San Antonio (Oct. 28, 2003) – Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC), is featured as a 2003 Trendsetter in the November issue of Hispanic magazine. The nationally renowned pediatric and transplant surgeon, a native of Laredo, is one of six outstanding individuals selected to receive the honor.
The article, by San Antonio free-lance writer Rudy Arispe, points to Dr. Cigarroa’s early exposures to medicine through his father, Dr. Joaquin G. Cigarroa Jr. of Laredo, and his uncle, the late Dr. Leonides Cigarroa. Observing his father’s evening house calls at age 12 and watching his uncle perform an operation when Francisco was 15 sparked the young man’s desire to follow in their footsteps and care for the sick, Arispe notes.
Dr. Cigarroa was educated at Yale, Harvard and Johns Hopkins and received his medical degree with highest honors in 1983 from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. His 12 years of post-graduate training included the position of chief resident at Harvard’s teaching hospital, Massachusetts General in Boston, and a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The UT System Board of Regents unanimously approved his appointment in October 2000 as the third president of the Health Science Center.
The Hispanic article also notes that Dr. Cigarroa, even while serving as the chief executive of a comprehensive health sciences university with a $450 million operating budget, is on call to see patients on weekends. He continues a history of clinical innovation. In 1997, he was part of a surgical team that split a donor liver for transplant into two patients, an adult woman and a 5-month-old boy. The operation was the first of its type in Texas. In 2000, he performed the first successful small bowel transplant in a child in Texas.
The Trendsetter profile cites the importance of education to the Cigarroa family, who instilled in their children the value that education empowers individuals to succeed. “One of the reasons I became president,” Dr. Cigarroa is quoted as saying, “is to inspire our younger generation to become educated and to be good role models for Hispanic students.”