The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has announced Dr. Timothy J. Benton as the Regional Dean of the Permian Basin Campus, effective September 15. Benton, who had served as interim regional dean since May, was also named Jan & Ted Roden Endowed Mr. President, a decision that took effect on September 1.
The Jan & Ted Roden Chair was established in 1999 to enhance and support the Regional Dean of the Permian Basin Campus School of Medicine.
“I am delighted that Dr. Benton is taking on this new leadership role,” TTUHSC President Lori Rice-Spearman said in a press release. “He understands the healthcare needs of the Permian Basin and his innovative approaches have dramatically improved access to comprehensive care not only for those who live in this region, but can serve as role models nationally as well. The TTUHSC has much to offer our faculty and students, and Dr. Benton will play a pivotal role as we strive to transform healthcare through innovation and collaboration.
Benton received his medical degree in 1994 from the TTUHSC School of Medicine and completed his family medicine residency at the University of Texas Health Center in Tyler. In 2005, he joined TTUHSC’s medical school in Amarillo, where he served as associate director of the residency program before becoming program director. He was awarded a Keck School of Medicine Faculty Development Fellowship with the University of Southern California in 2006.
In 2012, Benton was recruited from the Permian Basin campus to serve as the regional director of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He immediately focused his attention on the residency program and expanding patients’ access to primary care. His efforts have helped the department grow from six faculty members to nearly 20 and have increased the number of annual patient visits from about 18,000 to 22,000 per year.
“I persuaded Dr. Benton to move from Amarillo to the Permian Basin in 2012 to take on the post of regional president,” said the dean of the medical school, Dr. Steven Berk, in a press release. “Dr. Benton’s leadership abilities are excellent, complimenting his exceptional skills as a physician and teacher and his values in West Texas.
Under Benton’s leadership, the Permian Basin’s family medicine residency program has also grown from six positions per year to 16 for a total of 48 medical residents, an achievement that was highlighted in the edition of April 2021 from Texas Medicine magazine. He also helped develop a rural residency training program with Andrews, Fort Stockton, Pecos and Sweetwater, TX, and Carlsbad and Hobbs, NM, will join the program in the near future.
In addition, he has developed many community health care collaborations with UT Permian Basin and Odessa College, Ector County Health Department, Permian Basin Community Center Clinic and others. He is also currently the Associate Health Authority for Ector County.
Benton worked to create an active working relationship with Midland Memorial Hospital and Medical Center Hospital and helped orchestrate an inpatient scholarship program. He also helped the department successfully apply for a $ 3 million 1115 waiver grant that reimburses hospitals for the unpaid care they provide to uninsured patients and funds innovative healthcare projects, often related to mental health services, which are available to low-income Texans.