President Cigarroa receives leadership award from National Hispanic Medical Association


Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center, received the Hispanic Health Leadership Award in the academic category from the National Hispanic Medical Association in Washington, D.C. on March 25. The special guests, President Bill Clinton and Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., U.S. Surgeon General, defined national initiatives for healthy lifestyle changes to improve the health of Hispanics.

“I am so honored to be recognized from among the many other outstanding individuals who are making a great impact in the lives of so many,” Dr. Cigarroa said. “As the president of a Hispanic-serving graduate and professional degree institution, I am committed to the continuing success of all our students.”

With outstanding faculty members, energetic staff, and almost 3,000 enthusiastic students—24 percent of whom are Hispanic—the Health Science Center is working to provide quality medical education, the finest in medical care and breakthrough clinical and scientific research.

Under President Cigarroa’s leadership, the Health Science Center has established and strengthened partnerships with several Texas universities, many of which are Hispanic-serving institutions, as well as numerous exchange programs with Mexican universities. The Health Science Center has also invested more than $114 million in the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) along the Texas-Mexico border, where students are exposed to the medical needs of the people of the region, including some of the hardships faced by the people living in colonias.

The Health Science Center has three Hispanic Centers of Excellence in the Medical, Dental, and Nursing Schools, and is the only health science university in the continental United States to hold this distinction. These centers are grant-funded and recognized by the Health Resources and Service Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These Centers of Excellence for Hispanics provide students services, tutoring and assign mentors to further improve the graduation rate for Hispanic students.

For more information about the National Hispanic Medical Association, visit

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