Report shows a 30% increase in number of Dell Medical School residents working in Travis County

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The number of medical residents working in Austin-area clinics and hospitals has grown by more than 30 percent since voters approved the creation of Dell Medical School in 2012, according to the program’s Community Benefit Report.

The annual report, which was jointly created by Dell Medical School and Travis County’s health district, Central Health, found an increasing presence of Central Texas medical students and residents in clinics and hospitals serving low-income communities.

Here are some ways Dell Medical residents have affected the community:

  • The number of medical residents providing care at Travis County clinics and hospitals grew from 218 in 2012 to 287 in 2017; that number is projected to exceed 300 by 2020.
  • All 50 students in the first class work in safety-net hospitals and clinics.
  • Six Dell Medical residency programs operate in CommUnityCare Health Centers. The programs include 130 residents and 49 faculty from the school.

Dell Medical School said these improvements in community health care are a result of the tax increase Travis County voters approved in 2012, which funded the creation of Dell Medical School.

“This community’s vote really was visionary,” Dell Medical School Dean Dr. Clay Johnston said in a news release. “It’s exciting to see that vision becoming a reality, and it’s thrilling that so many people across our community are part of that process.”

Although Travis County voters approved the tax increase that led to the annual $35 million investment from the Community Care Collaborative—the nonprofit partnership between the two entities—there have been a few vocal critics of the investment.

At a public forum hosted by Germane Solutions, an independent consultancy forum conducting a performance review of Travis County Health District, residents said Central Health incorrectly uses taxpayer money.

Attorney Fred Lewis said state law dictates that Central Health—which he says has a mission to provide health care to poor people—is not allowed to spend taxpayer money on medical education.

But Greg Hartman, Seton Healthcare’s chief of External and Academic Affairs, said the investment actually does fund a better quality of life for all Central Texans.

“Our partnership with Dell Med and Central Health is based on innovation—not just innovative health care breakthroughs, but also novel ways to collaborate and bring community resources together to improve the quality of life in Central Texas,” he said.

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