Tears, laughter and warm hearts abounded at the McAllen Country Club as 300 close friends and colleagues turned out to celebrate the lifetime contributions of Mario E. Ramirez, M.D., retiring vice president for South Texas programs, and his wife, Sarah.
Dr. Ramirez is a household name in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where he practiced family medicine in Starr County for 43 years. He established the first hospital in the county at Roma in 1958, and later, as Starr County judge, helped lead the effort to build Starr County Memorial Hospital, which opened in Rio Grande City in 1975.
"Mario Ramirez has focused his life on the care of patients," President Cigarroa said. "Whether one could pay or whether one had no means to pay was irrelevant."
The most recent chapter of his career has been as vice president at the Health Science Center, where he established and nurtured the Med/Ed Program for high school students interested in pursuing health care careers. At least 100 Med/Ed alumni are pursuing advanced studies and are practicing professionals in medicine, nursing, allied health and dentistry.
"Much of the diversity we are now experiencing in the schools of medicine across the state of Texas, and even beyond, is the result of the work of Mario Ramirez," Dr.Cigarroa said. The Dr. Mario E. Ramirez Chair Fund in Family and Community Medicine has been established in his honor.
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