Medical Campus Would Benefit Austin

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 14, 2004

Dear Amy Smith,
   Your article beautifully summarizes a very important topic of which many Austinites are either confused or unaware ["Is There a Doctor in the House?," News, Sept. 10]. Austin is currently the second largest city in the U.S. without a true academic medical presence (Phoenix is No. 1, but has the benefit of the Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale). City voters should consider the benefits of having an academic medical center seated in downtown Austin. A UTMB medical campus in Austin, or ultimately even a free stand-alone medical school, could allow research advancements through partnerships with the surrounding biotech companies and the UT-Austin bioscience departments, as well as providing access to certain specialized care that is currently available only through travel to the medical university centers of Dallas, Tyler, Houston, San Antonio, and Galveston. A university medical campus in Austin would easily attract those with interests in medical research, resident physician and medical student training, and patient care. There is also the more serious issue, which is the growing numbers of uninsured individuals in the Austin area who have reduced access to medical care (especially specialty care). The largest portion of urban indigent care is traditionally provided for under the support mechanisms of full-fledged medical university systems in other U.S. major cities. Thanks for bringing this timely issue to the attention of your readers.
Joshua DiCarlo, MD
Atlanta, Ga.
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