By Kate Hunger
When Gerardo Ramos, MS, Ph.D. MT (ASCP), F-ABFT, began his new role as program director of the Division of Medical Laboratory Sciences in January, it was a homecoming of sorts.
Ramos earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science from UT Health San Antonio in 1994. In the intervening years, he earned master’s degrees in toxicology and higher education administration, and a doctoral degree in toxicology, all while serving in the U.S. Air Force and developing his expertise in leadership and forensic toxicology.
Ramos earned the rank of lieutenant colonel and retired in 2019 after 23 years of military service. Before joining the faculty, he served as Department Chair, Diagnostic Services, leading eight health training programs, and as Program Director for the Air Force Medical Laboratory Apprentice Course, Medical Education and Training Campus at Joint Base San Antonio–Fort Sam Houston and Texas Flight Commander, Diagnostics and Therapeutics Training Flight, 382nd Training Squadron, also at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. In recent years he also has served as a forensic toxicology consultant and expert witness for the Department of Defense.
Continuing the tradition of excellence in the Medical Laboratory Sciences program is a top priority for Ramos, who also will serve as associate chair of the Department of Health Sciences.
He plans to focus on expanding students’ horizons by showing them that their training can lead to more opportunities than they may realize. Using his own career as an example, Ramos noted that he has worked in research labs, environmental laboratories, forensic toxicology laboratories, and clinical laboratories.
In addition, Ramos plans to keep the program current on technology, trends, and developments in the profession and to develop students’ leadership and management skills.
“There is a critical need for leadership training and experience,” Ramos said. “My goal is to make them aware the clinical job in a hospital is really important but you can grow and obtain specialized expertise in other areas. In five or 10 years there will a new job or opportunity we don’t even know about now. I want to stay abreast of all those evolutions and make sure students are ready for those challenges.”
Making sure students are aware of and understand how they will directly impact patient care in their future careers is key, he said.
“One of my other goals is just to get the students excited about their career and to make that connection between their job when they graduate and the patient’s outcome,” he said.
Ramos’ research interests include the physiological and molecular beneficial and/or toxic effects of nutritional supplements, homeopathic agents, and/or alternative medicinal therapies, as well as the identification and development of robust high throughput/high content analytical methods for the detection of traditional and novel psychoactive substances (NPS) in clinical and forensic settings.
Although he is not teaching this spring, Ramos expects to be in the classroom by the summer or fall semester.
The Division of Medical Laboratory Sciences will hold Open Houses on Jan. 31 and March 28.