A Free First Year for Fort Worth Medical School’s Inaugural Class

The first class of the country’s newest medical school arrived this week, as the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine kicks off its inaugural class of 60 students. The students first year will be paid for by Paul Dorman, chairman and CEO of Fort Worth-based DFB Pharmaceuticals, and will be known as the Dorman Scholars.

The school is a unique public-private partnership, and will present a unique curriculum that will reduce time spent sitting in class listening to lectures and focus class time on problem solving and collaboration. It will also emphasize communication skills and compassionate leadership, which are often neglected in traditional medical education. The school promises to pump up the local economy as well. A Tripp Umbach study found that by 2030, the school will have an economic impact of $4 billion, generating 31,000 jobs for North Texas.

The class is more diverse than one might find at existing medical schools. It is 60 percent women, and 58 percent of students self-identify within the school-defined diversity domain. They represent 34 undergraduate colleges and eight different graduate institutions. Just over half the class is from Texas, but the class represents 18 states in all, from New Hampshire to Montana. One-fifth of the class self-identifies as black or latino, 10 percent self identifies in the LGBTQ community. Nearly half of the class are first generation college students, rural students, or had to work to support the family before the age of 18.

“We’re excited to welcome the next generation of physicians. Medical school is challenging, and the role of a physician continues to become more and more complicated.  We will inspire these students to be servant leaders,  pioneers in medical innovation and patient- and family-centered providers of care,” said Stuart D. Flynn, M.D., dean of the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine via release. “As Empathetic Scholars, they will lead by example in a health care industry that needs their skills and leadership.”

“The high percentage of students representing diverse backgrounds and degrees speaks volumes about our forward-thinking curriculum and admissions process,” said Tara K. Cunningham, Ed.D., associate dean for admissions and student diversity at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine via release. “Our Admissions Committee worked tirelessly to choose these remarkable future physicians.”