2015: Year In Review
It has been such an incredible year here at the Texas Medical Center. Our campus saw significant expansion and growth, new partnerships were formed, and each of our 56 member institutions went above and beyond in contributing to the mission of this medical city. For the past 10 issues of Pulse, you have seen story after story of groundbreaking research, quality education and exceptional patient care, and each of those represents only a fraction of the work being done here on any given day. It is thanks to the passion of this community—nurses, physicians, faculty, students, administrators and leaders—that we have so many accomplishments to be proud of, and so many still to come in 2016.
I would like to begin by noting that our campus mourned the loss of several incredible scientists, physicians and leaders in 2015. One of those leaders was our own chairman of the board, David M. Underwood. He served the Texas Medical Center for the past 23 years, and was passionate about the work being done on our campus every day. We will continue to strive for that vision of the future that Mr. Underwood believed in, under the direction of our newly appointed chairman, Holcombe Crosswell. Mr. Crosswell previously served as our vice chairman of the board and understands well the vision for the Texas Medical Center.
Part of that vision is embodied by the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute, which has had an exciting inaugural year, graduating the first class of TMCx startup companies on Sept. 10. The 21 companies—made up of consumer-facing enterprises, regulated medical device companies and digital health/enterprise-level software startups—were given access to the wealth of resources available within the medical center. They were mentored by some of the best and brightest that this campus and the greater Houston community have to offer, and were supported with everything from office space to legal advice on their road to establishing their startups in the health care industry.
The selection process is underway for the second class of TMCx, which kicks off Jan. 25. We look forward to welcoming the new class of digital health and health IT entrepreneurs.
The TMC Innovation Institute also launched TMC Biodesign, a one-year fellowship program that brings together individuals from engineering, medicine, business, computer science, design and research to identify areas of need in health care devices and technology. Out of 510 applicants, eight fellows were selected—four in medical devices and four in digital health—to shadow in emergency departments and operating rooms within the medical center in an effort to identify opportunities for new devices or technology that would improve processes and patient care.
We are also pleased to welcome a new face to the Innovation team. Dr. Erik Halvorsen recently joined us as the director of the Innovation Institute. Erik previously served as executive director of the Technology and Innovation Development Office at Boston Children’s Hospital. He brings tremendous experience to the Texas Medical Center, and we look forward to the exciting things he will do in the Innovation Institute.
JLABS @TMC is set to open its doors in the Nabisco building of the John P. McGovern campus in 2016, offering an incubator to help further foster innovation here in Houston. Startups will have access to wet lab units and office space, all a stone’s throw from the heart of the medical center.
The Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute has a number of ongoing projects, including TMC O2 (Overweight and Obesity)—
a diet and weight management program designed to help improve the health of employees across the TMC campus. That effort has garnered support from all 56 members, and shows great promise to help this community lead by example.
The Health Policy Institute has also seen great success with the Texas Medical Center Consumer Health Report, which polled 1,000 Texans on a range of topics related to health care cost, access, quality and coverage. The report was so successful that the 2016 survey will be expanded to include 5,000 participants in California, New York, Ohio and Florida, as well as Texas. Based on last year’s findings, the 2016 survey will look closely at quality of care, and what consumers see as most (or least) important relevant to health care quality. We look forward to the future of the Health Policy Institute, as it harnesses the collective expertise of this campus’ health policy leaders to improve understanding and access across the country.
We were proud to be a sponsor of the 2015 Medical World Americas Conference and Expo, aimed at bringing together health care leaders and practitioners from around the world for three days of presentations, panels and exhibits. Renowned inventor Dean Kamen has already been selected as the keynote speaker for the 2016 Medical World Americas, which promises to be even more impactful than the previous two.
2015 brought several major events to the TMCx space, including Houston 2035, a look at this city 20 years in the future. We also worked closely with students from the British International School of Houston for a daylong Young Inventors Forum, dedicated to innovation and teamwork. In addition to classroom visits from some of the TMCx mentors, the elementary school students were given the main stage in TMCx to present their inventions—the result of a semester-long focus on product development and pitching—to parents, teachers and visitors.
We believe that Houston can be—and should be—a national leader and host city for medical events and conferences, and we continue to collaborate across institutions to attract quality events. Events on the TMC campus, and in Houston as a whole, bring incredible talent and passion to this city. We are fortunate to experience that every day here in the Texas Medical Center, and even more fortunate to share that passion with visitors from around the world.
Talented new hires are added daily across the medical center—from research and education, to clinical care and executive leadership. With new talent comes new opportunities to further our mission, and serve as a leader in human health. The physical landscape of our campus is also changing. Many major construction projects are underway to help accommodate the tens of thousands of patients, students, staff and visitors who come to the Texas Medical Center each day.
Memorial Hermann kicked off a $650 million renovation and expansion project, which will continue through 2019, adding a patient care tower as well as parking and additional infrastructure to support future growth. Texas Children’s Hospital has moved forward on its $506 million expansion project, which will include a renovation of the Emergency Center, the expansion of diagnostic and therapeutic services, and the addition of 19 floors to an existing building. The new tower will house the Texas Children’s Heart Center, and is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
Houston Methodist Hospital was another of our members to announce significant expansion for the coming years with a $540 million project scheduled to continue through 2017. The expansion will include a new patient tower that will house over 390 patient beds and a dedicated cardiology floor.
Beyond the Texas Medical Center’s Houston campus, the new Jennie Sealy Hospital at UTMB in Galveston will be operational in 2016, providing access to quality health care in our surrounding areas.
On the academic side, Houston Community College made a big announcement about their plans for expansion. They are scheduled to complete the 248,000-square-foot Coleman Healthcare Educational Facility in 2017. We are also anticipating the completion of the new Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions campus in the fall of 2016. Education is central to the work being done within the medical center, as the students here represent the next generation of physicians, researchers and leaders for the Texas Medical Center.
Plans are also moving forward for the TMC3 campus, as we continue to develop and foster relationships that will serve as the foundation for the success of that campus expansion. Collaboration is always a core value of the Texas Medical Center, and we see that ringing true as we continue to expand and develop plans to further the reach of this campus on a national scale.
All of these projects and events demonstrate our commitment, as well as the commitment of our members, to making the Texas Medical Center a global destination for research, education and patient care. We see leaders emerge each day from the halls of our member institutions, and this level of growth shows that there are even bigger things still to come as our campus rises to meet the nation’s health care needs.
In the pages that follow, you will hear from some of the leaders within the Texas Medical Center. Their institutions have reached incredible milestones and paved promising roads for 2016. We look forward to the continued opportunities for growth and collaboration, as we work together to improve human health, not only here in Texas, but around the world.