texas Medical Center’s story internationally. Before our meetings, most of the Europeans we met with were simply unaware of the size, stature and history of innovation in this incredible medical city. Now that they know, we expect many of them will be eager to join us as we grow.
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