Houston, the home of the World's largest medical center, is getting bigger.

The Texas Medical Center in Houston is in the midst of the largest expansion in its 60-year history, with planned projects through 2014 totaling more than $7 billion, officials announced this month. The center's square footage is already greater than the square footage of downtown El Paso, Fort Worth and San Antonio combined.

According to U.S. Census projections, Houston's population is estimated to grow by two million residents in the next two decades and the medical center's planned growth is keeping pace with the city's future needs. The construction of new hospitals, clinics, research labs and other facilities is projected to create 30,000 more jobs over the next seven years, which will include high-paying quality jobs.

The newly passed amendment this month to the Texas State constitution to create and fund the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to the tune of $300 million a year for 10 years will be a boon to Houston's reknowned and burgeoning research and medical community.

The State constitutional amendment releasing $3 billion for cancer prevention and research in Texas holds great promise for further economic development in Houston as well as future medical breakthroughs. Experts say every time you bring in a new Ph.D. scientist - a primary investigator - that individual will hire 15 to 25 people for his or her lab. Some would be technicians with bachelor’s degrees, others would be Ph.D.s at the beginning of careers who are being mentored by the scientist. In addition, pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies will be locating to Houston when institute grants result in medical breakthroughs.

Texas has been building its future on five key economic sectors:

  • biotechnology and life sciences

  • aerospace and defense

  • energy

  • advanced technology and manufacturing

  • communications technology

The institute would be an inspired addition to the state’s already impressive cluster of biotechnology assets and a wise investment in economic development as well as putting Texas and Houston in the spotlight for the rest of the world.

Texas' commitment to investing in research has been reeling in the Biotech Industry With more than 400 public research centers scattered throughout the state, it has a formidable scientific research base. Most notable is the Texas Medical Center in Houston, the world's largest medical complex.
Physicians are flocking to Texas, thanks, in part, to the 2003 tort reform that limits malpractice lawsuit awards. Houston's M.D. Anderson and other well-known medical institutions hold national top 10 rankings in their respective areas of specialization, which also plays a role in boosting the Healthcare-Related Sector in Houston. Each doctor is like a small business, needing staff, suppliers and professional services. The Texas Medical Association estimates that each new doctor would employ five people and contribute $600,000 a year to the economy. About 2,250 license applications from doctors in other states who want to relocate their practices here await processing at the Texas Medical Board in Austin. With the current population growing and projected population growth into the future, an increased number of physicians and health-related services and supporting technology will be necessary to the community, especially as the Texas population grows and ages along with the baby boom generation. Demand will continue for workers in these service areas since the baby-boomers are getting to the age that require such services.