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The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and
Helen C. Kleberg Foundation supports Health Science Center programs


March 2009

by Natalie Gutierrez

Helen Kleberg Groves
Helen Kleberg Groves
Incorporated in 1950, the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation has been a great advocate of the Health Science Center and continues to make an impact on countless other projects across the nation, including cancer research, the arts, youth development programs, and services for the disabled. At the heart of the foundation is the legacy of its founders, the late Robert J. Kleberg Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg, whose vision was to help provide the best in health care and educational opportunities for all South Texans.

Helen Kleberg Groves
Science and service go hand in hand with Helen Kleberg Groves, who is president of the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation. Through her philanthropic and scientific involvement, Mrs. Groves is a true champion for South Texas. She is a role model who, along with her children, is following in the footsteps of her father and mother, helping mold the lives of countless scientists, researchers and health professionals. She is continuing the Kleberg legacy that will live for centuries to come.

Gifts reach beyond borders and touch all missions
For nearly three decades, the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation has provided close to $8 million to the Health Science Center to fund programs that impact all missions at the university, including educational and research programs to develop treatments for debilitating diseases that affect South Texas and the world.

Most recently, the foundation has provided support in the following areas:
  • $1.4 million to help scientists better understand bacteriophages, which have critical implications for the future of disease management. The research will improve the understanding of ecology and should one day lead to new vaccines, gene-therapy delivery systems, antibiotics, and improved use of phages themselves as agents to kill bacteria. Products could include medications to treat wound infections and diseases such as anthrax and tuberculosis, and others.
  • $3.16 million to advance research of airway diseases, such as the work of Joel B. Baseman, Ph.D. Click to read related story.
  • $1.5 million to support the Kleberg Medical Scholars Program. Since the programís establishment in 2002, 58 resident physicians have been awarded. As Kleberg Medical Scholars, these medical residents are conducting research within the Lower Rio Grande Valley and are bringing attention to the important and unique needs of the South Texas patient population. Currently 11 Kleberg Medical Scholars are residents at the Health Science Centerís Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen. Research has shown that physicians tend to practice where they train, so the Kleberg Foundation is helping increase the number of physicians and clinical research interest in South Texas, which has been federally designated as a medically underserved area.

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Kleberg Foundation grants $3.2 million to fund respiratory disease research

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