University of Houston and Humana Announce Long-term Strategic Partnership

Collaboration Creates the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston

Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies, and the University of Houston announced today a long-term strategic partnership to train the health care leaders of tomorrow with a focus on advancing population health, improving health outcomes and expanding the use of value-based payment models.

Together, the two organizations will create the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston, which will unite the university’s new College of Medicine, as well as the existing colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Optometry. A $15 million gift over 10 years from Humana will help defray start-up and operational costs for the College of Medicine, as well as fund endowed chairs for each of the five colleges.

The strategic collaboration is designed to graduate physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals who are trained in population health and have a propensity for primary care and for working with the underserved.

“This is an investment in the future of our health care system, which depends on clinical leaders who understand concepts like population health, the importance of social determinants of health and the need to emphasize value over the volume of health care services provided,” said Humana Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roy Beveridge. “The University of Houston is an ideal partner to continue Humana’s integrated care delivery evolution because we share a vision for addressing these imperatives and for caring for individuals in underserved communities with the greatest health needs.”

With its emphasis on underserved communities, the University of Houston and Humana partnership aligns with Humana’s Bold Goal of improving the health of the communities it serves 20 percent by 2020 by making it easier for people to achieve their best health. Humana is taking a population health approach to pursue this goal, while working to address social determinants of health such as food insecurity, social isolation and inadequate transportation.

“Humana and the University of Houston share a commitment to helping people achieve their best health with a focus on population health, primary care and value-based care,” said Renu Khator, president of the University of Houston. “We have the unique opportunity to be innovative and synergistic in our approach and curriculum. We are serious about an interdisciplinary, integrated approach to health education that will make a life-changing difference in Houston and beyond, and this transformative gift clearly positions that dream to become a reality.”

Both Humana and the University of Houston expect that the partnership will yield abundant opportunities for collaboration, including: 

  • Adjunct professorships and teaching opportunities for Humana subject matter experts
  • Opportunities to partner in shaping curricula in a wide range of topics, including value-based payment, home-based care, population health, data analytics and more
  • Partnership on research and publications
  • The establishment of value-based care clinic labs for University of Houston health sciences students and medical residents
  • Internships and rotation programs to provide practical experience

The partnership will also build a talent pipeline of graduates that believe in, train in and will practice population health.

“At Humana, we hold physicians and clinicians in high regard, and it is gratifying to be able to support their education, with an emphasis on the important trends that are shaping the practice of medicine today,” said Dr. Worthe Holt, vice president, Chief Medical Office, at Humana. “Working with the University of Houston’s health sciences colleges will enable us to further our integrated care delivery model and substantially advance the science of primary care. Our missions perfectly align, and we are thrilled to be establishing this strategic relationship.”

“We have a commitment to the underserved in Houston, in Texas, and beyond. Training our students in and exposing them to real-world practices in population health, clinical quality and new payment models will provide them with a tremendous opportunity to improve the health of our community,” said Dr. Steve Spann, Founding Dean of the University of Houston College of Medicine.

Humana currently employs approximately 2,800 people and serves more than 1.8 million medical members in the state of Texas. The College of Medicine is scheduled to admit thirty students in its inaugural class pending approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Legislature, and accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Humana’s gift contributes to the goal of raising $1 billion in the UH “Here, We Go” Campaign, the first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years in support of University priorities, including scholarships, faculty support, facilities and strengthening the university’s partnership with Houston and its healthcare community.

Eloise Brice, Vice President for University Advancement, noted, “This gift is perfect for the University and its trajectory to transform the lives of all in Houston and to transform the way higher education works with the business community on their strategic goals.”