July 8, 2021
In 2014, we hired Dr. Clay Johnston, an internationally renowned neurologist, to be the inaugural dean of Dell Medical School and UT’s first Vice President of Medical Affairs. Since then, Dean Johnston has shown himself to be a pioneer of health care transformation, leading Dell Med from being a startup to a standout.
Today, I’m writing to share that Clay is stepping down from his roles after more than seven years at the helm. When he accepted the job, Clay told stakeholders he wanted to create “a school that represents what we want health to be — what we want health education to be — in the next century.” Under Clay’s leadership, this goal has become something we’re now realizing every day. Please join me in thanking Clay for sharing his talent and vision, and for his trailblazing role in crafting the first chapters of our unique medical school’s journey!
I want to also thank our many generous donors — including the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Mulva Family Foundation, the Livestrong Foundation, and the Wong family, as well as our partners at Central Health and Ascension Seton — who have accelerated Dell Med’s progress and impact. Today, more than 2,700 students, residents, fellows, faculty members and staff members call our medical school home. Dell Med has collaborated with campus partners on a wide range of innovative programs, including its Department of Health Social Work and the Design Institute for Health. Additionally, more than $72 million in research awards support 92 investigators working on 198 research projects.
Of course, some of our biggest supporters include the taxpayers of Travis County, who in 2012 took the unprecedented step of voting to invest $35 million annually in Dell Med. I’m proud to say it’s an investment that’s paying dividends. Today, nearly 200 medical students and a host of innovative programs are propelling the school’s mission to revolutionize how people become and stay healthy. In addition, 346 residents are providing 700,000 hours of care each year in every part of our community. UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Med, has played a vital role in the community, including visible and important work in helping shape our region’s pandemic response.
Although Clay is not yet ready to announce his next move, I’m very pleased he’ll be staying on in the short term to help ensure a smooth transition. I’ll communicate more soon regarding interim plans and timing for a national search for new leadership. Clay leaves big shoes to fill, but Dell Med will continue to focus on excellence and innovation in research, education and clinical care, as well as its mission and commitment to serve those within the community who are most in need. Additionally, an important part of Clay’s legacy is our continued dedication to health transformation — the idea that Dell Med isn’t just focused on delivering health care, but on transforming our entire approach to health. This dedication plays out across Dell Med and is influencing UT Austin and broader society — in clinics, in the community, and beyond. Truly, we’ve started something here that is changing the world.
Thank you, Clay, for making such a positive contribution to UT Austin, Dell Med, and countless others.