A new educational partnership launching this week will provide Texas A&M College of Medicine third- and fourth-year medical students real world clinical experience with doctors and health professionals at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital.


Ten Texas A&M medical students begin their third- and fourth-year clerkship rotations at the hospital on Jan. 13. The rotations cover the core specialties, including but not limited to, general surgery, OBGYN, internal medicine and family medicine. Drs. David Lim, Traci DeSplinter, Tiffany Burns, Kashif Piracha and Tad Shirley are among the Houston Methodist Willowbrook physicians serving as clerkship directors. More than 50 Houston Methodist Willowbrook doctors will also serve as adjunct faculty under the partnership.


The partnership is an extension of an existing program between Houston Methodist and Texas A&M where Houston Methodist Hospital hosts the college’s third- and fourth-year students. Houston Methodist Willowbrook now serves as a second Houston Methodist campus site.


“By becoming a teaching hospital, we’re opening the door to new ideas and innovation while also instilling the patient-centered, service-oriented values of Houston Methodist to the next generation of health professionals,” said Keith Barber, CEO of Houston Methodist Willowbrook and senior VP of Houston Methodist. “We’re very excited to bring this unique educational partnership to Northwest Houston and for the possibilities it will bring to our hospital and our community.”


Normally, when medical students begin their core rotations, they’re assigned to a resident team. The distinguishing feature of Houston Methodist Willowbrook’s program is that there are no residencies or fellowships.


“These students will be on the front lines working directly with clinicians and patients, which will better prepare them after they graduate and help them decide what they’d like to do in their residency,” said Dr. Timothy Boone, Education Institute director at the Houston Methodist Academic Institute.   


Dr. Stephanie Bruce, associate chief quality officer and Texas A&M College of Medicine assistant dean of the Houston Methodist Willowbrook campus, says the educational partnership will help advance the quality of care the hospital provides. One example she gave was increased and improved simulation training.


“A new trend in the medical industry as well as medical education is to perform simulations on low-volume, high-risk emergency events. These are events that are rare, but when they do happen, we need to be prepared,” Bruce said.


For more information about Houston Methodist Willowbrook, visit houstonmethodist.org/willowbrook.