About UH Health Initiatives

UH Health Initiatives: Education, Research, Community Engagement


UHS campuses on the Texas coastHealthcare is the largest and fastest-growing industry in Texas, employing 1.3 million workers in more than 200 careers. The number of healthcare jobs in the state is expected to grow 44% between 2008 and 2018. The U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted in March 2010 will add up to 6 million citizens to the ranks of insured Texans, likely accelerating the health workforce needs of the state well beyond these data.

About 50% of healthcare jobs are in ambulatory healthcare services such as physicians' offices and outpatient care centers. Hospitals employ about 40% of healthcare workers and about 8% work in nursing and residential care facilities. The healthcare industry of the Texas Gulf Coast region employed more than 282,000 workers in 2009. A net gain of 4,300 new healthcare jobs was created in 2009 despite a global economic recession. By 2016, one in every seven new jobs is expected to be in the healthcare industry.

The UH System, including the University of Houston, UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown, and UT-Victoria, is preparing students for high-quality careers in the healthcare sector. The campuses of the UH System span the 20 counties of the Texas Gulf Coast and Golden Crest workforce development areas. As of 2010, the region was home to about 6 million people, or 24.7% of Texas’ 24.3 million residents. The regional population is expected to grow to 7.7 million by 2030.

Health-Related Education Programs

In 2009, the four universities of the UH System awarded 2,401 bachelor's, 845 master's, 87 doctoral, and 216 professional degrees in health-related fields. Close to one-third of the total degrees awarded by the UH System are in a health-related field.

Types health careers

Primary healthcare providers work directly with patients to detect, diagnose, and treat diseases, injuries, or health-related conditions. These professions, including medicine, nursing, optometry, dentistry, pharmacy, speech-language pathology, physical therapy, social work, and many others, typically require an advanced degree from an accredited education program or professional school and licensing or certification from a state agency or professional organization.

The UH System awards accredited degrees (bachelor's and higher), with exemplary pass-rates on Board exams, in optometry, pharmacyclinical psychology, education psychologyspeech-language pathologynursing, social work, behavioral analysis, family therapy, and nutrition. The UH System also awards the majority of pre-health professions bachelor's degrees in the Texas Gulf Coast, such as biological sciences, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and health education.

Healthcare managers develop, manage, and oversee healthcare organizations. Ambulatory care centers, hospitals, and residential care facilities employ large numbers of medical and health service managers, health information specialists, and other professionals with specialized knowledge in healthcare systems. Healthcare managers typically hold bachelor's and/or master's degrees in business, healthcare administration, computer sciences, information technology, health law, etc. The UH System awards the majority of these degrees in the region. 

Health and biomedical researchers typically work in universities, research laboratories, industry, and government agencies. Biomedical scientists, population researchers, and health educators apply principles of basic and applied science to advance disease prevention and health promotion as well as diagnosis and treatment of health conditions. Other professions in this category include environmental scientists, biomedical engineers, and biotechnologists. UH awards doctorates in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, social psychology, biomedical engineering, social work, and environmental sciences.

*Refers to the expected numbers of new jobs in the field in the Texas Gulf Coast region, 2016.

Health-Related Research

Image of Brain CellsThe University of Houston has total annual research expenditures approaching $100 million per year. More than half of UH research dollars are spent in health-related fields such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, genomics, proteomics, visual sciences, nanotechnology, and drug discovery. More than half of UH's health-related research expenditures are federally funded.

  • UH investigators hold 126 active NIH awards, 53 of them investigator-initiated, R01 grants.
  • Among Texas universities without a medical school, UH is second only to the University of Texas-Austin in total annual funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • UH is second only to Baylor College of Medicine in annual awards to Texas institutions from the NIH National Eye Institute. UH ranks fifth in the state in annual awards from the NIH National Institute for Child Health and Human Development.