Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) celebrated the completion of the School of Health Professions Physician Assistant Program expansion today (May 16) with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. The $30 million expansion will provide state-of-the-art training facilities that will enhance health care services and train future providers in the Permian Basin.
“We are grateful for the generosity of our community partners and the state legislature whose support made this expansion possible,” TTUHSC President Lori Rice-Spearman, Ph.D., said. “The state-of-the-art facilities it brings marks a milestone for our physician assistant program and will help transform health care in this region. Not only does the additional space allow us to accept more of the qualified students who apply to the program, but the new facilities allow students to remain in the community for all aspects of their classroom coursework. The end result, is an opportunity to retain more physician assistants in the region, enhancing access to care and filling critical shortages in areas including primary care.”
Rep. Tom Craddick secured $20 million in 2019 from the 86th Texas Legislature in conjunction with additional support from community partners including Midland Development Corporation, $5 million; Permian Strategic Partnership, $2.5 million; the Scharbauer Foundation, $1 million; and the Henry Foundation, $100,000.
Additional $1.5 million in funding was provided by university supporters and TTUHSC institutional resources.
The 48,500 square-foot modern interior design and state-of-the-art facility, located on the Midland College campus, includes an anatomy lab, clinical classrooms and training facilities.
The expansion also enables TTUHSC to increase its Physician Assistant program size from 60 students to 72 students in the next three years. The newly designed facility will create an opportunity to transform the teaching and research environments of health care through innovation and collaboration.
Research and teaching labs will be available for TTUHSC nursing students as well as health care professionals throughout the Permian Basin.
“In our ongoing mission of expanding access to health care in West Texas, the TTUHSC PA Program will admit additional students from over 2,000 applicants,” said Christina Robohm-Leavitt, Midland regional dean for TTUHSC School of Health Professions and director of the Physician Assistant Studies Program. “With the incredible building renovation and expansion, we now have space to provide innovative educational experiences in our collaborative classrooms spaces, clinical skills lab and gross anatomy lab to continue graduating PAs to provide the highest quality care.”
TTUHSC is home to the only physician assistant program serving West Texas, the Panhandle and Eastern New Mexico. A physician assistant can provide 90 - 95% of the services provided by a primary care physician and is trained in a general medicine model.
Approximately 20% of graduates from the TTUHSC program remain in the Permian Basin increasing access to health care for residents throughout the region.