UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center merger to benefit students, community

UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center merger to benefit students, community
The University of Texas at Tyler north entrance sign, on campus. (Source: KLTV)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - After deciding to put $95 million into the University of Texas at Tyler health and education systems, the board of regents is now making another investment in the future of health care and education in Tyler.

They are merging the two systems under one administrative umbrella.

“We have two great institutions in Tyler. We want to put them both under the same administrative umbrella,” said Kevin Eltife, the chairman of the board of regents. “This isn’t about job cuts at all, this is just the opposite.”

RELATED: Integration of UT Tyler, UT Health Science Center to include 200 new graduate medical slots

Following the investment to create new facilities in Tyler, this is the next step towards a big future goal.

“This is creating the groundwork for the future of the possibility of a medical school in Tyler,” said Eltife. “Which is really our ultimate goal.”

The Health Science Center will be adding 200 new graduate medical slots in 2020, which Eltife said will encourage health care professionals to stay in East Texas.

“The issue is, usually where those slots are is where people stay and do their work,” said Eltife. “So, increasing to 200 GME (graduate medical education) slots in East Texas is huge for our area and will help the community and help provide health care professionals that will learn and stay in this area after they get their degree.”

For the programs they currently have, the number of people who stay is high.

“We’ve done extremely well to keep our residents in East Texas,” said Dr. Emmanuel Elueze, vice president for medical education and professional development at the health science center. “Our family medicine program here, that is about 30 plus years old, we’re able to keep about 40 percent of them in East Texas and we keep about 75 percent of them in Texas.”

According to Eltife, the research, clinical studies, and hospitals will be under the academic side of UT Tyler with the merger. He said this will enrich the learning opportunities for students, raise the ranking of UT Tyler nationally and enrich the resources of health care professionals in the East Texas area.

Eltife said they hope to eventually provide the workforce for UT Health, Christus and Baylor Scott and White in East Texas.

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