The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine has received notification from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) that it has been granted preliminary accreditation, UT Tyler announced on Monday morning.
The university called it a monumental milestone that will allow the school to begin recruiting its first class of medical students for 2023.
“Many individuals have worked for years with relentless determination to make this medical school a reality. We have celebrated milestones along the way, and this is another significant one, because it means we are now ready to open the doors to medical students in Tyler,” said Kevin P. Eltife, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. “By extension, it means opening doors to individuals who seek greater access to health care. It means enhancing our region as a destination point to live, train, work, and contribute to our economic vitality.
Kirk Calhoun, UT Tyler president, is proud of the accomplishment.
“This achievement is the result of a transformative gift from the ETMC Foundation and both the visionary governance and the resources from the UT System Board of Regents. Additional support from elected leadership, donors and the community were essential to the medical school moving forward. I thank our vice provost, dean and faculty for their expertise in guiding us through this complex process and bringing us one step closer to enrolling our first class in July 2023,” Calhoun said.
In preparation to launch the medical school, UT Tyler announced Dr. Brigham Willis as the founding dean. Willis, who last served as associate dean for medical education at the University of California, Riverside, will lead the recruitment efforts of new students and establishment of the curriculum and facilities for the school.
“This notification allows us to launch the next phase of accepting student applications and conducting interviews,” Willis said. “I am very excited about the next phases in the process.”
Following years of strategic planning that included funding, partnerships, and legislative and regents’ authorization, the UT Tyler School of Medicine met the established standards for structure, function and performance set by the LCME.
“I am grateful for the guidance and support of Chairman Eltife and the UT System Board of Regents and executive leaders, the Texas Legislature, faculty, staff and community members for joining forces to pave the way for our new school of medicine,” said Julie Philley, MD, executive vice president for health affairs and vice provost. “I am excited to not only participate in its launch, but to witness firsthand the way it will transform our community.”
The vision for the school of medicine is to train committed, empathic, diverse and exceptional physician leaders to significantly reduce health disparities and enhance the quality of life in rural East Texas.
Full accreditation for the school of medicine is expected after the first class of students matriculates and the LCME determines that the school has demonstrated the effectiveness of the education program and continued compliance.
“From regents to elected officials, community leaders to philanthropists, and the UT Tyler leadership, everyone has shared in the equity in this effort, and I could not be happier for UT Tyler and East Texas,” Eltife said.