New dean of UTRGV School of Medicine gives update to LRGVDC
WESLACO, Texas – Dr. Michael B. Hocker, recently appointed dean of UTRGV School of Medicine, has given an overview of the college’s work to a local council of government.
Hocker spoke about securing full accreditation for UTRGV SOM within the next 12 to 18 months, bringing more health research funds to the region, and expanding the college’s community clinics.
“We are looking at expanding and growing our residency and fellowship training programs to bring more specialties to the Valley. We know that if we have students come here and our residents and fellows train here that they are likely to stay here,” Hocker told the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council’s board of directors.
“I think it is all important because we need those folks to look like our community and we are seeing that in our medical school class but also our residency and fellowship programs.
On the subject of bringing more research dollars to the Valley, Hocker noted the UTRGV SOM had recently been awarded two major federal grants to conduct cancer research.
One of these – worth $2.5 million – was from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. The funding will go towards establishing an Integrated Cancer Research Core facility that will serve as a foundation for building the Rio Grande Valley’s growing cancer research network.
The core also will support the established South Texas Center of Excellence in Cancer Research to address disproportionate, cancer-related health issues in the area.
It is the first time UTRGV SOM has received a CPRIT grant.
“I think this is monumental as this is the first time that that kind of research funding has come to The Rio Grande Valley and it is really going to help us improve both the identification and early detection and treatment of cancers in the Valley,” Hocker told the LRGVDC.
On the subject of community clinics,” Hocker said: “From a clinical care perspective, we continue to expand our programs and provide specialty level care for the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley. We will continue to expand on that.”
Hocker said the medical school continues to partner with local and regional hospitals. “We want to continue to foster those relationships as we continue to grow in all three of these missions.”
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