TYLER, Texas (June 30, 2023) – Kevin P. Eltife, chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, is the recipient of the 2023 W.T. “Doc” Ballard Award for Excellence in Public Health. Presented by the Northeast Texas Public Health District, the award recognizes, among other accomplishments, Eltife’s leadership in establishing East Texas’ first school of medicine. 


Eltife has led the initiative to create the region’s only medical school and the seventh in the UT System since the intention to launch was announced in 2020. The UT Tyler School of Medicine has been met with outstanding support from elected officials and the East Texas community. 


“This community is exceptionally giving, and ‘Doc’ Ballard embodied that quality as well,” Eltife said. “I not only want this medical school to be a vehicle for better health for the community, but I also want to it to provide an amazing educational opportunity for East Texas students.” 


His passion for the medical school has been contagious and resulted in transformational gifts to provide four-year scholarships covering full tuition for the first two classes and help address mental health needs in East Texas. 


“This award recognizes those who have a made a commitment to enhancing the health of our community, and that perfectly describes Chairman Eltife,” said UT Tyler President Kirk A. Calhoun, MD, FACP, who received the award in 2013. “Our new School of Medicine would not have been possible without his leadership and tireless advocacy. We are dedicated to improving the health outcomes for our region and addressing the shortage of physicians essential to improving those outcomes for all East Texans.” 


The School of Medicine welcomed its first class of 40 students on June 26, and construction on the new $308 million Medical Education Building, which will house the school, began in January. 


With a mission to improve educational and health care outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT Tyler offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 10,000 students. Through its alignment with UT Tyler Health Science Center and UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has unified these entities to serve Texas with quality education, cutting-edge research and excellent patient care. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston. 

AUTHOR: John Berry
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