Aug. 31, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 35



UTHSC programs highlighted at President's Council luncheon

Photo of Cigarroa, Briscoe, Straus, and Barshop (L-R) Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, Health Science Center president; Dolph Briscoe Jr., former governor of Texas; Joci Straus, president of the UTHSC Development Board; and Sam Barshop, former UT Regent and member of the Development Board, arrive at the Development Board meeting and President's Council luncheon.

The future of the Health Science Center has never looked brighter, according to members of the university's Development Board and President's Council.

"The Health Science Center has seen tremendous growth throughout the years," said Dolph Briscoe Jr., former governor of Texas and UTHSC Development Board member, as he addressed fellow board members during their Aug. 20 meeting held at the Omni Hotel.

"With six campuses — the Central Campus on Floyd Curl Drive, the North Campus down the road on Floyd Curl, the Texas Research Park Campus, the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen and Edinburg and the Laredo Campus — the Health Science Center is a regional institution without boundaries, providing education and health care to those who need it the most in South Texas. The university is poised to reach more people in need than ever in its history," Briscoe said. "We are well on our way to becoming one of the best in the world."

Jocelyn Straus, president of the Development Board, thanked the board members for their leadership in raising $90 million from the private sector over the past few years. Dr. Cigarroa then challenged the board to raise $300 million in the next five years for new research facilities, new degree and research programs, and the recruitment of new faculty and clinicians.

"As we grow and expand our research, outreach and influence, we also will need to consistently expand our resources," he said. Dr. Cigarroa congratulated the Development Board members and thanked them for their continued support.

The President's Council luncheon immediately followed the Development Board meeting. More than 150 attended. Straus reported highlights of the Development Board meeting and congratulated the President's Council members on their recruitment of 40 new members this year.

Attendees were introduced to the newest department chairs and to the university's Ambassador Scholars. They also had the pleasure of meeting some of the patients of the Health Science Center, and of hearing their remarkable success stories. Jose and Rosa Rangel and their three children, Leonardo, 14; Morelia, 6; and Alan, 18 months, were among those present. The Rangel family lost a fourth child to a mysterious liver disorder. Pediatric geneticists at the Health Science Center discovered that this rare genetic disorder was being passed on from both parents to the Rangel children, threatening the children's lives. Dr. Cigarroa was a part of the transplant team that performed a liver transplant on Morelia when she was 5, and on Alan when he was only 1. Both children have benefited from the efforts of the Health Science Center's pediatric genetics and transplant teams. Today, the children live healthy, happy lives.

Photo of de la Garza, Olson, and Frazer (L-R) Luis de la Garza, President's Council co-chair, presents Dr. Merle Olson, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and Dr. Alan Frazer, chairman of the department of pharmacology, with a President's Council award in support of neuroscience and genetics research.

Also featured was Rosita Martinez Herrera, whose life was tragically transformed by a series of setbacks, including open-heart surgery, a car accident, a stroke and the side effects of those incidences, all of which occurred within a six-week period. Fortunately, Antonio Treviño, physical therapy student, was there to help through her ordeal.

"I was fortunate to have Antonio as my primary physical therapist," Herrera said. "His therapy skills and bedside manner are superb. His future patients will benefit greatly, as I have."

George Miller, 82, a patient in the Clinical Geriatric Dentistry Program, praised Dr. Sarah Dirks for the care she provides him. Dr. Dirks is a fellow in the Geriatric Dental Fellowship Program. Miller has a pacemaker and is taking several medications for various medical conditions that make his dental needs very specialized. He said he places his confidence in Dr. Dirks to provide him with the kind of specialized care he now requires.

These patient stories were a testament to the outstanding programs, faculty and students at the Health Science Center.

The President's Council recognized some of the university's new and emerging programs with the presentation of the President's Council awards. Individual checks in the amount of $25,000 went to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences for its Center for Biomedical Sciences; the Dental School for its Dental Student Training in Academics and Research Program; the School of Medicine for its Hispanic Center of Excellence; the School of Nursing for its Nursing Student Retention Program; and the School of Allied Health Sciences for its Student Scholarship Fund.

Dr. Cigarroa concluded the luncheon with words of thanks and appreciation. "These are just a few of the many remarkable programs offered at the Health Science Center. I thank all of you for being involved in changing lives and improving health right here in San Antonio and throughout our South Texas Region. Together, we are building a brighter tomorrow."