As a part of the Museum by Night series, the Texas Tech Museum hosted the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center to celebrate its 50th anniversary on Thursday, March 28.
Students, faculty and members of the Lubbock community gathered to celebrate with different booths and simulations being presented by TTUHSC students.
Steven Berk, dean of the TTUHSC School of Medicine, said the medical school started with a lot of controversy. Many of the deans of other medical schools in Texas did not believe there could be a medical school so far west due to the low population.
“We didn’t have as dense a population or the research infrastructure,” Berk said. “Now, 50 years later, we are shoulder-to-shoulder with all the other Texas medical schools.”
Berk said the TTUHSC medical school sees about 180 students per year, which is larger than the average number of students other medical schools see in the country. They also have a high student-satisfaction rate and are one of the most inexpensive medical schools in the U.S.
The celebration is not only about the success of the medical school over the past 50 years, but also to celebrate the pioneers who had the idea that a medical school could thrive in Lubbock, Berk said. The other colleges within TTUHSC are also celebrating 50 years, even though they didn’t start at the same time the medical school did.
Although many people from the community were invited to the event, few may take the time to appreciate the 50-year history. Berk said he believes the exhibit's set-up helped to explain the history in-depth in order for participants to get a better understanding.
“It’s one of those times when everyone from all of the schools is getting together, which is very rare for the Health Sciences Center,” Berk said. “Celebrating the Health Sciences Center is important especially because they are all together.
Sharon Decker, executive director for the simulation program for TTUHSC, said the many simulations, simulators and technologies set up at the event were to display how technology is being utilized in healthcare and the advancements they has made over the last 50 years.
Students were able to display their work through these technologies, such as mannequins being able to present real-life health statistics and perform human functions like breathing and bleeding.
Decker said most of the community has very little understanding of what has changed in education. She believes it to be technologically driven, which is what the community wants more of.
“I would love for people to take away that not only is it the technology, but also how to teach properly with the technology,” Decker said. “If our faculty do not have the skills to teach with it, you’re not going to have the outcomes that you want.”
Dr. Tedd Mitchell, TTUHSC president and Tech System chancellor, said the timing of this event was not only good to celebrate the 50th anniversary, but also to showcase everything TTUHSC does through its five schools on campus.
This event was a great way to feature everything each of the schools does, he said.
Opportunities like this event are why Mitchell said it is important to celebrate things such as anniversaries. It not only showcases the impact TTUHSC is having in Lubbock, but is also able to tell their story.
“We have a Health Sciences Center with programs that are nationally ranked, but many people in the community don’t even know about it,” Mitchell said. “I hope this helps (people) understand not only that we produce great healthcare providers, but also that the Health Sciences Center as a business entity is a really important part of the Lubbock economy.”