For more than 40 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has been dedicated to its mission to treat and care for those who need it the most, including those who cannot afford health care; to produce and translate biomedical research into clinical care that saves lives; and to educate the next generation of health care professionals who will be the faces we trust in tomorrow’s clinics, hospital emergency rooms, surgical suites and health science centers.
Our mission has remained steadfast, and has become increasingly vital in an era when: 1 in 6 Americans and 1 in 3 Texans lacks health insurance; for the first time in two centuries, the life expectancy of Americans is predicted to be shortened by up to five years because of diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions such as obesity and diabetes; and, vulnerable populations such as the elderly are increasing at record levels.
In 2004, under the leadership of President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., the Health Science Center launched its $300 million Campaign for the Future of Health, the largest campaign in the university’s history. It was the vision of university and community leaders to fulfill a Campaign that would have a positive, lasting and life-changing impact on our nation’s most precious commodity health.
Through the President’s Excellence Fund, the Health Science Center will expand on scientific research that leads to unsurpassed patient care and the highest-quality education of health care professionals. The university’s outstanding record of accomplishment is demonstrated through its 10 signature research programs. These are the Campaign’s priorities:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Infectious Diseases
- Musculoskeletal Diseases
- Oral Health
- Women’s Health
Dr. Cigarroa, a pediatric and transplant surgeon, is the only health science center president in the nation who continues to regularly perform surgery. Every day he witnesses firsthand the need for excellence and compassion in health care for all patients. “One of the greatest privileges in the world is to be entrusted with the care of a patient,” President Cigarroa said. “This Campaign is about offering the best and doing the best we can for our patients now and in the future.”
The goal of the Campaign for the Future of Health is to enhance the university’s research infrastructure by building the South Texas Research Facility (STRF) and by establishing and sustaining the President’s Excellence Fund.
The STRF will be a 200,000-square-foot ultra-modern facility that will house the university’s growing research enterprise, including the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science and the Center for Healthy Aging. The President’s Excellence Fund will be used to fund the Health Science Center’s 10 signature research programs and to enhance the recruitment and retention of world-class faculty. Together, these will accelerate the translation of basic research discoveries into new treatments and cures and will ensure the best education for students.
“We are building a new strategic model that will be the first of its kind in this city,” President Cigarroa said. “We will have the ability to better serve students, patients and the community in all capacities, from state-of-the art classrooms and laboratories, to research that leads to new cures, to compassionate care that patients receive at their bedside. Our university will encompass every aspect of a multidisciplinary and exceptional health care experience for all.”
The Honorable John T. Montford, president, Western Region of AT&T, and chair of the Health Science Center’s Development Board, said the Campaign will help position the Health Science Center at the highest levels of excellence in the education, biosciences and health care industries.
“Fulfilling this campaign will make San Antonio and the Health Science Center the choice destination for the very best education and the very best and most convenient health care available,” Montford said. “With $21 million left to raise, we have work to be done. But this Campaign is more than just a dollar figure. It’s about you and me. Everyone can and should be a part of it, whether they give $25 or $25 million, because you can’t put a price tag on good health. Let’s bring this Campaign over the top, so we can launch the beginning of a new era in health care that benefits us all.”