Regional Academic Health Center selects its first class
The Health Science Center has selected the first class of medical students who will train in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Twenty-four third-year students will head to Harlingen this summer to study at the medical education division of the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC).
The facility opens its doors June 28. Each year, 24 third-year and 24 fourth-year students will complete their medical school training in Harlingen.
"It is not often that one can say, 'I was the first.' Yet this extraordinary opportunity awaits our first class of students at the Regional Academic Health Center," said Dr. Steven A. Wartman, executive vice president for academic and health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. "These students are pioneers, who along with the faculty, staff, partners and people of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, will usher in a new phase of development and dynamic growth for this important region."
RAHC students will receive clinical training at Harlingen's Valley Baptist Medical Center and ambulatory care experiences at Su Clinica Familiar, a federally qualified community-migrant health center. Students will have the opportunity to study health issues unique to the South Texas/Border Region, while working in one of the most medically underserved areas of the country.
"I hope to brush up on my medical Spanish. I hope to learn more about the Hispanic culture, especially as it relates to medicine, and I want to learn more about border health," said Korina Lopez, a member of the first class. "I think the RAHC is the perfect place to begin to work with the population I hope to serve someday."
The RAHC also consists of a medical research division, which will be located in Edinburg, and a public health division, which will be located in Brownsville. The medical education division in Harlingen is the first component to become operational.