Dr. James J. Young leaves legacy of progress as dean


James J. Young, Ph.D.
James J. Young, Ph.D., has long considered San Antonio home. 

During his 33 years in the U.S. Army Medical Department, Dr. Young and his family often found themselves returning to the familiar territory of San Antonio. 

It was only natural that he and his family eventually made their way back to the Alamo City following his retirement from military service - and the road home led to a position as dean of the Medical School at the Health Science Center

Twelve years later, Dr. Young, who recently retired from his post as dean, leaves a legacy of progress in education, research, patient care and the continued development of the Health Science Center's presence in South Texas. 

During Dr. Young's tenure, the Medical School has become a nationally recognized leader in research breakthroughs, education of underrepresented minorities, and training and education of primary care practitioners. The Medical School has developed strong partnerships with both military and civilian health care centers in San Antonio, fostering cooperative facility enhancements, medical education and research programs. 

A native Texan, Dr. Young was born in the Lower Rio Grande Valley at Fort Ringgold, near Rio Grande City. He served in the Army's Medical Department for more than three decades, achieving the grade of Brigadier General and designation as Chief of the Medical Services Corps. Dr. Young's military career included leadership positions in large medical centers, multi-institutional health systems, corporate-level medical planning and operations, and military and civilian academic institutions. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal.

Dr. Young served as vice chancellor for health affairs, West Virginia Board of Regents, before returning to Texas in the fall of 1987 to take the reins as dean of the Health Science Center's School of Allied Health Sciences. In July 1988, he was named interim dean of the Medical School. He became dean in May 1989.

Since his arrival, the number of basic science and clinical faculty members has grown from 536 to 752; the Medical School operating budget has risen from $80.9 million to $177.1 million; and research and contract awards to the Health Science Center have increased from $27 million to more than $128 million. 

The institution's reputation as a top-notch education and research center has grown as well. The establishment of the multidisciplinary Research Imaging Center placed the Medical School at the forefront of international brain mapping efforts.

In 1995 clinical research publications from the Health Science Center ranked ninth among U.S. universities in terms of impact, according to the Institute of Scientific Information. A partnership with the Cancer Therapy and Research Center yielded a Comprehensive Cancer Center—one of only two in Texas to be designated by the National Cancer Institute. 

Other accomplishments include revisions to the Medical School curriculum to strengthen medical student education, integrated learning initiatives, and student exposure to bioethics and to regional health care problems.

Dr. Young's other goals included bringing educational and research opportunities to underserved areas of South Texas. He was one of the driving forces behind the development of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), an education, research and health promotion center along the Texas-Mexico border. 

"I would like to see the RAHC develop into an extraordinary educational experience for students located in the Valley," said Dr. Young. "Our hope is to enhance the presence of physician manpower in areas that are currently medically underserved."

Dr. Young credits his faculty and staff with the long list of successful outreach, educational and research programs that have come from the Medical School in the past decade.

"If you empower talented people to do their best, they will achieve," said Dr. Young. "I have enjoyed the past 12 years immensely and the opportunities I have been given to work with such a talented and committed faculty. The School of Medicine and the Health Science Center are a major part of my life and I wish them continued success."


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