HOUSTON — Texas A&M University is planning to create an innovative engineering medical school at Houston Methodist Hospital to educate a new kind of doctor, pending appropriate approvals, who will invent transformational technology for health care, officials announced today.
Fifty physician engineers would begin their studies in Fall 2017 at the new Texas A&M University Engineering Medicine School (EnMed) at Houston Methodist Hospital. EnMed would be an integrated educational and research medical school with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship and a part of the Texas A&M College of Medicine’s MD program and the College of Engineering. EnMed would initially hire 25 faculty members and utilize 75,000 square feet of instructional and research space in the Texas Medical Center.
“The medicine of tomorrow will not be practiced in the way that it is today. Medicine is not just about biology, it requires technology development,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “This school would not only train doctors, but allow them to invent new products and take their inventions to the marketplace. EnMed would expand the health care technology market at the Texas Medical Center. The potential economic impact to the region would be huge.”
Responsive to the rapid advances in technology, this new type of medical education would prepare professionals with the clinical skills to diagnose symptoms and treat patients, along with the engineering mindset to solve problems, invent new technologies and rapidly move these innovative ideas to practice in patient care.
“As a physician who has long been interested in engineering, I’m particularly excited that EnMed will train a new kind of medical doctor who will be able to design technology to tackle the most complex problems in medicine,” said Marc Boom, M.D., president and CEO of Houston Methodist. “This new collaboration could quickly impact the future of health care.”
An innovative translational research program in medical technology at Houston Methodist Research Institute would also will be part of EnMed.
“Everything we do should be translational, with the end goal of bringing new solutions to our patients in a timely fashion,” said Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute. “I have every confidence that our joint program will create the engineering-based ideas necessary to cure the most challenging diseases.”
EnMed would blend translational research and commercialization opportunities with an innovative medical education model, said Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University.
“The presence of a hands-on innovation center combined with an office of technology commercialization is another example of Texas A&M creating dynamic solutions to the great global challenges we face in health care today,” he said. This interdisciplinary learning environment would lead to research and discoveries that would impact the state, nation and the world, but most importantly, would create new transformational educational opportunities for our students.”
And this focus, said Texas A&M Engineering Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering M. Katherine Banks, is what would make this school unlike any other.
“This is a paradigm shift. The major health care challenges of the future will not only depend on bioengineering, but also require mechanical, chemical, electrical, and computer engineers,” she said. “There are other programs that link medicine with bioengineering, but this is different. All students in EnMed will be expected to invent something transformational before they graduate. These innovators, or “physicianeers”, will radically change the way that health care is delivered.”