Development of a Comprehensive Academic Health Center in the Rio Grande Valley

HARLINGEN, Tex. – Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., executive vice chancellor for health affairs of The University of Texas System, issued the following statement today (March 30) regarding the Harlingen Economic Development Commission’s consultant report concerning the establishment of a medical school in the lower Rio Grande Valley.  Shine joined local elected officials, industry representatives and community leaders at a news conference in Harlingen earlier today.

Statement from Dr. Shine:
“The University of Texas System is pleased to participate with the communities in the lower Rio Grande Valley as the feasibility of establishing a medical school is considered and efforts proceed to expand medical education and research in the region.  Building a comprehensive academic health center is an expensive enterprise that will require careful, strategic planning with significant and continuing financial support from the Legislature, communities, local health care systems, businesses and the philanthropic community.  The expansion of medical residency programs in South Texas is a critical first step. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has stated that if the Legislature is able to fully support existing health-related institutions in the state and decides to establish an additional medical school in Texas, South Texas remains a feasible location.  However, such an effort must be undertaken with new incremental funding and not at the expense of current UT academic and health care programs.  

“The UT System will continue with plans to expand the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), which we believe is a logical precursor to a comprehensive academic health center or a medical school.  Furthermore, the UT System remains committed to implementing a holistic education and health program for South Texas, with the RAHC, UT Brownsville, UT Pan American and the UT Health Science Center Regional Campus in Laredo working to strengthen and develop innovative, collaborative academic and health programs.”

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