On Dec. 11, UTRGV and the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District laid the foundation for a pathway for local students to enter the healthcare field. The new partnership will lead to development of a curriculum, counseling and advisement to Harlingen High School of Health Professions students preparing to apply to UTRGV and its Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences program and the School of Medicine.
“This exciting new partnership helps expand our mission to build a robust workforce in the healthcare sector and increase the number of Rio Grande Valley students enrolled in medical school and health professions programs,” said Dr. John H. Krouse, executive vice president for Health Affairs and dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine. “This partnership will provide a pathway for local students who are interested in careers related to medicine and other health professions to train and practice here.”
Dr. Saraswathy Nair, chair of the UTRGV Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences, says the partnership details are being worked out. The program seeks for high school students who have interest in pursuing related professional to have a strong knowledge of the required science and mathematics.
Nair hopes this partnership also will help retain top-performing students who often leave the Valley to pursue postsecondary education. She also hopes that other students will become more competitive candidates for medical school and graduate programs in healthcare.
“We would like to retain some of them in the hope that they will choose to practice on the border and that there will be more access to healthcare, addressing health disparities,” she said. “The idea is really long term in improving health disparities in the area.”
The pipeline program will begin recruiting rising high school juniors in spring 2019. It expects to enroll approximately 20 students for its first cohort in the fall of 2019.
Art Cavazos, superintendent of the Harlingen CISD, says the district is looking forward to its partnership with UTRGV. It is also anticipating the opportunities for students it will create.
“In collaboration with UTRGV, we are creating a pipeline that will prepare students for matriculation into a postsecondary medical program,” Cavazos said. “The medical industry is one of the fastest-growing areas in the Valley, and HSHP was designed specifically with that in mind. This new program is just another way we continue to position our students at the front of the line for opportunities.”