Texas Medical Center

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Texas Medical Center

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Dates of existence

1946-

History

The Texas Medical Center is a comprehensive medical community located south of downtown Houston. It comprises 54 institutions, including four medical and seven nursing schools, 21 hospitals, three level-I trauma centers [8], eight specialty institutions, and academic and research institutions for many other health-related disciplines[9]. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is among the top-ranked cancer hospitals in the country[10]. As of 2017, it is one of the largest medical centers in the world[7].

The Texas Medical Center was proposed by Horace Wilkins, Col. William Bates, and John H. Freeman, the trustees of the M.D. Anderson Foundation. Established by cotton magnate Monroe Dunaway Anderson in 1936[1], the Foundation supported a variety of small causes until Anderson’s death in 1939, at which point the trustees, with the encouragement of Ernst Bertner, M.D., and Frederick Elliott, D.D.S., decided the funds should be used to build a medical center on par with Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic[2]. When, in 1941, the state legislature approved an act to create a cancer hospital[3], the Anderson Foundation trustees secured Houston as the location for the M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital, which would become first component of the medical center. The Texas Medical Center would be located on a site adjacent to Hermann Hospital, which had opened south of downtown in 1925.

The Texas Medical Center was officially incorporated in 1946 and Bertner was appointed president, replaced at the Cancer Hospital by R. Lee Clark, M.D. The Cancer Hospital was quickly joined by the Dental College, by then affiliated with the University of Texas[16], and Baylor University College of Medicine, which moved from Waco. The Anderson Foundation made grants to Methodist Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, a new building for Hermann Hospital, and for a library[15].

The Texas Medical Center grew quickly and has provided a home for innovators such as heart surgeons Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley; William Spencer and his work on rehabilitation of paralysis patients; trauma surgeon and medevac pioneer James “Red” Duke; and Nobel Prize-winning pharmacology researcher Ferid Murad[17].

SOURCES:

[1-5] TMC History 1971
[6] Handbook of Texas Online, Ernst W. Bertner.
[7] Facts and Figures, About Houston, City of Houston, 2017 July 24, www.houstontx.gov/abouthouston/houstonfacts.html
[8] Texas Trauma Facilities, Texas Health and Human Services, Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 2017 July 24, https://www.dshs.texas.gov/emstraumasystems/etrahosp.shtm.
[9] “Texas Medical Center: Houston is where the world comes for treatment”, About Houston, Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2017 July 24, https://www.visithoustontexas.com/about-houston/texas-medical-center/
[10] Institutional profile, Facts and History, 2017 July 24, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, https://www.mdanderson.org/about-md-anderson/facts-history/institutional-profile.html.
[12] Handbook of Texas Online
[13] New York Times, 1994 May 05, online.
[11] Mary Schiflett obituary, Houston Chronicle online, January 19, 2007.
[14] Bryant Boutwell, Ph.D, Bout Time blog, 2014 January 31
[15] TMC History 1971, p178
[16] Handbook of Texas Online, University of Texas Dental Branch
[17] TMC News, 2014 August 19

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