By John Egan
Houston's status as an international medical hub makes it an attractive place for medical conventions.
Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest medical complex. The center comprises 55 institutions, employs about 106,000 people and hosts about $3.6 billion worth of medical research.
At 1,345 acres, the Texas Medical Center ranks as the eighth largest business district in the U.S. In 2008, its economic impact was a whopping $14 billion. According to the Houston Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Texas Medical Center's economic power is on par with that of the medical facilities of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Emory University in Atlanta.
"If the Texas Medical Center were an industrial complex, it would be listed in the Fortune 500," economist Bill Gilmer has said.
Here are a few facts and figures that help underscore the Texas Medical Center's - and Houston's - position as a medical powerhouse:
- More than 7.2 million patients visit the Texas Medical Center each year. That includes an average of 16,000 visits a year by international patients.
- About 171,000 surgeries are performed annually at the Texas Medical Center.
- The Texas Medical Center employs about 106,000 people. That exceeds the headcount for Apple, ExxonMobil and Google.
- The daytime population of the Texas Medical Center can swell to as many as 70,000 medical professionals, support staff, students and patients.
- About 5,700 researchers, 5,000 doctors and 15,000 nurses work at the Texas Medical Center. The center draws "some of the world's finest medical talent," the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says.
- Thanks in large part to the Texas Medical Center, health care accounts for one in every 10 jobs in the Houston region, according to the Greater Houston Partnership, and 9.5 percent of local payroll in 2013, or $15.9 billion.
- Several Texas Medical Center institutions rank highly on U.S. News & World Report's annual Best Hospitals list. They include Houston Methodist Hospital, the Texas Medical Center location of CHI St. Luke's, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, The Menninger Clinic, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Texas Children's Hospital.
- The Texas Medical Center has performed more heart surgeries than anywhere else in the world. This includes the first successful heart transplant in the U.S.
As if the Texas Medical Center's medical prowess weren't enough, the center also supports health care startups.
The Texas Medical Center has teamed up with entrepreneurial nonprofit Village Capital for the VilCap USA program, designed to boost startups in the digital health arena. The program will be housed at the Texas Medical Center's 100,000-square-foot Innovation Institute, a converted cookie factory.
VilCap USA will complement the Texas Medical Center's TMCx business accelerator program. TMCx, which opened in October 2014 at the Innovation Institute, is the first step in the Texas Medical Center's long-term plans to become one of the world's top clusters for life science commercialization.
Also housed at the Innovation Institute is J-Labs @TMC, a 30,000-square-foot incubator that can nurture as many as 50 life science startups. J-Labs, backed by Johnson & Johnson, was unveiled in October 2014.
"As one of the top global biotechnology clusters, and home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, Houston is a flourishing life science hub in which we see great potential for an incubator to enable the talented scientists in the region to take their innovation to the next level," said Melinda Richter, head of J-Labs.
Learn more about the evolving Houston Convention District at visithouston.com/meetings