April 12, 2002
Volume XXXV, No. 15


Of Note


UNAM rector visits Health Science Center

PHOTO Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa presents Dr. Juan Ramon de la Fuente with a white coat, making him an honorary member of the UTHSC faculty as Dr. Robert Jimenez (left) looks on.

Dr. Juan Ramon de la Fuente, rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and secretary of health during the administration of President Ernesto Zedillo, visited the Health Science Center on March 20 to discuss the importance of binational educational and research initiatives.

"The health issues that affect Mexico also affect the United States, especially the South Texas/Border Region," said Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, Health Science Center president. "We are neighbors, so we share each other's challenges and successes. But we are not only neighbors, we are friends and partners."

President Cigarroa visited the UNAM campus and the Mexican Ministry of Health last September. UNAM, founded in 1551, is older than Harvard or Yale.

Dr. de la Fuente is an investigator in the National Institute of Nutrition and the Mexican Institute of Psychiatry, both in Mexico City. He completed postgraduate training in psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic and was chief resident at the University of Minnesota. He joined the UNAM faculty in 1980. President Zedillo appointed him as health secretary in December 1994, and he served in the Cabinet until November 1999 when he was named UNAM rector. He is author or co-author of more than 200 works, has written 37 chapters and has been publisher or co-publisher of 10 books on health, educational and scientific topics. His many awards include the Eduardo Liceaga Prize of the National Academy of Medicine.

The Health Science Center welcomed Dr. de la Fuente with many mementos of San Antonio, including a special Health Science Center souvenir. "Because of the great leadership you have demonstrated for the nation of Mexico, the outstanding leadership you are providing to UNAM, and because you are a physician with an outstanding record of medical achievement, I want to make you an honorary member of our own Health Science Center faculty," President Cigarroa said to Dr. de la Fuente. "I hope you will keep this Health Science Center white coat in your office to remind you of your many friends and colleagues in San Antonio — and at the Health Science Center — who treasure your friendship."

"The best known face of San Antonio is its health system, not only in the United States, but also internationally," Dr. de la Fuente said. "I think we've only seen the beginning. We both have something to offer the future of all disciplines."

"We value our partnership with UNAM, and we look forward to the future as we work together," Dr. Cigarroa said. "Together, we will add to the body of knowledge this world so desperately needs, and in so doing, we will make this world a better, healthier and safer place for us all."

Dr. Cigarroa also hosted San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza; director of the UNAM Permanent Extension Campus in San Antonio, Dr. Mario Melgar; general director of the School for Foreign Students at UNAM in Mexico City, Dr. Guillermo Pulido; Consul General of Mexico for San Antonio, Armando Ortiz Rocha; chairman of the board of the University Health System (UHS) Board of Managers, Dr. Robert Jimenez; president and CEO of the UHS, Jeff Turner; UTHSC's executive vice president for academic and health affairs and School of Medicine dean, Dr. Steven A. Wartman; La Prensa publisher, Tino Duran; and senior chairman of Cullen Frost Bankers, Tom Frost.

PHOTO (L-R) Drs. Steven A. Wartman, dean of the School of Medicine and executive vice president for academic and health affairs; Francisco G. Cigarroa, UTHSC president; Juan Ramon de la Fuente, rector of UNAM; Robert Jimenez, UHS chairman of the board; Ed Garza, San Antonio mayor; and Dr. Mario Melgar, director of the UNAM Permanent Extension Campus in San Antonio, get together March 20 on campus.