Newsmakers Extra: UH president won't 'settle for mediocrity'

HOUSTON – Eleven years ago when Renu Khator, Ph.D., took over as president of the University of Houston she saw several areas where she could make a difference right away.

She said there was an obvious lack of partnerships between the university and the Houston business community.

“The whole idea was, how do you build the university based on the strengths of your region, of your economy,” she said. “Because if you can get in sync there’s just no end to where you can go.” 

It was the first of many steps she would take to improve the University of Houston image and viability as a partner with the business community. It is also one of the building blocks that has led to the planning and creation of the UH College of Medicine that is well on the way to reality.

The UH plan is to have a program that will focus on graduating doctors who will make primary care their area of expertise.

“It was just abundantly clear that if you don’t have access, and there are so many uninsured people that we can’t do anything about, but none the less, people who have to have hope,” she said. “They have to have treatment possibilities rather than ending up in emergency care.”

Building toward accreditation 

Money is being raised, the Texas Legislature is being asked for funding and one of the final steps is to be a fully accredited medical school, something Khator says she feels good about.

“We’ll show them how we’re unique, how we’re meeting the mission, how we’re community-based, how we’re looking at issues that increase the value of healthcare and population health,” she said. “We’re not looking at specialty treatment, we’re looking at improving the quality of life.”

Watch her full interview on Houston Newsmakers at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.


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