Houston Benchmarking Trip ALLFostering collaboration between leaders, organizations and businesses is a key driving force in our Phoenix Forward economic development initiative, which helps individual businesses expand while also convening leaders to craft action plans to strengthen the initiative’s targeted industries. The success we’ve had so far with Phoenix Forward reaffirms the idea that collaboration combined with leadership produces results.

Recently I had the privilege of leading a coalition of 19 business and political leaders on a benchmarking trip to Texas Medical Center in Houston, where collaboration and leadership converge to create a world-class health care ecosystem. As our group spent three-jam packed days comparing Arizona’s health care and education facilities with those at TMC, I found instances where we are far ahead and I found places where we can reexamine how we do things here to improve our results.

To be clear, collaboration among the 56 hospitals, health care providers and educational institutions on the TMC campus isn’t just a suggestion. It’s an enviable requirement to set up shop there. TMC’s 12-member board has to vote new entities into the fold. And to partner with a collaborative health care organization that collectively sees 8 million patients a year, delivers 25,000 babies, employs 106,000 people and is home to both the world’s largest children’s and cancer hospitals, it is easily worth the price of admission. At TMC, the whole is undeniably greater than the sum of its parts.

A jewel among the organizations at the 135-acre TMC campus is DeBakey High School for Health Professions. The magnet school has 850 students who take college preparatory coursework. The school sends 98 percent of its graduates to four-year universities.

DeBakey High fits into the collaboration scheme particularly well because it provides its students several observational medical learning experiences in real hospitals during their career there. In addition, many DeBakey students attend University of Houston, which partners with Baylor College of Medicine. Baylor offers guaranteed acceptance to its medical program to ten U of H graduates who also graduated from DeBakey.

DeBakey High is just one example of how TMC’s absolute dedication to collaboration pays huge dividends.

A few other standouts on the TMC campus are the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science, which is highly interactive and works with DeBakey to provide targeted programming for students. Memorial Hermann Hospital operates ten mobile clinics on 70 campuses offering psychological, health care and dental care. It also has one of two Level I trauma centers that serve Houston. The other one, at Ben Taub General Hospital, is literally right next door. They share patients, moving them between the facilities to ensure that all patients receive optimal care.

TMC very successfully uses a collaborative model to drive its health care ecosystem. Leaders of several organizations there gather to tackle challenges together. I’d like to see even more of that approach employed here in Arizona.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming full report on the Chamber’s Houston benchmarking trip, which will provide further insights into the highlights and best practices gleaned from our trip.

Thank you to all the business and political leaders that crafted time out of their busy schedules to be a part of this trip.

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