Background: The academy movement developed in the United States as an important approach to enhance the educational mission and facilitate the recognition and work of educators at medical schools and health science institutions.
Objectives: Academies initially formed at individual medical schools. Educators and leaders in The University of Texas System (the UT System, UTS) recognized the academy movement as a means both to address special challenges and pursue opportunities for advancing the educational mission of academic health sciences institutions.
Methods: The UTS academy process was started by the appointment of a Chancellor's Health Fellow for Education in 2004. Subsequently, the University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education (UTAHSE) was formed by bringing together esteemed faculty educators from the six UTS health science institutions.
Results: Currently, the UTAHSE has 132 voting members who were selected through a rigorous, system-wide peer review and who represent multiple professional backgrounds and all six campuses. With support from the UTS, the UTAHSE has developed and sustained an annual Innovations in Health Science Education conference, a small grants program and an Innovations in Health Science Education Award, among other UTS health science educational activities. The UTAHSE represents one university system's innovative approach to enhancing its educational mission through multi- and interdisciplinary as well as inter-institutional collaboration.
Conclusions: The UTAHSE is presented as a model for the development of other consortia-type academies that could involve several components of a university system or coalitions of several institutions.
Keywords: Health Science Education; Innovations Conference; academy; consortium; faculty development.