The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has announced Dr. Timothy J. Benton as regional dean for the Permian Basin campus, effective Sept. 15. Benton, who served as the interim regional dean since May, also was named the Jan & Ted Roden Endowed Chair, a move that took effect Sept. 1.
The Jan & Ted Roden Endowed Chair was established in 1999 to enhance and support the regional dean at the School of Medicine Permian Basin campus.
“I’m excited to have Dr. Benton serving in this new leadership role,” TTUHSC President Lori Rice-Spearman said in a news release. “He understands the health care needs of the Permian Basin, and his innovative approaches have significantly enhanced access to comprehensive care not only for those living in this region, but can also serve as models nationwide. TTUHSC has much to offer our faculty and students, and Dr. Benton will fill a pivotal role as we strive to transform health care through innovation and collaboration.”
Benton received his medical degree in 1994 from the TTUHSC School of Medicine and completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler. In 2005 he joined the TTUHSC School of Medicine faculty in Amarillo where he served as the associate residency program director before eventually becoming program director. He completed a faculty development fellowship from the Keck School of Medicine with the University of Southern California in 2006.
In 2012, Benton was recruited to the Permian Basin campus to serve as regional chair for the Department of Family and Community Medicine. He immediately focused his attention upon the residency program and expanding patient access to primary care. His efforts helped the department grow from six faculty members to nearly 20 and increased annual patient visits from approximately 18,000 to 22,000 per year.
“I persuaded Dr. Benton to move to the Permian Basin from Amarillo in 2012 to take the regional chair position,” School of Medicine Dean Dr. Steven Berk said in a news release. “Dr. Benton’s leadership abilities are excellent, complimenting his outstanding skills as a physician and teacher and his West Texas values.”
With Benton’s guidance, the Permian Basin’s family medicine residency program also expanded, growing from six positions a year to 16 for a total of 48 physician residents, an accomplishment that was highlighted in the April 2021 edition of Texas Medicine magazine. He also helped to develop a rural residency training program with Andrews, Fort Stockton, Pecos and Sweetwater, Texas, and Carlsbad and Hobbs, N.M., will join the program in the near future.
In addition, he developed numerous community health care collaborations with UT Permian Basin and Odessa College, the Ector County Health Department, the Permian Basin Community Center Clinic and others. He also currently serves as the Ector County associate health authority.
Benton has worked to create an active working relationship with Midland Memorial Hospital and Medical Center Hospital and helped to orchestrate a hospitalist fellowship program. He also aided the department in successfully applying for a $3 million 1115 Waiver Grant that reimburses hospitals for uncompensated care they provide to uninsured patients and funds innovative health care projects, often related to mental health services, that are available to low-income Texans.