The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s School of Medicine is ranked second – behind only Stanford – in the medical schools category of a just released Top 10 Graduate Schools for Hispanics survey. The list is in the September issue of Hispanic Business magazine, which announced the U.S. rankings Aug. 31.
Survey parameters included number of Hispanics enrolled, retention rate, percentage of students receiving financial aid, M.D. degrees awarded, number of Hispanic full-time medical school faculty, and extent of programs that recruit and mentor Hispanic medical students. During the 2005-2006 academic year, 153 Hispanic students were enrolled in the School of Medicine, the retention rate was 95 percent among these students, and 95 percent received financial aid. The School of Medicine awarded M.D. degrees to 32 Hispanic students in May 2006.
The Health Science Center, which operates campuses in Harlingen, Edinburg and Laredo as well as in San Antonio, has one of the strongest concentrations of Hispanic faculty in the nation – 110 members strong. The School of Medicine participates in a number of recruitment and mentoring programs, including Facilitated Admissions for South Texas Scholars, a program that identifies and assists students to enter the School of Medicine from St. Mary’s University, Texas A&M International University in Laredo and The University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.
“This is tremendous news, and validates the concerted efforts of our School of Medicine to connect with South Texas Hispanic students who are interested in medicine and who want to come to the Health Science Center,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. “It shows that no door need ever be closed to outstanding Hispanic students.”
This week, the Health Science Center celebrated the 2006-2007 scholarships awarded by an organization called STARS (South Texas Academic Rising Scholars). Eight medical students were recipients. The Health Science Center matches the STARS funding dollar for dollar.
“This ranking is a reflection of the talented individuals who are out there in South Texas and of the exemplary recruitment and retention programs that are in place to successfully enroll and graduate Hispanic students from the School of Medicine,” said William L. Henrich, M.D., M.A.C.P., dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs of the Health Science Center. “We couldn’t be more pleased, because South Texas has a great need for these young people to return to their home areas to practice medicine.”
School of Medicine applicants are reviewed holistically, said David J. Jones, Ph.D., associate dean for admissions in the School of Medicine. “We look at the complete person, including academic excellence, educational background, community service, stated goals and all the qualities that would make one a competent and compassionate physician,” he said. “I am proud that we have been able to educate and train so many outstanding physicians who happen to be Hispanics.”
Nearly 20 percent of students in the School of Medicine are Hispanic, compared to the U.S. medical school average of 7.5 percent, reported by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The School of Medicine has the stated goal of recruiting students who will be able to competently address the needs and priorities of South Texas’ diverse population. “We couldn’t do this were it not for the commitment of the president (Dr. Cigarroa) and the dean (Dr. Henrich) to have a diverse class, and were it not for the admissions committee and the faculty who make the admissions decisions and understand the needs of South Texas,” Dr. Jones 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 $500 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $14 billion biosciences and health care industry, the leading sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $34 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 20,500 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, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, click on www.uthscsa.edu.