2021 Advocate of the Year Award


Paul Detwiler, M.D.

UT Health Tyler

Paul Detwiler, M.D., is the chair of the board of trustees of UT Health Tyler. He displays contagious enthusiasm, commitment, influence and integrity, and most importantly, he has been integral to the development of the positive culture at UT Health East Texas.

In addition to chairing the board, Dr. Detwiler is on the medical staff at UT Health Tyler, a 500-bed tertiary, level 1 trauma center. He is on the front lines with providers and staff, caring for his patients and advocating for caregivers. He visits with the UT Health team daily, asking, “how can I help you today?”

Dr. Detwiler has been instrumental in identifying and implementing over $2 million in annual supply cost reductions. His steady leadership and caregiver advocacy quelled many of the immense challenges brought about by the COIVD-19 pandemic, and even February’s “snowmageddon” saw Dr. Detwiler in the hospital, on the floors, checking on staff and peers, and volunteering to support any action needed to ensure the safety of patients and caregivers.

His relationships with hospital staff and his commitment to advocating for access to high-quality healthcare exemplifies his leadership and support of UT Health caregivers and the East Texas community. Dr. Detwiler’s tireless advocacy to improve and extend healthcare services and medical education in East Texas serves as a model and inspiration for trustees.

On February 27, 2020, The University of Texas announced a new medical school in Tyler. Working with state legislators, The University of Texas Health Science Center, The University of Texas Board of Regents and various foundations, Dr. Detwiler was instrumental in developing the vision and the funding for this endeavor. For example, Dr. Detwiler surveyed medical schools across the country to help to develop a funding plan for the medical school. His efforts culminated in over $80 million in pledges to the new school, including the largest ever seed grant for the establishment of a medical school in Texas.

The University of Texas Medical School in Tyler is projecting that the first class of students will launch in 2023. The program will focus on the education of primary care physicians while incentivizing new doctors to practice in rural East Texas communities. The economic impact of this school is estimated to be $2 billion annually and eventually will add 18,000 local jobs.

Dr. Detwiler is a neurosurgeon trained at one of the top programs in the world, the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. He chairs the Physician Leadership Council – a group of physicians representing primary specialties who meet monthly to discuss hospital operations – at UT Health Tyler. Dr. Detwiler serves as the Chair of the Physician Roundtable of Ardent Health Services, which brings physicians together from hospitals across the country. Dr. Detwiler began his 3rd year as Chairman of UT Health Tyler in July 2020.