LAREDO (Aug. 27, 2009) — The UT Health Science Center San Antonio will hold a special community health presentation about the H1N1 (Swine) flu and seasonal flu on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the university’s Laredo Campus Extension, 1937 Bustamante Street.
The free public event, which is the third annual Lilia Martinez Lecture, will feature a presentation by Carlos Roberto Jaén, M.D., Ph.D., The Dr. John M. Smith, Jr., Professor and chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the UT Health Science Center. He will discuss preparations for combating the two flu viruses this fall.
A question-and-answer session will follow with longtime Laredo physician Joaquin G. Cigarroa Jr., M.D., and Hector Gonzalez, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Laredo Health Department.
The event will be held in the auditorium of the D.D. Hachar Building. A light buffet will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the presentation following at 7 p.m. Physicians who attend the presentation are eligible to receive continuing education credits.
“We are grateful to the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation for bringing this important presentation to the people of Webb and Zapata counties,” said Health Science Center President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP. “The Martinezes’ love for young people, health and education has made this presentation possible.”
The novel H1N1 virus was first identified last spring in California and has spread throughout the world. On Aug. 24, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released a national report assessing preparations for an expected resurgence of the H1N1 flu this fall. In his presentation, Dr. Jaén will discuss the characterizations of the two types of flu and actions that can be taken to prevent infection.
“At this time, the novel H1N1 is not necessarily more deadly than other types of flu, but it is more contagious. This type of flu also is different from seasonal flu because it targets young people from birth through their 20s and most especially pregnant women, instead of the elderly like the seasonal flu,” Dr. Jaén said.
“Washing your hands often, sneezing into your elbow instead of into your hands, keeping away from people who are sick and staying home when you are sick yourself will go a long way toward preventing infection from both types of the flu,” he added. “Get vaccinated and, if you do get the flu, take antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.”
The Lilia Martinez Lecture is funded by a gift from the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation. Zapata County residents for many years, Guadalupe Martinez was a rancher and businessman, while Lilia Martinez was a teacher and principal in the Zapata Independent School District for more than 30 years. Now deceased, the couple generously invested in the community.
This tradition continues through their foundation, which in 2005 established the Dr. Joaquin G. Cigarroa Jr. Distinguished Chair in Medicine. Support from this endowment enables researchers to continue their work in finding cures for diseases that are prevalent in South Texas. The Lilia Martinez Lecture is an important part of this effort, giving Health Science Center researchers the opportunity to share their knowledge and recruit the next generation of physicians. The chair is named in honor of Dr. Joaquin G. Cigarroa Jr., the father of former Health Science Center President and current UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.
Because of their interest in improving educational opportunities for South Texans, students participating in the Med Ed program have been invited to the presentation. Med Ed is a UT Health Science Center program that provides encouragement and support for middle school, high school and undergraduate college students who are interested in the health professions. Participants are offered year-round academic enrichment, community service opportunities, volunteer programs at area health care facilities and field trips to the Laredo Campus Extension and the Health Science Center’s campuses in San Antonio to learn more about how to prepare for an education and career in the health professions.
The Martinez Lecture has been approved for continuing medical education credits for physicians and offers AMA PRA Category 1 Credit. Certificates of credit for participation will be offered to physicians who register by Aug.30 and pay the $20 fee.
Physicians and others who wish to attend the Martinez Lecture are asked to RSVP by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (210) 567-2056.
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 $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $36 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 26,400 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other 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, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.