Houston medical conference aims to be next OTC 

Dr. Robert Robbins, President of Texas Medical Center                 

With attendance down nearly 28 percent at this year's Offshore Technology Conference, the Texas Medical Center wants to take a health care conference in its third year and make it something the city's tourism industry can count on in years ahead.

Medical World Americas is a three-day conference starting May 18 that covers a broad variety of topics around health care and brings in experts from around the world. It has also prompted other health care-related conferences and events to co-locate in Houston at the same time, creating a whole week dedicated to health care.

MWA's counterpart, Medica, is an annual conference in Germany with more than 130,000 visitors from 120 countries. The program wanted to expand to North America and looked at Houston because of the TMC. Three years ago, Dr. Robert Robbins, CEO of the TMC, originally envisioned the conference to be Houston's next OTC within five years of its launch. It's taken a little longer, he admits, but still sees an opportunity to make it a staple of the city's convention schedule.

"I really believe that over the next four to five years as we get TMC3 opened and hopping, get more companies here, this will get Houston in the center of everybody's sights about where the hot new life science and medical cities are," he told the HBJ.

In its first two years, MWA had a $1.5 million economic impact on the Houston area and accounted for 1,200 hotel rooms, according to Houston First. While those numbers pale in comparison to the tens of thousands that attend OTC, which has been around much longer, MWA has had significant traction. While Houston has hosted medical conferences in the past, there haven't been as many as Houston First would have liked, despite health care being a major industry here.

"For whatever reason, in the past, we've not been able to crack that code as much as we'd like to," said Michael Heckman, senior vice president for Houston First Corp. "It's a great opportunity."

This year's keynote speaker is Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway as well as health care-related technologies. Around 2,500 medical professionals are expected to attend the conference, which will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, up from 2,300 last year, Heckman said.

Kamen's keynote represents an ongoing shift for MWA to focus more on health care commercialization, which has also been a major focus for Robbins in his tenure at the medical center.

"More and more, you're going to see this place become hotter in terms of biotech and the translation of fundamental commercialization of products. The meeting is going to need to change to reflect that," Robbins said.

Source: Houston Business Journal


Posted by Saskia Pardaans May 23, 2016 Categories: Health

The largest medical centre of the world is the Texas Medical Center in Houston 

106.000 employees, 7.2 million anual visitors at 1345 hectare.

Texas Medical Center


Forbes: If random Americans were surveyed about what they thought was the nation’s–and world’s–largest medical center, they might have predictable answers. Among the guesses would be the Cleveland Clinic or the Mayo Clinic, or something out of America’s most culturally-notable cities, like New York-Presbyterian Hospital. But they would be wrong. The answer lies in a lesser-known center that sits within a city of underrated economic importance: the Texas Medical Center.

This facility–really a city within a city–sits about 3 miles south of downtown Houston, carving out its own skyline. TMC is the world’s largest life sciences destination, with 44 member institutions, 106,000 employees, and 7.2 million annual visitors, on a 1,345-acre campus.

TMC was founded in 1945, through a combination of private donations, namely from banker M.D. Anderson, and after the city designated 134 acres for a campus. The mission of the institution, which is run by the Texas Medical Center Corporation, was to cluster non-profit health facilities on behalf of advancing medical knowledge and care. It has stayed true to this, by leasing land to various institutions for 99 years at $1 annually. For these institutions, it acts as an umbrella organization, providing infrastructure and organizational support, but otherwise letting them function autonomously.

Included among the center’s facilities are hospitals, research and academic institutions, nursing programs, pharmacy schools, and a dental school. Some of the major ones include the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Children’s Hospital. Several major Texas universities have medical apparatuses within TMC, including UT, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Rice. The facilities sit densely together on a campus that includes privately-run streets, transit, and parking, and that mixes uses, giving it the feel of a big city downtown. The parking garages generate a large chunk of the revenue, with much of the rest coming from private philanthropy, including large donations by Ross Perot, T. Boone Pickens, and Clear Channel co-founder Lowry Mays. The corporation’s CEO is Robert Robbins, and the executive VP is Bill McKeon.

Recently, I sat down with McKeon, who was particularly interested in showing me TMC’s new ”Innovation Institute: Startup Accelerator.” On the eastern edge of campus, this facility provides space for private medical-based start-up companies to nurture their product, obtain financing, and look for markets to sell in. The Institute has an intense vetting process, but once it accepts a company, they get free office space without having to relinquish equity in return.

Posted by Saskia Pardaans December 17, 2015 Categories: Health