It’s in Houston, Texas, and is visited by 160,000 people every day

If someone asked you to identify where the world’s largest concentration of hospitals, physicians, and medical research institutions is located, would you know that answer? It is the Texas Medical Center (TMC), and it packs a remarkable number of healthcare providers into a very small neighborhood near downtown Houston.

This mass of hospitals, office-based physicians, and other healthcare providers may also make the Texas Medical Center one of the world’s biggest collection of medical laboratories and anatomic pathology practices. Without question, this is dream territory for sales reps who market clinical laboratory testing and anatomic pathology services.

The numbers tell a remarkable tale. Located about two miles southwest of downtown Houston, the Texas Medical Center is home to 49 member institutions and includes:

  • 14 hospitals with about 6,800 beds
  • 21 academic institutions
  • 6 nursing schools
  • 3 medical schools

Texas Medical Center Is the Size of Chicago’s Inner-Loop

The Texas Medical Center’s 33.8 million gross square feet of patient care, education and research space is equivalent to the commercial office space in the 12th largest business district in the United States. It sits on just over 1,000 acres, an area which is approximately the size of Chicago’s famous “Loop.”

This photo shows the Texas Medical Center complex that includes hospitals, physician office buildings and related healthcare facilities. The high-rise office buildings of downtown Houston can be seen at the top of this photo. (photo from

This photo shows the Texas Medical Center complex that includes hospitals, physician office buildings and related healthcare facilities. The high-rise office buildings of downtown Houston can be seen at the top of this photo. (photo from

A small city of people come into the Texas Medical Center every day, as the statistics demonstrate:

  • 20,000 physicians, advanced-degreed professionals, scientists, and researchers are employed in the TMC
  • 93,000 people work within the Texas Medical Center
  • 160,000 visitors per day come into the TMC
  • 6 million patient visits annually
  • 153,000 surgeries per year
  • 28,000 babies delivered every 12 months

These are eye-popping numbers! It is why the TMC has an annual regional economic impact of $14 billion and about $1.8 billion is spent each year on research within the Texas Medical Center.

“Nothing in the world is close to the size of the Texas Medical Center,” Richard Wainerdi, TMC President, CEO and Chief Operating Officer, stated in an article in Modern Healthcare.

According to Wainerdi, other cities may have comparable healthcare operations spread out across the region, but it is TMC’s centralized structure that creates unique opportunities for cooperation and collaboration that are difficult to replicate.

Ron Girotto agreed. “It’s an icon. There’s nothing like this in the world,” stated the President and CEO of Methodist Health System, in the Modern Healthcare article. Girotto went on to note that it is not unusual for nationally known researchers to be working with multiple organizations within the center and with one another. “When you aggregate all of these medical assets… you get all this cross-pollination,” he observed.

TMC is also home to schools of dentistry, public health, pharmacy, and virtually all health-related careers, according to More than 71,000 students study within this area each year. It was one of the nation’s first air emergency service centers, and it remains the largest. More heart surgeries are performed at the Texas Medical Center than anywhere else in the world.

Cotton Trader Monroe Dunaway (M. D.) Anderson Was Early Benefactor

What is now the world-renowned medical mega-center started out as a dream of providing quality healthcare to people from all walks of life, according to TMC’s website. The concept for the center was the brainchild of banker and cotton trader, Monroe Dunaway Anderson, and the trustees of the M. D. Anderson Foundation.

The philanthropist wanted to use his money to help mankind. He and his trustees came up with the idea of building a great medical center that would deliver quality healthcare for the average person, as explained on the website of the Texas Medical Center.

In addition to M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Wikipedia identifies other academic and research health institutions at TMC that include:

In addition to its reputation for medical expertise, TMC also boasts its own power company and even has an orchestra. Physicians, dentists, nurses, medical students, scientists and other allied health professionals comprise the bulk of the instrumentalist group. Its mission is “to provide a fellowship in both music and medicine for its members, to contribute culturally to the community and to help raise funds for medical and other local charities through its concerts,” the Modern Healthcare article stated.

It is no coincidence that some of the most innovative research in clinical laboratory testing and anatomic pathology originates from institutions within the Texas Medical Center. As noted above, the concentration of all this medical and scientific expertise into a relatively small neighborhood makes it possible for pathologists, Ph.D.s, and clinical laboratory professionals to interact closely with each other and with clinicians.

—Pamela Scherer McLeod


Related Information:

A Texas standout: ‘It’s an icon’: Medical center is the world’s largest

For more about the Texas Medical Center:

Facts and Figures about the Texas Medical Center

Wikipedia on the Texas Medical Center

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