Medical center essential to the health of the city, future

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When we think of San Antonio, many things can come to mind: Alamo, Spurs, River Walk, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, University of Texas at San Antonio and, of course, our vibrant food and culture scene. Surprisingly, one of our community’s most vital assets is often overlooked; Worse still, some San Anton residents only learn of it after an emergency.

I am referring to the South Texas Medical Center, a critical economic generator, a vital part of our city’s resilience, and a vital part of our community’s character. Every San Antonian should know how the medical center serves us and understand what it means for our city.

Since 1944, the South Texas Medical Center on the northwest side of town in the heart of District 8 has grown from 200 acres of bare land to over 700 acres of development. With 200 acres of undeveloped land, this sprawling medical center will continue to play a vital role in our economic vitality, as well as the health and well-being of our people.

Employing tens of thousands of San Antonians, attracting medical investment and tourism, and serving as a training ground for the next generation of medical specialists and frontline workers, there is no doubt that the medical center is essential to our local economy.

The excellent health care provided here – through nine major medical institutions, hundreds of doctor’s offices, and UT Health San Antonio – creates a base for medical tourism. It is estimated that more than 5 million people visit the South Texas Medical Center each year.

At UT Health San Antonio, students, faculty, and other healthcare professionals conduct groundbreaking research, changing the way we approach chronic disease treatment. Whether it’s inventing the stent, discovering cells that can increase insulin with the potential to treat type 1 diabetes, or championing Alzheimer’s disease research, UT Health is driving breakthroughs , advances patient care and educates future generations.

In addition to conducting research and innovation, UT Health San Antonio is an exceptional training ground for those seeking careers in medicine, dentistry, nursing, biomedical sciences, and other areas of health professions. health. A study of its economic impact in 2013 showed that nearly a third of the tens of thousands of alumni stay here and help meet San Antonio’s demand for highly skilled labor.

This environment of medical excellence is part of what persuaded the Proton International Center to partner with UT Health and establish a proton therapy radiation center. This precision radiation therapy center, which will be staffed by the Mays Cancer Center, uses particle accelerators to diffuse cancer cells in a procedure that has less impact on surrounding tissue than chemotherapy. Not only will this public-private partnership increase health equity by improving access to cancer treatment in South Texas, but it will also create jobs and ensure affordable care for those who cannot afford a processing.

Beyond attracting investment and creating jobs, the medical center has played a central role in our local and regional recovery and resilience in the face of the pandemic and other emergencies. Over the past two years, frontline workers at the medical center have shouldered some of the heaviest loads to deal with an influx of patients. When Hurricane Harvey hit our state’s coastal communities in 2017, major hospital systems in San Antonio stepped up to help countless injured evacuees and handled the overflow of South Texas hospitals.

This quality of service is essential to our DNA here in Military City, USA.

To further support the many families who live and work in the medical center, the City of San Antonio is working to expand green spaces and improve public infrastructure. Examples include the Floyd Curl Green Street — a safe bike path that changed the conversation about public transit there — as well as proposed projects in the 2022 bond such as a $3.25 million park. , a greenway that will eventually connect to downtown, and improvements to Floyd Curl Drive.

As we look forward to the future development of the medical center, recognize that it is more than just a place to visit in case of a medical emergency or for a doctor’s appointment. It’s a place to learn, work, heal, live and grow, and that’s essential for San Antonio.

Councilman Manny Peláez represents District 8.

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