MAY 27, 1999

HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER GRADUATES MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

FORT WORTH, Texas -- More than 130 students are expected to graduate from the University of North Texas Health Science Center at a June 5 commencement ceremony at the Fort Worth Convention Center Theater. James A. Pawelczyk, Ph.D., will be the guest speaker. The graduation event begins at 2 p.m.

The graduating classes include 107 doctors of osteopathic medicine from the health science center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and 28 students from the center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. This is the 26th commencement for the health science center, a fully accredited, public institution located in Fort Worth’s Cultural District.

This will be the last medical and graduate school commencement ceremony for Dr. David M. Richards, president of the health science center, who announced his retirement for December 1999. He will preside over the first commencement ceremony for the health science center’s recently-established physician assistant studies program in September.

Commencement speaker Jim Pawelczyk, Ph.D., was selected in 1995 as a Payload Specialist for the Neurolab space shuttle mission, and flew aboard STS-90 on the space shuttle Columbia in April and May of 1998. Dr. Pawelczyk is an Assistant Professor of Physiology and Kinesiology at the Noll Physiological Research Center at Pennsylvania State University. He received his training and education at the UNT Health Science Center.

At commencement ceremonies, Dr. Pawelczyk will be given the honorary degree, Doctor of Public Service.

The UNT Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine will now have over 2,000 alums. Nearly 70 percent of the school’s graduate physicians practice primary care, such as internal medicine, family medicine, OB/GYN and pediatrics. Almost 30 percent of graduates in Texas practice in rural and underserved urban communities of less than 25,000.

The osteopathic medical degree, doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.), is the only other degree in addition to M.D. that qualifies physicians to be licensed for the entire scope of medicine. A D.O. pursues a preventive, whole-person approach to illness and disease, and emphasizes patient participation in maintaining good health. D.O.s, like their M.D. counterparts, practice in all medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center includes the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a School of Public Health and a physician assistant studies program. There are six research Institutes for Discovery and a 110-member faculty group practice, The Physicians & Surgeons Medical Group, that manages 188,000 Fort Worth-area patient visits yearly. The institution carries out numerous clinical research projects and injects some $244.3 million into Tarrant County and Texas’ economies annually.

Note: List of graduates, hometowns, and their future plans available through the Advancement Office.