UTRGV School of Medicine interim dean updates Regents on progress

Dr. Steven A. Lieberman, interim dean of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Medicine, on Feb. 8 gave the Board of Regents’ Health Affairs Committee an update on the progress of the UT System’s newest medical school.

“We are young, we are in the toddler stage,” Lieberman said. “We’ve passed the crawling and walking stages and we’re looking forward to running in the near future.”

Since the Texas Legislature approved creation of UTRGV and the School of Medicine in 2013, he told regents, the medical school:

· Has founded the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute.

· Will sponsor, by summer 2017, seven medical residency programs at five Valley hospitals – Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, McAllen Medical Center, Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville, and Knapp Medical Center.

· Received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

· And completed its Medical Education Building on the Edinburg Campus before welcoming its first cohort of 55 students in June 2016.

The School of Medicine also broke ground on a medical research building in McAllen through a partnership it has formed with Doctors Hospital at Renaissance.

Lieberman also told regents about the School of Medicine’s recent $15 million gift from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, which will help create the UTRGV Institute for Neurosciences. He also talked about the school’s commitment to public health and its ongoing efforts to recruit faculty and researchers, develop residency programs, build clinical programs and develop and strengthen partnerships with area hospitals.

UT Regent Sara Martinez Tucker, who served as the committee’s chairman for that day, said the School of Medicine has been met with much enthusiasm from the Valley community and has garnered support from local organizations.

“Congratulations on your efforts,” Tucker said.