Alongside incoming residents, these new physicians are poised to contribute to better access to care in Central Texas and beyond.
AUSTIN, Texas — Jameson Tieman didn’t take the typical path into medicine. After graduating from college with degrees in history and Russian, Tieman thought he was headed to law school. Then he started moonlighting as a part-time custodian at Integral Care — and found a new calling.
“I was working night shifts, scrubbing toilets and mopping floors but also watching and listening closely to the employees who worked directly with patients,” said Tieman, who eventually worked his way up to assistant supervisor of the facility, which provides mental health services to people without private insurance and access to care in Austin and Travis County. “I saw them caring for people at the most vulnerable times in their lives, and I knew I wanted to be in that role.”
Today, Tieman is one of 47 members of the 2021 graduating class of Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. He was selected by his classmates to be the keynote student speaker at the virtual commencement ceremony taking place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, which will include graduates taking the Hippocratic Oath together.
“Integral Care’s 15th Street location sits right across from where Dell Medical School is now,” said Tieman, who will soon embark on a residency in emergency medicine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. “So, I watched UT build Dell Med from the ground up. I hesitate to use terms like ‘destiny’ or ‘kismet,’ but it felt like the right time — and the right place — to fulfill a dream I never realized I had.”
Tieman, who will graduate with both an M.D. and an MBA, is among 70% of Dell Med’s graduates who earned dual degrees during their four years as students — part of the school’s innovative Leading EDGE curriculum. The program affords an “Innovation, Leadership and Discovery” block to complete a distinction project or a dual degree during each student’s third year.
A Historic Medical School Experience
Hannah Kay said spending nearly half of her medical education in the middle of a global pandemic has given her a perspective she never expected.
“I'm grateful for the way our school and students worked together to make meaning out of the pandemic by working as volunteers, conducting research, and basically pivoting our education to address a literal pandemic,” said Kay, who is headed to the University of North Carolina for a residency in urology. “The fact that it happened during my medical school years has made for an incredible learning opportunity and has absolutely changed how I will enter my career in medicine.”
The commencement ceremony comes just two months after all Dell Med graduates learned that they successfully “matched” to residency programs across the country. Nearly one-third of graduates will stay in Texas for their residencies, including eight who will continue their training as new physicians at Dell Med.
About 40% will enter primary care fields including internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology. That’s integral to addressing the shortage of primary care physicians in the U.S., which is expected to grow to as much as 55,200 by 2032.
Enhancing Care for Central Texans
As Dell Med sends this graduating class to medical institutions across the country, it will also welcome 103 new physicians pursuing medical residencies, increasing health care access to underserved communities in the Travis County area.
“Our residents improve access to high-quality patient care here in Travis County, filling some of the most critical gaps in the safety net system,” said Sue Cox, M.D., executive vice dean of academics and chair of the Department of Medical Education at Dell Med. “With the incoming group of residents, our community will continue to benefit from the investment it made back in 2012 in voting to create the medical school.”
Dell Med works with Ascension Seton and more than 60 other hospitals and clinics to provide formative clinical experiences for doctors in training. In 2012, 218 medical residents were providing care in local clinics and hospitals. That number has since grown to 346 in 2021 — a 59% increase.
Next month, Dell Med will welcome the Class of 2025 — another cohort of future physician leaders who will embody the mission to revolutionize how people get and stay healthy.
“This is a school filled with folks that signed up for a shared dream — people who were willing to eschew well-established institutions for one whose walls hadn’t even been built yet,” said Tieman. “The school’s stock only continues to grow, but our identity remains the same: A desire to do the right thing rather than the easy thing, to give back to the community, and to lift each other up.”