UTHealth’s new behavioral health center slated to open by 2022 - Houston Chronicle

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston wants to address shortages in health care services and become a top health science center by kicking off a new fundraising campaign, “Many Faces. One Mission.”

Starting today, the campaign aims to raise $500 million to address gaps in health care services in Houston and around the country. Since 2015, donors have donated more than $400 million in gifts and pledges toward the cause, a news release stated.

The campaign’s four pillars include advancing brain and behavioral health care with a $25 million pledge by the John S. Dunn Foundation; training the next generation of health professionals and addressing shortages in health professions; improving Houston’s overall health outcomes with collaborative research, promoting patient care and public health initiatives; and improving Houston’s mental health care services.

By 2033, there could be a U.S. doctor shortage of between 54,100 and 139,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The annual study projects shortfalls in primary care and specialty care in the tens of thousands.

The John S. Dunn Behavioral Sciences Center will be established “to support innovative behavioral health research, education and patient care,” the release stated. Plans for the center include a 264-bed behavioral health hospital for acute and sub-acute treatment adjacent to the UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center.

A joint project between UTHealth and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the new center is slated to open in early 2022. Once complete, it will be the first new public psychiatric hospital in Harris County in more than 30 years, as well as the largest academic psychiatric hospital in the country.