Ask Houstonians what they like most about living in Houston, and chances are, one of the things they’ll mention is medical care. From the world-renowned Texas Medical Center south of downtown to fine community hospitals in outlying areas, Houston boasts medical facilities and expertise second to none. The city’s hospitals are routinely ranked among the top in the nation, and many Houston doctors and surgeons are considered number one in their fields. With 5.5 million patient visits a year—many from outside the United States—the Texas Medical Center has 46 not-for-profit member institutions providing patient care, cutting-edge research, and education for medical and nursing students. Beyond its impact on health care, the Texas Medical Center is Houston’s largest single-site employer, with more than 73,000 employees. Hospitals include Memorial Hermann, the primary teaching hospital for the University of Texas Medical School in Houston and a Level I trauma center. Memorial Hermann Healthcare System operates hospitals in Katy, Fort Bend County, The Woodlands, Memorial City and the northwest, southeast and southwest areas of Houston. The Methodist Hospital, for sixty years the home of internationally acclaimed heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, is among the country’s top centers for otolaryngology, neurology/neurosurgery, ophthalmology, gynecology, heart surgery, psychiatry and urology. One of the top ten heart centers in the country, the Texas Heart Institute of St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System is where the first heart transplant in the United States was performed, thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Denton Cooley. St. Luke’s cares for more than half a million patients each year, and through an affiliation with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, patients have access to the expertise of more than 320 physicians in more than fifty specialties and subspecialties practicing at eighteen locations throughout the Houston area. Texas Children’s Hospital is internationally recognized for exceptional comprehensive care and trailblazing research. Consistently ranked among the nation’s top ten pediatric hospitals, Texas Children’s, in affiliation with Houston’s renowned Baylor College of Medicine, ranks first in National Institute of Health (NIH) research funding for pediatric hospitals, participating in more than four hundred groundbreaking research projects. The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is ranked as the nation’s top cancer hospital in U.S. News and World Report’s 2008 list of “America’s Best Hospitals” and has ranked as one of the top two hospitals for cancer care for nineteen years, since the magazine began its annual survey in 1990. Many of the advances that have pushed the combined five-year survival rate for all cancers to 66 percent were initiated at M. D. Anderson. Today its new Proton Therapy Center is making great strides in treating many types of cancer by directing highly targeted radiation to cancerous tissue while sparing healthy tissue.

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