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RAHC announces 2007-2008 Kleberg Medical Scholars

Posted: Thursday, September 06, 2007 · Volume: XL · Issue: 18

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Contact: Will Sansom
Phone: (210) 567-2579
E-mail: sansom@uthscsa.edu

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Ten resident physicians in the Lower Rio Grande Valley are pursuing clinical research in addition to their patient rounds this year, thanks to generous support from The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in August announced the 2007-2008 Kleberg Medical Scholars, who were selected from among physicians in the three-year RAHC Internal Medicine Residency Program. The RAHC residency is an accredited program of the Health Science Center School of Medicine.

Kleberg medical scholars
The Kleberg honorees, all M.D.s, and their research projects are:
  • Pedro Abanto, “Prevalence and use of antibiotics in CA-MRSA infections”
  • Mariejane Braza, “Hispanic patients on metformin will develop vitamin B-12 deficiency, which is often unrecognized and may be associated with worsening neuropathy”
  • Cesar Garcia, “Improving health literacy: no patients left behind”
  • Bielose Konwe, “Prevalence of hyperuricemia and the association between serum uric acid level and components of the metabolic syndrome in the Hispanic population”
  • Rahat Hussain, “Increased prevalence of uric acid stones”
  • Luciana Oliveira, “Right-sided EKG for right ventricular myocardial infarction — the missing link”
  • Eleazar Quintanilla, “Independent association of uric acid levels with peripheral arterial disease and its outcomes in Latin American patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus”
  • Patricia Laurel, “Comparison of body mass index (BMI) and body fat index (BFI) in obese adults seeking bariatric surgery”
  • Mario Tapia, “When added to regular therapy, does cinnamon improve glycemic control and lipid profile in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2?”
  • Peter Ruiz, “Diabetes mellitus patient management study”
Kleberg Medical Scholars Program
In 2002, the Kleberg Foundation donated $1.5 million to establish the Kleberg Medical Scholars Program. From the start, the goal has been to attract and retain the best resident scholars for the RAHC who would conduct research on border health issues and health problems affecting the Texas-Mexico border population. Each recipient’s clinical research project is supported by a $10,000 stipend from the Kleberg Medical Scholars Program.

The program supports residents in the Valley Baptist Health System, primarily at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, which receives a $10,000-per-year allocation for each scholar.

Stipends support research
This year’s stipends bring to 47 the number of Kleberg Scholar stipends awarded in the RAHC residency program’s five-year history. “The Valley Baptist Health System continues to provide significant financial support for our residency program, so to have another partner, the Kleberg Foundation, provide stipends for research is a tremendous benefit to post-graduate medical education in the Valley,” said Leonel Vela, M.D., M.P.H., regional dean of the RAHC in the Health Science Center School of Medicine.

The Kleberg funding provides not only the chance to conduct research but the chance to present the findings at national meetings.

RAHC residents distinguished themselves at the 2007 annual meeting of the American College of Physicians, the year’s premier scientific meeting for internal medicine. A peer-review panel accepted only three resident research projects from Texas for presentation at the meeting, and two were from the RAHC. “Our residents competed against everyone else in the U.S. for this opportunity,” Dr. Vela said. “This was a very competitive meeting where fewer than 15 percent of research abstracts were accepted for presentation. This is a great outcome for our young center and our residency program, which is directed by Dr. James F. Hanley.”

The RAHC Internal Medicine Residency Program has graduated 17 physicians. Today, nine are practicing in the Valley. Three used the Kleberg research experience as a springboard to postdoctoral research fellowships.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $536 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $14.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.

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