DeBakey High School for Health Professions Celebrates 50 years
The Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1972. The first high school for health professions in the country, DeBakey High School for Health Professions will commemorate the anniversary with its annual Science Symposium on Friday, Oct. 28, featuring 50 alumni who will give presentations about their careers and several events coordinated by parents and alumni on Saturday, Oct. 29, including a gala at the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science.
“Baylor College of Medicine has been committed to the Houston community since we moved here in 1943, and that commitment extends beyond just caring for patients,” said Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor College of Medicine. “The establishment of the DeBakey High School for Health Professions, which then led to additional pipeline programs, speaks to our community outreach mission. Providing early exposure to STEM careers has made a significant impact on the career trajectory of DeBakey High School alumni over the past 50 years, and I look forward to seeing what the next 50 years will bring for the high school.”
Originally dubbed the Houston High School for Health Professions, the magnet school was created through a partnership between the Houston Independent School District and Baylor College of Medicine with the goal of combining traditional high school curriculum and health-focused subjects to increase interest and accessibility to health professions among high school students. In 1996, the high school was renamed the Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, carrying on the legacy of the revolutionary surgeon. DeBakey High School partners with various institutions in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center to provide its students with hands-on experience in clinical rotations, operating rooms and more.
“Being a part of a diverse community where students work hard and have access to amazing resources really sets the foundation for success in my future,” says Marrthella Diaz, a senior at DeBakey High School. “I think that’s one of the main things that makes this school so unique.”
As of 2022, DeBakey High School ranks No. 50 in national rankings, No. 18 among national magnet high schools, No. 7 among Texas high schools and No. 2 among HISD high schools, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings. Children at Risk also named DeBakey High School as the No. 1 high school in Houston and the No. 1 STEM school in Houston in 2020. More than 98% of DeBakey High School graduates are college bound and each graduating class earns more than $10 million in scholarships.
“Over the past 50 years Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions has provided an outstanding educational experience for students who are pursuing careers in health science and other STEM/STEAM fields,” said Agnes Perry, former principal of DeBakey High School for Health Professions. “Our mission, strong school culture, academic support system and student motivation have created a rewarding environment that has yielded positive student outcomes and student achievements. This is evident in the recognitions and awards we have garnered over the years at the local, state and national level for student growth and academic achievement.”
The DeBakey High School and Baylor College of Medicine partnership laid the foundation for Baylor pathway programs, which promote education leading toward careers in medicine and the health sciences beginning at the middle school level. Baylor’s roles in these programs are managed through its Center for Educational Outreach, led by Dr. Nancy Moreno. Other Baylor pathway program partner schools in HISD include the Baylor College of Medicine Biotech Academy at Rusk and the Baylor College of Medicine Academy at James D. Ryan Middle School. The Baylor pathway network also includes several Texas magnet school affiliates located primarily in south Texas. DeBakey High School also has a sister campus in Qatar, whose curriculum was modeled after the Houston campus.
“DeBakey High School is a national model of how to inspire and prepare learners for successful careers in science and health,” Moreno said. “This institution also demonstrates the power and value of longstanding community partnerships.”