The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio recently hosted a notable visit from Rose Ann Maldonado, district director in U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro’s office, and four of her district office colleagues to showcase The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio.
The visit, which included a tour and informative session, highlighted the institution’s commitment to serving the common good by assessing the region’s health needs while also developing public health’s future workforce.
A highlight of the delegation’s tour was a stop at the Research Administration Building, the school’s new home. Led by Dean Vasan Ramachandran, MD, FACC, FAHA, and Associate Dean of Finance and Administration Deepu Kurian, PhD, the group toured the building’s third and fourth floors, where extensive renovation work is underway for classrooms and staff offices.
Castro recently played a pivotal role in acquiring funding for the development of the school’s new space.
“As part of Congress’ fiscal year 2023 federal funding bill, I was proud to secure $1 million in Community Project Funding to support the renovation of the building that will house this important partnership between UT Health San Antonio and the University of Texas San Antonio,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro.
“The UT School of Public Health San Antonio will expand educational opportunities in our city while strengthening San Antonio’s commitment to being a leader in accessible and quality community health efforts. The school will be a hub for both research and service, and I’m looking forward to its doors opening to students pursuing graduate degrees next fall, who will develop into compassionate public health leaders while centering community in all that they do,” he added.
Ramachandran was able to share the school’s vision and goals with the visiting delegation, cultivating a sense of inclusivity by stating, “This is your school, too.” He welcomed feedback and suggestions, stressing that a collaborative approach will positively shape the school’s future.
The guests’ departure was marked with gratitude and optimism. Their visit enabled the school to highlight the institution’s strides in education and research and also its willingness to foster collaboration and engagement.
As the school prepares for its first cohort, Ramachandran believes similar interactions with elected officials and their teams will lead to greater opportunities for its students and local residents.
“The UT School of Public Health San Antonio is modeling itself as the ‘people’s school’, underscoring how the community is at the center of its learning, teaching, research and reflective service missions,” said Dean Ramachandran. “Public health requires an engaged citizenry, social justice, an empowered community and authentic community-centered leadership.”
The University of Texas System Board of Regents paved the way in November 2021 to create an independent school of public health in San Antonio. In June 2022, the Bexar County Commissioners Court gave preliminary approval to award $10 million from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding toward the development of The University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio, a collaboration between UT Health San Antonio and The University of Texas at San Antonio. In its fiscal year 2023 budget, the City of San Antonio approved $2 million to support the development of the school, with plans to renew every year for up to five years.