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Regional Academic Health Center - Harlingen

Regional Academic Health Center celebrates 10 years of making lives better for South Texas

May 2012

The Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) is celebrating 10 years of making lives better for South Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Join faculty, staff, students and the community for a special anniversary celebration at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, in the courtyard of the RAHC campus, 2102 Treasure Hills Blvd. in Harlingen.

Since 2002, more than 1,000 medical students have completed rotations at the RAHC and nearly half of its residents have remained in the Lower Rio Grande Valley to practice medicine and care for the regionís diverse citizenry.

"The RAHC has played an instrumental role in training young doctors both from South Texas and beyond," said Roberto J. Hernandez, M.D., former resident. "The presence of medical students and residents may spark an interest in health care-related jobs in the community."

Community partnerships have been key in the success of the RAHC.

Through the generosity of the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, residents can take part in the Kleberg Medical Scholars Program. Donors such as the Raul J. Tijerina, Jr. Foundation, allow students to study health problems affecting the Texas-Mexico border population.


  A medical student works with a volunteer faculty member at the RAHC.
Luis De La Torre, M.D., a volunteer faculty member at the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), works with medical student Jennifer Nelson during a pediatrics rotation.
"In areas where doctors, and particularly primary care physicians and various specialists, are lacking, the RAHC has been a catalyst for closing the gaps," said Leonel Vela, M.D., M.P.H., regional dean of the RAHC. "Great strides have been made during the past decade with the help of our community, and we look forward to expanding our education and research programs in the future."

RAHCís road to achievement

  • RAHC building is dedicated in 2002 at 2102 Treasure Hills Blvd.
    in Harlingen.

  • Third- and fourth-year medical students complete part of their medical education at the RAHC and its affiliated clinics and teaching hospitals in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

  • Since its establishment, more than 1,000 medical students have completed clinical clerkships and rotations at the RAHC.

  • 38 physicians have completed their post-graduate training through the RAHCís three-year internal medicine residency program.

  • 17 out of 37 residents have remained in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and 32 have remained in Texas to practice medicine and care for the regionís and stateís diverse citizenry.

  • Leonel Vela, M.D., M.P.H., regional dean

  • Melba Sanchez, M.P.A., assistant dean

  • Adela Valdez, M.D., assistant dean

  • James Hanley III, M.D., founding director of the internal medicine residency program

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Updated 7/30/14