First students at Fort Worth medical school will get free tuition for a year

 A rendering of the Interdisciplinary Research and Education Building at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. It is scheduled to be completed in fall 2018. UNT Health Science Center

By Bill Hanna

billhanna@star-telegram.com

 FORT WORTH

The inaugural class of 60 students in Fort Worth’s new M.D. program will receive free tuition for their first ear of school thanks to a gift from a Fort Worth businessman.

The first medical students at the new TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, scheduled to open in July 2019, will be known as Dorman Scholars in honor of Paul Dorman, chairman and CEO of Fort Worth-based DFB Pharmaceuticals.

The amount of the donation, called the H. Paul Dorman Charter Scholarship Program, was not disclosed, but TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini described it as “a ton of money.”

The M.D. school is a partnership of TCU and the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Since it is under the TCU banner, tuition is expected to be more than $50,000 a year, meaning the donation should be worth at least $3 million.

In a statement, Dorman said the new program will be a catalyst for Fort Worth.

“I understand the need for exceptionally trained physicians and I believe the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine team is creating the right formula to prepare students to practice medicine in the future,” Dorman said. “This school will change the medical and economic landscape of our community and I can’t wait to meet the students who will make up the first class.”

The idea for free tuition came from a similar program at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where the first class of 40 students received full scholarships for all four years of medical school that totaled $7 million. That school’s first class started in 2009.

 

“It’s a nice inducement to recruit the best,” said Stuart Flynn, dean of the new medical school.

At Monday’s press conference, the economic impact of the new M.D. program was projected to be $1.7 billion by 2030. A new medical school will have base operations of more than $140 million with additional impacts coming from research, clinical care, spin-offs and indirect support, said Paul Umbach, founder and president of the Pittsburgh-based consulting firm Tripp Umbach.

“When we study medical schools across the country, we find that the institutions with the greatest economic impact on their communities are those that are created from a partnership between two successful universities,” Umbach said.

The M.D. program is set to open in 2019, pending accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

When classes start, the school will be housed on two floors of the UNT Health Science Center’s new Interdisciplinary Research Building, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018. Classes will also be held at TCU.

Both Boschini and Michael Williams, president of the Health Science Center, said the medical school won’t be looking to build a new campus for the foreseeable future.

“This location will be brand new,” Williams said. “I think it will carry us for several years.”

This will be the UNT Health Science Center’s second medical school. It already offers a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree through the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

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