On November 17, 2020, Houston-based Baylor College of Medicine announced plans to open a regional medical school campus in Temple as part of a collaboration with Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit health system in Texas.
The new campus, slated to open in fall 2023 with an inaugural class of 40 medical students, comes as a major boon to Temple’s growing life sciences cluster. Beginning in 2023, the campus will add 40 students per year, welcoming 160 students over four years.
“We were excited for the opportunity to join with Baylor Scott and White to further the mission and values of Baylor College of Medicine with an excellent health system,” said Dr. Jennifer Christner, dean of the school of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “This partnership will allow our students to have access to the greater Central Texas area, experiencing more of a community health environment, while also gaining expertise in health systems science.”
“Baylor College of Medicine’s presence in Temple will bring a great deal of prestige, as well as attract highly qualified students and top-notch physicians to Central Texas.”
— Drayton McLane, Chairman, McLane Group
For Temple leaders, the expansion of the region’s medical workforce and pool of health care providers is among the greatest benefits of the announcement. Texas A&M University-Central Texas, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Temple College’s Texas Bioscience Institute are among the institutions currently fueling its life sciences talent pool.
“Medicine is changing dramatically with the rise of technology — and medical schools are at the forefront of that change,” said Drayton McLane, chairman of the McLane Group, based in Temple. “Baylor College of Medicine’s presence in Temple will bring a great deal of prestige, as well as attract highly qualified students and top-notch physicians to Central Texas.”
According to Adrian Cannady, president and CEO of Temple Economic Development Corporation (Temple EDC), a qualified labor force is among the most important factors for companies considering a new location.
“The addition of the new medical school campus strengthens our talent pipeline, the health of our community and our ability to attract new and growing life sciences institutions to Temple,” Cannady said. Temple EDC has also committed to assisting Baylor College of Medicine in the attraction of students to the new campus through its talent attraction marketing campaign, Meet Temple.
“We are hopeful that some of our students will choose to stay in or near Temple to complete their residencies when they finish medical school, and ultimately stay in the region to practice and serve Texas,” Christner said. “In addition, while our students are in medical school in Temple, they will participate in community service activities as part of their service learning curriculum.”
Thomas Baird, chairman of Temple Health and Bioscience District (THBD), said that, prior to this announcement, health care in Temple accounted for 40% of the gross city product, 32% of the workforce and 50% of citizen wages. “When a hospital has outstanding doctors using the most up-to-date treatment protocols, then you have a city with the best-of-class medical treatment, which becomes a medical destination with referrals from all over the state and the country.”
Wendell Williams, city council member and founding chairman of THBD, echoed that sentiment.
“Temple enjoys outstanding health care with Baylor Scott & White and the Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System, has excellent medical education with the current Texas A&M Health Science Center campus and has clinical research currently underway in the community,” he said. “The addition of the Baylor College of Medicine–Temple campus to this mix will increase the impact of the community's medical and bioscience cluster in ways we have only dreamed of in the past.”
“Our partnership will attract the very best physicians, scientists, and natural thought leaders to a strong, collaborative, academic community in Temple and throughout Texas.”
— Dr. Mary Dickinson, Senior Vice President and Dean of Research, Baylor College of Medicine
In addition to fueling Temple’s medical workforce, the affiliation between Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor Scott and White aims to advance research and health care innovation with the goal of improving health care for Texans.
“The Baylor College of Medicine campus in Temple will provide a means to connect our highly ranked main research campus in Houston with the Temple community and Baylor Scott & White’s strengths in population health-care management, bringing a strong connection to our innovative programs, well-established research infrastructure and cutting-edge translational pipelines,” said Dr. Mary Dickinson, senior vice president and dean of research at Baylor College of Medicine. “Our collaboration will support the mutual goal of applying learning health care system concepts to drive innovations in patient care and will attract the very best physicians, scientists and natural thought leaders to a strong, collaborative academic community in Temple and throughout Texas.”
As a whole, Temple Mayor Tim Davis sees the announcement as a significant sign of growth ahead for Temple’s bioscience cluster.
“Baylor College of Medicine is a top-tier medical school,” Davis said. “That, combined with the strong and active participation of Baylor Scott & White, has the potential for significant economic impact for Temple.”