HARLINGEN (Oct. 30, 2007) – The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio held a formal ceremony today to dedicate the Mario E. Ramirez, M.D., Library at the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen.
Dr. Ramirez, who practiced family medicine in Starr County for 43 years, served on the UT System Board of Regents from 1989 to 1995. At its August meeting, the Board approved a request by the Health Science Center to name the library for Dr. Ramirez.
Dr. Ramirez served the Health Science Center from 1995 to April 2007 as vice president for South Texas/border initiatives. He established the Med/Ed Program, which has encouraged more than 2,200 young students to attend college and consider careers in the health sciences.
At least 100 Med/Ed alumni are pursuing advanced studies and are practicing professionals in medicine, nursing, allied health and dentistry.
“Mario Ramirez has focused his life on the care of patients and the education of students,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center. “Fittingly, the library that bears his name is open to all who desire to gain knowledge in the health sciences, from high school student to physician.” James D. Kazen, executive vice president for facility planning and administration at the Health Science Center, represented Dr. Cigarroa at today’s ceremony.
Encompassing 11,000 square feet, the Ramirez Library is the first and only state-of-the-art medical library in the Rio Grande Valley. It has a collection of 1,000 medical texts and provides access to the complete electronic resources of the Dolph Briscoe Jr. Library located at the Health Science Center in San Antonio.
“This medical library has brought a new dimension to physician and student education in the Valley, and in that way it is like Dr. Ramirez, who has done so much to put the next generation of our young people on the road to becoming health care professionals and scientists,” said Leonel Vela, M.D., M.P.H., regional dean of the Regional Academic Health Center.
“Dr. Ramirez has been a great library supporter and role model for medical students,” said Greysi Reyna, interim administrator of the Ramirez Library. “He is very dedicated to his profession. It was great to find out that the library would be named for him.”
Ramirez Library users include students from all the universities and junior colleges in Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo and Starr counties, Reyna said. The library also supports hospitals in the area with medical literature needs. The library’s outreach program teaches high school students how to use medical resources, including the National Library of Medicine’s online resources.
In March 2005, the library’s outreach program garnered the nation’s highest award for libraries and museums. First Lady Laura Bush and Robert S. Martin, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, presented Reyna and a high school student with the National Award for Museum and Library Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
RAHC faculty physicians and residents also are making use of the Ramirez Library’s services, especially online, Reyna said.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.