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First ‘Texas Medical Rangers’ unit in nation activated at UTHSCSA

San Antonio (March 12, 2003) – Texans have another reason to feel safe from terrorism and biological threats – the Texas Medical Rangers. Activation ceremonies were held March 11 at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) to establish the first unit of the Medical Reserve Corps, also known as the Texas Medical Rangers. Gov. Rick Perry selected the Health Science Center to house the unit, which is the first of its kind in the nation. Retired Army Major General Harold L. Timboe, M.D., M.P.H., will lead the group.

“This is indeed a historic day, one in which the leaders of Texas respond to the needs of the people of Texas by turning to some of Texas’ most trusted servants – the faculty and staff of the Health Science Center,” Dr. Timboe said. “I am humbled to accept command of this organization, but in doing so I am assured by the knowledge of the professionals who will join together to help shape this unit,” he said.

The Medical Reserve Corps, part of the Texas Military Forces and the Texas State Guard, will partner with the State Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Department of Health and the Health Science Center. Members of the Texas Medical Rangers are volunteers and will train, preparing themselves to assist public health authorities in the event that a major natural disaster or man-induced disruption threatens public health anywhere in South Texas.

“As a health science center, we realize the great responsibility we have in the areas of bioterrorism research and homeland defense, as well as the preservation and restoration of public health, should an emergency occur,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Health Science Center president. “Our unit is designed to serve as a model for other health science centers throughout the state, and perhaps the nation. Let the history of the Texas Medical Rangers begin today.”

Contact: Aileen Salinas or Natalie Gutierrez