TYLER, Texas (KETK) The new medical school to be located in Tyler got approval from the Texas Legislature and will soon be on Governor Abbott’s desk for his signature.

Included in Senate Bill 1, the authorization for the facility is included in the state’s biennial budget.

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This will be the seventh medical school that’s part of the University of Texas System, but the first located in Northeast Texas.

Led by Chairman and former Tyler mayor Kevin Eltife, the UT System Board of Regents approved a proposal in February 2020.

City, county, and state leaders have cited a need to address teh shortage of health care professions in the growing region.

Shortly after the Board’s plan was announced, the East Texas Medical Center Foundation donated a record-setting $80 million to assist with associated planning and operational costs.

“Texas has the proud distinction of being the nation’s best state for business. Access to excellent health care and higher education is an important factor for businesses and families who wish to make Northeast Texas their permanent home. Our new medical school will be a significant boost to our region’s future. The Texas Legislature’s support of this initiative to date, under the leadership of Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick and Speaker Phelan, is deeply appreciated.”

Kevin Eltife, Chairman of the Board

Pending the Governor’s signature of Senate Bill 1, UT Tyler will work to complete the accreditation process with hopes of having the school fully operational by June 2023. 

The plan has received wide support from multiple politicians, including:

  • State Rep. Matt Schaefer
  • State Rep. Travis Clardy
  • State Rep. Dan Flynn
  • State Rep. Cole Hefner
  • State Rep. Jay Dean
  • State Rep. Chriss Paddie
  • State Rep. Gary VanDeaver
  • Tyler Mayor Martin Heines
  • Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran
  • State Sen. Robert Nichols
  • State Sen. Bryan Hughes

The economic impact of a medical school is projected to be significant. The Perryman Group, a Texas economic research and analysis firm with ties to the region for more than 40 years, credited existing UT facilities in Tyler with providing an annual economic impact of $1.7 billion, including $80.1 million in tax receipts and the creation of 21,529 jobs.

“On behalf of UT Tyler and its health science center, I extend our deepest gratitude to the countless people who are working to bring the medical school to realization—our regents, elected leaders and generous donors,” UT Tyler President Kirk A. Calhoun said.

“Our top commitment going forward will be to deliver an exceptional medical school that will serve Northeast Texas.”

The new medical school will not only expand access to health care for patients and education and research opportunities for students but will also provide an economic boon to Tyler and the region.

“I am especially grateful to Chairman Eltife and President Calhoun, who well understood the need for this medical school, and their vision was enthusiastically embraced by the regents, the community and the Texas Legislature,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “This recent action by our state leaders is key to health and prosperity in the region, and the UT System is fully committed to its great success.”

UT Health East Texas provides care to thousands of patients each year through an extensive regional network that includes 10 hospitals, more than 50 clinics, the Olympic Plaza Tower, 13 regional rehabilitation facilities, two freestanding emergency centers, regional home health services covering 41 counties, an EMS fleet of more than 50 ambulances and four helicopters, and a comprehensive seven-trauma center care network, including the region’s only Level 1 trauma facility.