North Texas Daily

An apple a day keeps full medical program away

An apple a day keeps full medical program away

An apple a day keeps full medical program away
March 24
00:50 2015

Kayleigh Bywater / Staff Writer

The UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth provides many opportunities for students wanting to pursue a future in the medical field.

With pre-med, pre-dental, pre-veterinary and more programs available, some wonder why a full medical program hasn’t taken shape with such a push toward the profession.

“UNTHSC really needs to have a full M.D. program,” School of Public Health Dean Richard Kurz said.

Health professions programs director Debrah Beck said UNT’s programs try to help students find exactly what they want to do in the medical field.

“We try to find the strengths in each individual student and help each person find an outlet for their compassions, altruism and intellect,” Beck said. “Thus we offer so many different options because there are so many different kinds of people who have a common goal to help alleviate suffering in human beings and animals.”

Before and beyond

In 1970, UNTHSC founded the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, which provides the benefits of all modern medicine, ranging from prescription drugs to surgery.

Although the college is not on the Denton campus, it is integrated just as UNTHSC is still a part of the UNT system.

“Students in TCOM spend four years here and graduate with a D.O. degree, or doctor of osteopathic medicine,” UNTHSC director of media relations Jeff Carlton said. “Like physicians with M.D.s, our D.O.s are complete physicians, fully trained and licensed to prescribe medicine and perform surgery.”

However, TCOM only covers a small percentage of what the medical field includes, and Kurz said he thinks it is time for UNT to build its medical program.

“I think it is necessary that we start to expand into many more areas and medical degree options,” Kurz said.

Kurz said it won’t be easy, though, and making these changes and getting this system into place will take more than just a few months.

“It will be an uphill climb no matter what,” Kurz said. “The legislation would have to get involved, we would need to gather charters and we would just have to undergo a lot of changes. But I do think it is not just what this college needs, but what this area needs.”

The current tools

Beck said the pre-med programs do a great job in preparing students with information on what they are going to face in their field, and providing them with the necessary experience to excel in their fields of choice.

“No matter what, we want to make sure our students are ready for medical school,” Beck said. “The process to get into medical school is a strenuous one.”

Beck said they have increased the difficulty of exams students have to take and introduced a larger number of required classes.

“Many students go to UNTHSC after they finish all their requirements,” Beck said. “It would be nice if all students could go on to finish their degrees at UNT, from people who want to work in dentistry to those who want to work with physical therapy or pharmaceuticals.”

Although UNT does not have a full M.D. program yet, Beck said most students she comes in contact with decide to complete their degree program in the state of Texas.

“I urge students to go on and apply to all the schools in Texas that offer what they want to pursue as a career,” Beck said. “We have to do our part in educating the future health care professionals and we want them to stay in Texas. Who knows, someday one of my past students could be my doctor or nursing my sick dog back to health.”

A bright future

With the expansion of a law program at the UNT Dallas campus, many are hoping a full medical degree program is on the horizon.

Kurz said although he hopes this as well, he is proud of UNT and UNTHSC.

“We have some of the best students around and we want them to succeed far in life,” Kurz said. “A full M.D. program would definitely broaden the areas of expertise and opportunities for the school, students and metroplex. I just look forward to seeing what the future holds.”

Featured Illustration by Jake Bowerman – Senior Staff Illustrator

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