February 02, 2007
Here at the UNT Health Science Center, we are uniquely structured to bring what I call a “bench-to-bedside” approach to conquering disease. Our expertise in public health, interdisciplinary scientific research, medical education and patient care gives us the singular ability to translate our discoveries directly into life-changing, and sometimes life-saving, actions. And our size gives us the nimbleness to do it expeditiously.
Bottom line: We’re creating much-needed solutions for the most critical health issues in our state. It’s a mission that the State of Texas has helped pay for since 1975. It’s a mission worthy of continued – and increased – investment.
And that’s what I said when I presented our Legislative Appropriations Request for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to the Senate Finance Committee of the 80th Texas State Legislature in November. And it’s what I’ll say many times over when I return to Austin to talk to members of the State House and Senate as they go through the process of evaluating every state agency’s biennial funding request until an appropriations bill is finalized May 31.
I’m proud to report that our proposals are already being positively received.
House Bill 1 has been introduced and, when approved, will provide the following for our Health Science Center:
An increase in our general revenue of almost $12 million above 2006-2007 levels. Our 12.18% increase is the largest increase in ongoing operations funding among the state’s eight health science centers.
Funding of the sale of $42 million in tuition revenue bonds: $20.5 million for the purchase of the 15.5-acre hospital property, environmental abatement procedures, demolition and clean up; and $21.5 million to construct the first building on our new “West Campus,” the vision for which is being solidified in a master planning process that should conclude this spring.
I also want you to know that all the health science centers in Texas voiced unified opposition to a proposed across-the-board 10% reduction in funding. The Legislative Budget Board did NOT recommend the cut, which saved jobs across the state.
Our major funding request for this session falls into the category of “special items,” which will be reviewed and negotiated by the Legislature in the coming months.
We have requested a total of $33.5 million to form The Health Institutes of Texas. This proposal relates directly to our “bench to bedside” approach to creating solutions for Texas’ most critical health issues. It aligns our key organizational strengths into three synergistic centers:
The Texas Center for Health Outcomes, which builds on our expertise in crunching the research data to target serious socio-economic and ethnic health disparities, as well as the emergence of new diseases.
The Texas Center for Translational Research, which builds on our expertise in taking research “from bench to bedside.”
The Texas Center for Primary and Rural Care, which would take the discoveries of the first two centers and turn them into new models of quality care and provider training in rural and underserved communities across Texas.
We described our vision for The Health Institutes of Texas in a two-page ad in the January issue of Texas Monthly.
I’ll keep you informed on the progress of our request throughout the session. The State of Texas must grapple with many funding priorities, and our legislators must listen to literally thousands of reasonable requests.
I assure you, the well-known excellence of our employees, our students and our graduates will speak loudly on our behalf.
University of North Texas Health Science Center
3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard | EAD 806 | Fort Worth TX | 76107-2699