Fourteen leaders in the Laredo community recently agreed to serve as the founding members of the President’s Laredo Advisory Council, a panel established by the Health Science Center to make recommendations on Health Science Center programs in the Gateway City.
Members are Alex Blanco, M.D.; Leo Cigarroa, M.D.; Maurice A. Click, M.D.; Hector Gonzalez, M.D., M.P.H., of the Laredo Health Department; Dan Jones, Ph.D. provost of Texas A&M International University; Mark Lisa, F.A.C.H.E., chief operating officer of Doctors Hospital; Elmo Lopez Jr., CEO of Laredo Specialty Hospital; Juan Leandro Maldonado, Ph.D., vice president of Laredo Community College; Abe Martinez, CEO of Laredo Medical Center; Mercurio Martinez Jr., former Webb County judge and chair of the Mid Rio Grande Border Region Area Health Education Center; Daniel Saenz, D.D.S.; Mike Trevino, CEO of Gateway Community Health Center; Sister Rosemary Welsh, board member of Sisters of Mercy Health System; and Sabas Zapata III of Falcon International Bank.
“This council brings community partners to the table to discuss how to help the Health Science Center help Laredo,” said Dr. Leo Cigarroa, Laredo family physician and cousin of Health Science Center President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “We have put together a group of Laredo leaders with a vested interest in the community to help the president make decisions about allocating Health Science Center assets in Laredo.”
The Health Science Center continues to expand the number of programs offered at its Laredo Campus Extension in the D.D. Hachar Building, 1937 Bustamante St. The campus is the home of the Health Science Center’s South Texas Environmental Education and Research Program, known as STEER, which educates health care professionals and students about environment health issues on both sides of the border. The Health Science Center’s School of Allied Health Sciences offers courses in the building and plans are to increase continuing education offerings for medical, dental, nursing, allied health and public health professionals.
Another mission of the Health Science Center is to increase the number of Laredo young people who are exposed to information about careers in the health professions. The Health Science Center a year ago opened a Laredo office of its promising Med/Ed Program that acquaints students with rewards and challenges of the health professions.
The President’s Laredo Advisory Council is interested in such initiatives. Dr. Leo Cigarroa noted, for example, that many more dentists and mental health professionals are needed in Laredo – “homegrown” professionals who have grown up in the Laredo area and are committed to enter practice there.
The council has met four times so far.