Houston’s DeBakey High School for Health Professions (DHSHP) was established in 1972 as a partnership between the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). The first school of its kind in the nation, DHSHP was designed to increase opportunities for all students to access careers in medicine, science and the health professions. In the fall of 1996, the Houston Independent School District Board of Education honored Dr. Michael E. DeBakey by naming the school after him. DHSHP has grown from 45 students attending classes in BCM facilities to a current enrollment of approximately 850 students in grades nine through twelve. The DHSHP campus is a modern, freestanding building in the Texas Medical Center, built in 1979 at a cost of $7.1 million. A $2 million renovation was completed in 1994. The DHSHP campus is projected to be in a new $65 million, 21st Century State of the Art facility in 2016 that will be located in the center of the Texas Medical Center.
DHSHP is recognized as one of the strongest college preparatory high schools in Texas. DHSHP’s mission is to provide a challenging, well balanced college preparatory program which focuses on educational experiences in science and the health professions and furthers an understanding and appreciation of our diverse community. Over the past 44 years, DHSHP has successfully introduced, and when necessary, revised an innovative magnet school model and a rigorous, specialized health and science based pre-college curriculum offering direct exposure to careers in medicine and the sciences. Approximately 1,200 students apply for admission to the school annually and 250 are selected. Student selection is based upon interest in health sciences, previous academic performance, standardized test scores, conduct, and attendance. The current DHSHP student body reflects the ethnic diversity of the overall HISD student population: 16.2% African-American, 44.1% Asian, 28.6% Hispanic, 0.2% Indian and 10% White. Forty seven percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. DHSHP students are acknowledged annually for maintaining the highest average daily attendance of all HISD high schools.
DHSHP attracts students who are dedicated to their studies and who have demonstrated high academic achievement, as evidenced by the numerous state and national awards the school has garnered. In 1984, DHSHP received the Outstanding Vocational Education Program Award from the U.S. Department of Education. DHSHP also has received awards for academic and program excellence from the Texas Education Agency (1994 - 2012), the Office of the Mayor of Houston (1994, 1995), HISD (1994 - 1998) and the Texas Governor’s Committee for Educational Excellence (1990). DHSHP has the distinction of being the only high school in the Houston area to receive the Texas Education Agency’s “Exemplary School Award” for twenty years. In 2006-2012, DHSHP students scored 100% on all sub tests of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Test (TAKS). In 1998 and 2003, DHSHP was designated as a U. S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School, one of only 166 schools in the United States to receive such an honor. In 1999, it was named a New American High School, one of only seven high schools in the nation to be so recognized. Again in 2003 and 2009, the U.S. Department of Education named DHSHP a “No Child Left Behind” Blue Ribbon Award School. In 2004, the National Association of Secondary Schools Principals recognized DHSHP as a “Breakthrough High School” and the International Center of International Center of Leadership Education recognized DHSHP as a “National Model School”. Most recently DHSHP was designated a Title 1 Distinguished High Performance School by the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation, Number 1 High School and Number 1 STEM High School in the Houston area, and is a Texas Education Agency 2014 High Performance Reward School and High Progress Reward School.
In recent years, the DHSHP graduating class averages over 32 million dollars in scholarship offers. To date, 6,163 students have graduated from the DHSHP, and more than 99% of these students have accessed post-secondary education. A survey of 2,048 DHSHP graduates from 1975 to 1992 indicated that more than 57% of DHSHP graduates had achieved career objectives consistent with the purposes of the school (i.e., careers in the health professions, medicine or science).
Today, DHSHP serves as a national model and assists other school districts to establish similar health professions programs. DHSHP has three sister campuses in Texas: in Mercedes, Corpus Christi and Laredo. These schools share a common vision and curricular philosophy, and have impacted positively the educational and career access of students from South Texas who are interested in pursuing careers in health and medicine. In 2008, the Supreme Education Council of Qatar requested a branch campus of DHSHP be established in Doha to provide a US curriculum for their students in order for the students to matriculate into the US universities established in Doha.10/2014