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Health education programs receive continued funding in Lower Rio Grande Valley (9-20-99)

Funding appropriated by the Texas Legislature assures continued education and clinical training this year for students and health care professionals in the Lower Rio Grande Valley through The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and its South Texas/Border Region Health Education Initiative (STBI).

In 1995, with local educators and health professionals, the Health Science Center began educational programs as part of the South Texas/Border Region Health Education Initiative, a state legislative project to enhance training in the region for students interested in health careers. The initiative has similar programs in the Corpus Christi/Coastal Bend, Del Rio/Winter Garden and Laredo/Mid Rio Grande Border regions. The current programs were reviewed by a local advisory committee.

In addition to continuing programs in the Lower Valley, the $2,626,000 budget for this fiscal year (ending Aug. 31, 2000) will fund five new projects and an extension of the highly successful public health-oriented South Texas Environmental Education and Research Center (STEER) in Harlingen. A new respiratory care program will be offered at Valley Baptist Medical Center and South Texas Hospital and a new program in clinical laboratory sciences will be developed.

New third-year medical student clerkships in pediatrics will be implemented at Valley Baptist Medical Center. Also, continued clinical training for medical students and residents in family practice and psychiatry will complement activities at the Health Science Center's Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen.

Ongoing programs receiving support include allied health programs at South Texas Community College, McAllen; dental hygiene education at Texas State Technical College, Harlingen; emergency medical technology at U. T. Brownsville/Texas Southmost College; occupational therapy education at U. T. Pan American, Edinburg; dental student education at several Valley community health centers; and the highly successful health-career-motivating program MED-ED, coordinated by the Health Science Center's Office of the Vice President for South Texas Initiatives, McAllen.

Disease prevention, continuing education and professional development programs are planned as well.

As before, the STBI will continue to provide educational and student support, telecommunications access, library access services and student housing in the area.

For more local information, please contact Dr. Mario Ramirez, vice president for South Texas/Border Initiatives at the Health Science Center. His office is in McAllen (phone 956-994-3300).

Contact: Will Sansom or Jennifer Lorenzo