UT System announces plans for a Rio Grande Valley Medical School

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By: Victoriano Trevino
Photo by Josue Esparza

 In a press conference held at the Regional Academic Health Center in Edinburg, the UT’s System Chancellor Fransisco G. Cigarroa announced plans to graduate South Texas’ first medical students in 2018.  Cigarroa stated, “We are beginning the transition of the UT Health Science Center – San Antonio Regional Academic Health Center—known as the RAHC – into an independent, freestanding, comprehensive and research intensive regional medical school with its own president and structure for South Texas.”
Chancellor Cigarroa’s theme in his press conference was embedded with the regional outreach this freestanding entity will be dedicated to.  He took pride in the difference of this model to others around the state.  This new model will serve a region and not a city.  The chancellor called this new facility the “model of the future.”  According to Chancellor Cigarroa, “The UT Board has invested 30 million into this project and 150 million is already paid for by our Texas Legislature.”  However, more collaboration between parties will be needed in order to increase funds.
The ambiance in the room was embraced with a vision of togetherness.  Chancellor Cigarroa stated, “We must emphasize concepts like team work and familia.  The importance of this medical school will serve in the role of economic development that will sustain future generations.”
The chancellor discussed the curriculum in brief detail.  The program will admit their first group of students in South Texas Admissions Track in 2014 and will study in San Antonio at the UT Health Science Center.  In 2016, they will return to the Rio Grande Valley and serve in their clerkships.  Chancellor Cigarroa stated, “We want to increase the physician workforce and expand the number of residents to stay here and work.”  Since the foundation of this new facility will serve its region, it is only fitting that these bright students will use the skills they learned and help the infrastructure of the Rio Grande Valley as doctors and stewards of the community.
According to University of Texas System’s website, by 2018 the freestanding medical school will:
•Increase the number of physicians and health professionals in South Texas
•Expand residency slots
•Expand and develop additional health science research and discoveries to improve health and attract research funding
•Promote technology transfer and commercialization to enhance economic development
University of Texas System, News, “UT System Announces Plans to Expand Medical Education as a Path to a Free-Standing Comprehensive Medical School in the Lower Rio Grande Valley,” Accessed on August 17th 2012, http://www.utsystem.edu/news/2012/08/17/ut-system-announces-plans-expand-medical-education-path-free-standing-comprehensive-.


[1] University of Texas System, News, “UT System Announces Plans to Expand Medical Education as a Path to a Free-Standing Comprehensive Medical School in the Lower Rio Grande Valley,” Accessed on August 17th 2012, http://www.utsystem.edu/news/2012/08/17/ut-system-announces-plans-expand-medical-education-path-free-standing-comprehensive-.

According to University of Texas System’s website, by 2018 the freestanding medical school will:
•Increase the number of physicians and health professionals in South Texas
•Expand residency slots
•Expand and develop additional health science research and discoveries to improve health and attract research funding
•Promote technology transfer and commercialization to enhance economic development
*University of Texas System, News, “UT System Announces Plans to Expand Medical Education as a Path to a Free-Standing Comprehensive Medical School in the Lower Rio Grande Valley,” Accessed on August 17th 2012, http://www.utsystem.edu/news/2012/08/17/ut-system-announces-plans-expand-medical-education-path-free-standing-comprehensive-.