Address to Real Estate Council of Austin
November 6, 2013
OBSERVATION TO ACTION
A little over two years ago, I stood before a lot of you in this room and made this simple, obvious observation: “It’s time for a medical school in Austin.”
Now, after 26 months of hard work by a lot of people, that observation has turned to action. This resource that our region has wanted and needed for so long is about to be a reality.
A year ago today, Travis County voters made a big commitment. They embraced a vision, invested in their collective future and voted to raise their property taxes.
A lot of you folks probably don’t find yourselves voting too often for higher taxes. And if taxes had been all that Proposition 1 was about last year, I guess I’d just thank you for doing your part to keep Austin weird and then let you get on with your lunch.
But, as we all know, we live in a unique place. Our community – our people – embraced Proposition 1 as our opportunity to invest in powerful new resources that will help keep our people and our economy healthy. We seized this chance to revolutionize healthcare in Central Texas by transforming the way some of our most powerful partners deliver it.
That transformation – one that will start at UT and stretch to every corner of Travis County – was the heart of the 10 Goals in 10 Years that I laid out in my speech two years ago. These 10 goals carry the promise of Proposition 1, and as I think you’ll see today, we’re making real progress toward achieving them. Our work isn’t finished – there’s still plenty to do. But our future is beginning to come into focus.
And it’s dazzling.
Our progress is testament to the people and institutions that have worked so hard and done so much to help people across this community. I’d be negligent if I didn’t take just a minute to thank some of them.
The UT System Board of Regents deserves our deepest thanks for their commitment to seeing this through. So do UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa; Dr. Ken Shine, the former Executive Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs who continues at the System as special advisor to the Chancellor on medial education; Dr. Sue Cox, who a year ago was UT Southwestern’s regional dean for Austin programs and is now also the Interim Associate Dean of the Dell Medical School; and Vice Chancellor Amy Shaw Thomas – all outstanding leaders and problem solvers.
At UT Austin, thanks to President Bill Powers, former Provost Steve Leslie, new Provost Greg Fenves, and Dr. Bob Messing, UT’s new vice provost for biomedical sciences, for moving fast and smart.
At Central Health, thanks to all of the board of directors – especially Board Chair Rosie Mendoza, former chairs Dr. Tom Coopwood, Clark Heidrich and incoming Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie – and to President and CEO Trish Young Brown and her staff, including Larry Wallace, the vice president of service delivery, and Vice President of Planning and Communications Christie Garbe. They hit the ground running on this project two years ago and haven’t stopped. The Board, Trish and others have embraced a vision of serving this community. They believe in it. And they work hard.
At Seton, thanks to President and CEO Jesus Garza, Executive Board Chair Charles Barnett, and Greg Hartman, the president of academic medicine, research and external medicine: they’ve been creative, resourceful and energetic in fulfilling their mission to serve the community.
And thanks to my staff for all of the hard work they’ve done on this issue.
Believe me, that only scratches the surface of people who deserve thanks. This has been one of the biggest team efforts I’ve ever been a part of; I can’t begin to mention everyone who’s helped make this happen, but we might not be here today without any one of them.
So on behalf of all of us, let’s start by celebrating our community’s great, game-changing news:
My friends, it really is time for a medical school in Austin.
… It’s happening. And it’s happening fast. Continue Reading…