Baylor Scott & White teams with Baylor College of Medicine on new med school campus in Temple

Two of Texas’ leading health care players are teaming up to create a new medical school campus to reduce the state’s physician shortage and foster more health care innovation.

Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas, said it’s collaborating with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the state’s top-ranked medical school. Their 20-year agreement will be anchored by a regional medical school campus in Temple, about a two-hour drive south of Dallas.

In 2023, an inaugural class of 40 medical students is expected to begin training in Temple, and over four years, enrollment is projected to total 160.

The organizations will rely on tuition and donations for expenses, not state funding — with Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White covering any financial shortfalls, said Peter McCanna, president of the hospital company.

“We really believe this is crucially important for our patients and for Texas,” McCanna said in an interview. “Having top educators and top students and residents in the mix makes for the best medical care for our patients.”

Four years ago, the two announced a research alliance that included working together on clinical trials. They share a common heritage and the school started in Dallas in 1900. The school moved to Houston in 1943 and separated from Baylor University in 1969 to become independent.

“This is a great opportunity to expand Baylor College of Medicine’s outstanding medical education programs to a regional medical school campus,” Dr. Paul Klotman, CEO of the school, said in a statement. “We are looking forward to being in Temple.”

“This affiliation is good for Texans in a number of ways,” said Jim Hinton, CEO of the health system. “It will not only help us develop and keep more clinicians in a state that projects a continued physician shortage, it makes groundbreaking research from the country’s top institutions more available to the millions of Texans we serve each year.”

Baylor Scott & White already has a regional medical school campus in Temple with Texas A&M University. That will be relocating to Dallas as part of the moves announced on Tuesday.

Over 200 medical students from Texas A&M currently train at BS&W facilities, the company said. That number will grow to over 300 medical students over the next three years. A majority of those students will train in Dallas, making it the school’s largest regional medical campus, officials said.

The two also may develop a new physician assistant program and increase educational opportunities in nursing and pharmacy in Bryan-College Station.

“This collaboration leverages our strengths to develop an innovative health care workforce to deliver the next generation of high-value care,” John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, said in a statement. “I am excited to see this relationship grow and continue to flourish.”

Baylor, whose revenue topped $10 billion last year, operates 52 hospitals, 26 surgery centers and 557 specialty care clinics. It has about 49,000 employees, including joint ventures, and does over 7.5 million patient encounters a year.


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Clinicians, Med Students Help Patients Register to Vote

With less than 2 weeks until election day, clinicians around the United States have been helping patients who land in their hospitals find voter information or register on the spot — an extension, they say, of treating the whole person.

Dr Alister Martin

The VoteER initiative was started a year ago by emergency medicine physician Alister Martin, MD, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, but it has taken off in the COVID-19 era because of the challenges posed by voting at a physical location.

Now physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in a wide range of disciplines at 300 hospitals and students at 80 medical schools are spreading the word. So far, Martin told Medscape Medical News, the program has signed up more than 40,000 people who have either registered to vote or have requested vote-by-mail ballots.

Participating clinicians wear buttons, lanyards, or badge stickers with information patients can text to learn details on how to vote in their area. Healthcare professionals can also upload a QR code as a background on their phones’ home screens or print them out in poster form. Patients can scan the code and within minutes register to vote or request a mail-in ballot.

The tools are available free by ordering a physical kit or by downloading the toolbox. Martin said that so far, 25,000 physical kits, funded by foundations, have been sent out and “hundreds of thousands” of the digital version have been downloaded.

Dr Aliza Narva

Because the message promotes voting and not a particular candidate, no ethical lines are being crossed, said Aliza Narva, MSN, RN, JD, director of ethics for the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in the Penn Medicine health system. Clinicians answer questions about how to vote if patients ask.

“If anything, there’s an obligation to help people participate,” she told Medscape Medical News. “As a nurse, I have an ethical obligation to care for my whole patient. Nursing is a civic profession, which means we have an obligation outside of a 12-hour shift to engage in civic duty and help our patients navigate their lives. We’re certainly not telling them who to vote for.”

Martin said health systems are competing to sign up the most patients and staff. Penn Medicine is leading by a wide margin, having signed up 3500 voters since August 1, largely because the CEO, Kevin Mahoney, made the project a system-wide priority.

“Healthcare Is Political”

In 2016, Martin brought voting kiosks, with the blessing of hospital leaders, to Mass General’s Emergency Department (ED) with the hope of giving a voice to people who would be most affected by policies.

Martin said he learned from experience — growing up with a single mom in a low-income home in New Jersey — that struggling families like his were using EDs for primary care.

In his years studying for a master’s degree in public policy, he realized that young people, those with low income, and people of color made up a large percentage of the population

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