Dear Cougars and Friends,

Poets have sung its praises, and philosophers confirmed its necessity. And the common man and woman all agree. There is no substitute for good health.

We can quote Buddha, who advised us that “To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” We have the Roman bard Virgil reminding us that “The greatest wealth is health.” Even Winston Churchill, no paragon of personal fitness, weighed in on the subject, proclaiming that “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”

At the University of Houston, we have had a longstanding appreciation of how important health is—not quite as long as Buddha’s perhaps, but our commitment to educating health care professionals, conducting health sciences research and providing support for community well-being definitely runs deep. Our establishment of the College of Pharmacy, the College of Optometry and the original College of Nursing stretch back nearly three-quarters of a century!

In the ensuing years, we have steadily expanded and enhanced our academic offerings, research-driven enterprises and clinical services that are available to the public. From my earliest days in Houston, I immediately recognized the importance of health and health care to this city, not only as a general community concern but also as a professional matter. The health industry plays a tremendous role in our city’s economy and, as Houston’s University, UH has an obligation to support that by training a skilled workforce, educating astute leaders and encouraging innovative research and technology transfer. That’s why we made “Health” one of our Big Rocks.

In this issue of the magazine, you will find fascinating examples of the depth and breadth of UH’s continuing commitment to health. What’s most notable, I believe, is this University’s forward-looking approach. We are not content to have achieved as much as we have, but determined to do more and be even better.

That is the philosophy behind our most ambitious health-related undertaking to date—the creation of a medical school. But not just “a” medical school, of course. Texas has a troubling lack of primary care physicians—we rank 47th out of 50 states. So, our proposed medical school would emphasize that discipline and, in doing so, play a key role in addressing our statewide deficit and treating Houston’s own underserved communities. The UH medical school would help solve a pressing current problem and it will also provide a beneficial model for the future medical schools of this type. Just as Houston is often hailed as “the city of the future” for its economic vitality, diverse community and innovative spirit, UH shares those same qualities—and they will be reflected in our medical school.

If we need one last reminder about the significance of the classic instruction mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a sound body), let us turn to Publilius Syrus. He was a slave who, after gaining his freedom and pursuing a first-rate education, became one of Rome’s most cogent writers. “Good health and good sense,” he observed, “are two of life’s greatest blessings.” At the University of Houston, we are working hard to share those blessings with as many people as possible.

With warm regards,

President Khator's Signature

Renu Khator
President, University of Houston