In 1969, Texas Governor Preston Smith signed a bill authorizing the creation of what would become the School of Nursing at UT Health San Antonio, an institution that  50 years later remains one of the most innovative educators of nurses in Texas.  Just two weeks ago, I had the honor of attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new School of Community and Rural Health at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. Its future graduates will work tirelessly to improve the health of Texans for decades to come. 

One of the privileges and challenges of serving in the Office of Health Affairs for UT System is keeping up with the extraodinary range of work that’s being done by our institutions to train and educate the future health professionals of our state. 

Just in the past year our institutions have launched the world’s first Doctorate in Health Informatics, a new Doctorate of Occupational Therapy, a Master of Science in Biomedical Technology Commercialization, a Master of Science in Health Care Transformation, an MPH degree in urban health, and an online MPH degree in epidemiology.

Every year we’re adding new programs, retrofitting existing programs with new technologies, developing new strategies to embed our students in their communities, sending our people out to train providers in the field, and thinking creatively about ways in which students from different disciplines can begin to learn together now so that they’ll be prepared to work together when patients’ lives are on the line. 

This issue is dedicated to highlighting some of that work, and in particular to celebrating our extraordinary educators, whose dedication to turning students into professionals is the bedrock of the future health of Texas.


David Lakey, MD 
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer 
The University of Texas System

Highlights from Around the System
UT Health San Antonio
Training policy to notify schools when they encounter children at a traumatic scene, so schools can provide support right away.

MD Anderson
Study shows nearly half of cancer patients who enter a comprehensive tobacco treatment program quit smoking.

Most American adults do not know that HPV causes oral, anal, and penile cancers.

MD Anderson
HPV vaccine is improving herd immunity.

UT Southwestern 
AI helps scientists predict depression outcomes.

UT Austin
Nanogels hold promise for improved drug delivery to cancer patients.
Mummy study: Heart disease was bigger issue for human ancestors than initially thought.

UT Dallas
Social media can precipitate the fear of missing out, or FOMO.

Institution recognized for quality care for 3rd consecutive year.

UT Austin 
After FDA Ban, new study finds alternate procedure comparable to hysterectomy.

Improving safety conditions for Gulf of Mexico shrimpers.

UT Southwestern
Researchers identify molecule linking weight gain to gut bacteria.

UT Arlington
Researchers test treatment to speed up the healing of cranial injuries.
The Texas Health Journal is an ongoing digital effort to tell the story of how the 14 institutions that make up The University of Texas System are improving the health of Texans and people all over the world through education, research, and healthcare.

Have a story to share? Email Daniel Oppenheimer at
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