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U.S. Senator John Cornyn secures funding to establish UTHSC's Hispanic Nutrition Research and Education Center

San Antonio (May 28, 2003) — A federal appropriation of $100,000 to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) by the 107th U.S. Congress will fund the first and only U.S. Hispanic Nutrition Research and Education Center. This center will be located in the Regional Academic Health Center facility in Harlingen, which also houses the year-old RAHC Medical Education Division.

"We are most fortunate and appreciative that U.S. Senator John Cornyn was successful in leading the move to secure $100,000 for us to jump-start this new center at the RAHC Medical Education Division," said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., UTHSC president. "Senator Cornyn's legislative success on behalf of the Health Science Center will help our faculty conduct the necessary research to develop the nutrition education programs that will improve the nutrition and dietary needs of our Hispanic population in South Texas and across this nation."

"The U.S. Hispanic Nutrition Research and Education Center is a long-term effort by the Health Science Center to understand how diet and nutrition — in combination with genetic, social, psychological, socioeconomic, cultural and environmental factors — affect the health and wellness of the U.S. Hispanic population," said Leonel Vela, M.D., M.P.H., regional dean, Regional Academic Health Center, and principal investigator of the project.

The RAHC is located in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. This area is home to high rates of diabetes and other infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, dengue fever and hepatitis. This confluence of factors makes the region an ideal location for researching how nutrition impacts health and disease in the Hispanic population.

"We look forward to Senator Cornyn's continued assistance during the 108th U.S. Congress to secure enhanced federal funding to increase the research capacity of the center," said Armando Diaz, vice president for governmental relations at the Health Science Center.

Contact: Will Sansom