TTU System Officials Discuss Exceptional Item Funding Requests Before Texas Senate Finance Committee

TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange makes case for the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine and other higher-education initiatives for West Texas

Leaders from the Texas Tech University System traveled to the Texas State Capitol on Feb. 13 to present their funding priorities to the Senate Finance Committee. These priorities included exceptional item requests for initiatives meant to solve critical challenges facing our region and state.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A, discussed the importance of funding support for the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine, TTUHSC El Paso’s exceptional request.

“I’m grateful to both legislative bodies for recognizing the severe and chronic lack of oral health services in El Paso and West Texas. And I genuinely thank you for addressing the need by providing funds in the base bill, which combined with $31 million raised in philanthropic support, will allow us the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine,” President Lange said in his presentation to the committee.

President Lange then advocated for an institution not a part of the TTU System.

“My final request isn’t in your presentation – it’s going to be a little unusual – and it’s support for UTEP’s pharmacy school, their exceptional item,” President Lange said at the end of his presentation, noting that UTEP administrators did not know he would be advocating for their exceptional item. “UTEP recruits and educates pharmacy students from our community who understand the cultural language and barriers of our population. And my medical students and my residents participate in inter-professional education with UTEP pharmacy students.  So, it’s clearly good for El Paso and the region.”

86th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature opened on Jan 8, 2019 and is scheduled to end on May 27, 2019.

The 86th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature opened in Austin on Jan 8, 2019 and is scheduled to end on May 27, 2019.

President Lange added that he hopes this demonstrates how Texas Tech approaches issues in West Texas.

“We identify needs, garner community support, political representatives, and then address the need,” President Lange said. “And we tend to collaborate with other institutions of higher education. We don’t try to suppress them. We don’t try to get in their way. Because what we try to do is improve the education, the economy and the health of our community.

“A dental school in El Paso, a mental health initiative in Lubbock, a student success enhancement initiative in San Angelo and a veterinary school in Amarillo are important for our region,” President Lange said. “These independent requests from separate institutions in geographically separate regions of West Texas – they all address real needs.”