We welcome and celebrate Dell Medical School’s inaugural class of 50 students, who begin classes in the newly opened Health Learning Building. As the first medical school in fifty years to be built from the ground up at a top-tier research university, Dell Medical School (DMS) provides opportunities for diversity, creativity and innovation that will shift paradigms, inspire creation of a vital, inclusive health ecosystem, and empower us all to Rethink Everything. The curriculum of the new school is “dedicated to training not just doctors, but physician leaders who are as comfortable caring for patients as they are taking on transformational health challenges.”
The mission of the new school is revolutionary: “to educate leaders who transform health care; to evolve new models of person-centered, multidisciplinary care that reward value; to advance innovation from discovery to outcomes; to improve health in our own community as a model for the nation; and redesign the academic health environment to better serve society.”
Numbers tell a story. There were 4,528 applicants who applied. Out of this group, 50 outstanding students were selected with more than 90% being from Texas (as required by law.) 100% of the class receive some form of scholarship support, 22% identify with a race or ethnicity underrepresented in medicine, and each student brings with them years of experience, collectively having dedicated 349 hours to the community, 1,702 hours to health care, and 851 hours to research. 46% are women, 54% are men and ages range from 20 to 39 years.
For those of us working in information technology, the launch of this first class of medical students is a unique opportunity to contribute to and participate in making Austin a center for the transformation of how health and healthcare are delivered and managed. DMS is committed to implementing “disruptive technologies” that disrupt the status quo and incorporate innovative technology into professional training and community health. We have been working with Rick Peters, MD, who is the new CIO at Dell Medical School, and many others at DMS to help connect them to central IT services such as the data center, virtual computing environments in ITS and at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, Canvas, UTmail, Box, etc.
For the students, this blend of health, health care, and technology can be very personal. One incoming student highlighted on the TexasDellMedFirstClass website is Aydin Zahedivash, the son of Iranian immigrants living in American. A UT Austin graduate with a BS in Biomedical Engineering, Aydin focuses on improving and saving lives. Already working with a team of researchers to help automate diagnostic decisions, he has met doctors frustrated with technology. He says “I’ve used this as my motivation to merge technology and medicine. I’ve devoted myself to rethinking the role of computers as aids to help us make better data-based decisions about care.” Many of his classmates share the same interests and focus.
Information technology will play a strong role in delivering an innovative, highly integrated educational program that incorporates guided, self-directed learning, new technologies, inter-professional education and health care delivery systems education. We have new opportunities to collaborate across campus and with DMS to assist in the education of this exceptional group of students and in their future work as physicians and researchers. For more information and individual stories, go the TexasDellMedFirstClass website.
In a message sent earlier this week from Dr. Clay Johnston, Dean of the Dell Medical School, he expressed sincere thanks to the University community as well as our key partners and the greater Austin and Travis County communities for “deep and meaningful support” and collaboration.
So here’s a big “Welcome and Hook ‘em!” to the inaugural class of students at the Dell Medical School. It’s exciting to consider what’s next and think about what is possible.