Webb and Zapata County residents invited to attend heart disease presentation at UT Health Science Center

LAREDO (Aug. 18, 2008) — The UT Health Science Center San Antonio will hold a special community health presentation on heart disease from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20, in the D.D. Hachar Building at the Health Science Center’s Laredo Campus Extension, 1937 Bustamante Street.

The free public event will feature a presentation by Steven R. Bailey, M.D., professor and chief of the division of cardiology, as well as the holder of the Janey Briscoe Distinguished University Chair at the Health Science Center. Dr. Bailey also is director of the Health Science Center’s Janey Briscoe Center of Excellence in Cardiology Research, one of the top cardiovascular research centers in the nation.

Dr. Bailey will present “Cardiovascular Health Care Disparities: Improving the System with Focused Interventions,” a discussion of the latest strategies for the treatment of heart disease for underserved populations, including the residents of South Texas. A question-and-answer session will follow.

“We are so grateful to the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation for bringing this important presentation to the people of Webb and Zapata counties, where heart disease and stroke continue to be major health issues,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the UT Health Science Center. “Dr. Bailey is a world-class cardiology researcher and clinician who works hard to help find ways to prevent and provide better treatments for heart attacks and stroke.” Dr. Bailey and his colleagues are studying therapies that may lead to a biological reversal of cardiovascular disease.

“The best way to avoid cardiovascular disease is to help prevent it by taking care of yourself and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, by not smoking and by getting regular exercise. If you are at high risk of heart disease, medications are important in decreasing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” Dr. Bailey said. Cardiovascular disease has been linked closely to obesity and diabetes, which are two other major health issues in South Texas.

This is the second annual Lilia Martinez Lecture, a series of presentations 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. The late 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 longtime Laredo physician Dr. Joaquin G. Cigarroa Jr., the father of Health Science Center President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.

Because of their interest in improving educational opportunities for South Texans, students participating in the Med Ed program from Laredo and Zapata high schools 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.

Those who wish to attend the Martinez Lecture are asked to RSVP by Aug. 19 to (210) 567-2056. A light buffet will be served at 5:30 p.m. followed by the lecture at 6:30 p.m.




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 23,000 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. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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