UTRGV School of Medicine Update


UTRGV School of Medicine Update

Local healthcare leaders give UTRGV School of Medicine update to state legislators

Panel discussion on the new UTRGV School of Medicine during the Rio Grande Valley Partnership's RGV Legislative Tour 2017
Dr. Leonel Vela participates in a panel discussion Jan. 26 in Harlingen with leaders from three area hospitals. Also on the panel were Manny Vela, CEO of Valley Baptist Hospital; Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez, director of Surgical Services at RGV Driscoll Children’s Hospital, chief medical compliance officer for DHR. (UTRGV photo by David Pike)

Dr. Leonel Vela, senior associate dean for Education and Academic Affairs at the UTRGV School of Medicine, recently provided an update on the SOM’s progress for visiting legislators. His address, along with others’, was part of a panel discussion during the Rio Grande Valley Partnership’s RGV Legislative Tour 2017.

About 38 percent of the UTRGV School of Medicine’s charter class thus far is from the Valley, Vela told legislators. He also said having a medical school in the Valley provides more local students an opportunity to pursue becoming a physician. Vela shared his own story of having to leave the Valley to get the medical education and training to become a doctor. Unfortunately, many of his peers did not get the chance as he did, he additionally stated.

“I think back to my generation. And when I see these young people, I wonder how many of them would have had to forgo that dream if we did not have a medical school,” he said. “These are the physicians who will have the opportunity now to complete their training. Many of them will stay here to address the healthcare challenges we have here in the Valley.”

The panel discussion was held at the UTRGV Clinical Education Building in Harlingen.

The panelists also updated Texas legislatorson how the School of Medicine is providing opportunities for both economic growth and research. They additionally shared how its residency programs are helping close gaps in healthcare access in a medically under-served area.