News and Events

Profiles in Excellence

November 14, 2017

Victor Bazaldua

Victor Manuel Bazaldua
Age: 21
Major: Biomedical Sciences
Hometown: San Benito, Texas


I strongly believe that excellence can only be achieved through relentless pursuit of perfection. With the right attitude, no barriers can deter a person from realizing their set goals. Through those principles, I knew that I would one day secure a spot...

Read more about Victor Bazaldua.

November 7, 2017

Jimena Rivera

Jimena Rivera
Age: 21
Major: Social Work
Hometown: Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico 

UTRGV was my university of choice to pursue my degree because I was able to have the college experience while still living at home. What I like about UTRGV is its student to professor ratio, the variety of events and opportunities offered to students... 

Read more about Jimena Rivera.

College of Health Affairs students return from the ANNUAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS (ABRCMS) with 1st Place Winners.

ABRCMS 2017 CoHA students

Fifteen students from the CoHA and the CoHA RISE Program attended the “ANNUAL BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE FOR MINORITY STUDENTS (ABRCMS)”, Nov 1 to 4, 2017 in Phoenix Arizona. 


In Remembrance of Joseph Richard Lacher 1942 - 2017

Joe Lacher

Joe Lacher was a great man. He was an exceptional nurse. He was a pioneer here in the Rio Grande Valley having worked tirelessly in the private sector for many years in various roles as human resources manager, chief nurse executive, supervisor, and staff nurse before going into academia.

Read more here.

Health and Human Performance and Occupational Therapy Students Tour the Center for the Intrepid

Intrepid tour

Rio Grande Valley – October 30, 2017 - On Thursday, October 26, 2017, 49 students (29 Exercise Science Students and 19 Occupational Therapy students), toured the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.  Under the advisement of Dr. Juan Gonzalez (Associate Professor in Health and Human Performance) these students took part in an eye-opening experience at one of the country’s premier medical facilities.  

Read the full article here.

College of Health Affairs Students Take Home Winning Posters at (SACNAS) 2017

CoHA students at SACNAS group

Rio Grande Valley, TX – October 26, 2017 - College of Health Affairs at SACNAS 2017

Students from the College of Health Affairs attended the national scientific conference SACNAS 2017, October 19 -21 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Society for the Advancement of Chicano and Native American Science is the largest National Diversity in STEM Conference.  Fifteen students from the College of Health Affairs were accompanied by the Dean of the College, Dr. Michael Lehker and CoHA RISE program Staff, Ms. Bianca Farrell, Ms. Noemi Hernandez, Ms. Magali Ayala and Ms. Ednia Gutierrez to the conference and experienced three days of cutting-edge science, professional development, training and mentoring. Ten students presented their research at the conference. Four student posters placed first in the student competition. 

Read the full article here.

World Diabetes Day - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

World Diabetes Day flyer

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley College of Health Affairs invites all UTRGV faculty and staff to make plans to join us for free wellness services on World Diabetes Day.

Services will be available from 7:30am - 9:00am.

Services available for free at any one of the following locations on the Edinburg campus:

Academic Support Facilities Complex (Physical Plant) - Back Lounge
Cenizo Room (by the UTRGV Ballroom)

To learn more read the information flyer here.

UTRGV nursing professor named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

UTRGV nursing professor Dr. Nelda C. Martinez, RN, Ph.D., has been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – OCT. 3, 2017 – Dr. Nelda C. Martinez, RN, Ph.D., clinical professor in the UTRGV School of Nursing, College of Health Affairs, will be inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing during the organization's 2017 Transforming Health, Driving Policy Conference, Oct. 5-7 in Washington, D.C.

Read the full article here.

Surprise Speaker Cody Calchado the World’s Strongest Disabled Man 2015!

Cody Calchado

UTRGV Women's Basketball Assistant Coaches Kaylena Andersen and Yannick Denson along with special guest Cody Calchado who was the World’s Strongest Disabled Man in 2015 and runner in 2016 with Health and Human Performance majors in Danessa Peterson’s Biomechanics class. 

DEL CASTILLO in Brownsville to raise funds for College of Health Affairs Scholarships - September 23

An evening with DEL CASTILLO will take place on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at the TSC Arts Center in Brownsville. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with entertainment in the lobby, a cash bar, and an opportunity to view and buy goods from local artists. A signed guitar from the band will be raffled.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Jose A. & Lois M. del Castillo Memorial Endowed Scholarship at UTRGV. Established in 2017, the scholarship supports students in the College of Health Affairs School of Nursing, pursuing a nursing degree or are in the Cooperative Pharmacy Program at UTRGV.  In addition, a portion of the proceeds will also be donated to provide relief from the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey.

UTRGV nursing professor Tamez accepts Legacy Award from national organization

UTRGV nursing professor Eloisa G. Taméz, RN, Ph.D., FAAN, is the 2017 recipient of the Latino Legacy Award from the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. Here, she accepts the award during the 42nd annual NAHN Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. (Courtesy photo)

Read the full story here.

Cooperative Pharmacy Program - Fall 2017 

There are slots open for students to apply to the Cooperative Pharmacy Program this year.  If there are any BMED students that want to go to pharmacy school and  have taken the PCAT or will take it Sept 8, Dr. Lydia Aguilera (Director of CPP, COHA) would like to talk to them about applying thru the CPP program.   Our faculty can provide advisement to optimize their candidacy for pharmacy school.  Dr. Cruz even leads a Mock Admissions session. 

Early admission deadline is Sept 5 and regular admission deadline is November 1, 2017.

Dr. Bianca Cruz is responsible for coordinating mock multiple mini interviews (MMIs) for CPP students with the UTRGV Career Center. UT Austin College of Pharmacy is currently the only pharmacy school in Texas that uses the MMI method. Important information about signing up for mock MMIs. Please know that students who want to participate in the mock MMIs MUST:

  1. Plan on applying to UT Austin College of Pharmacy in Fall 2017
  2. Be interested in being part of the UTRGV/UT Austin CPP, meaning that they would return to the UTRGV during their third and fourth years of pharmacy school

Any students not applying to UT Austin College of Pharmacy or who do not want to be part of the CPP may contact the UTRGV Career Center on their own to set up mock interviews. Please let Dr. Cruz know if you have any questions.

Profiles in Excellence - 2017

August 29, 2017


Abigail Alfaro
Age: 22
Major: Pre-Nursing
Hometown: Edcouch-Elsa


UTRGV has offered me so many amazing opportunities. When I was in high school, then-UTPA offered me college readiness assistance through Upward Bound and I fell in love with the university. Once I became a student at UTRGV...

Read more about Abigail Alfaro.

August 15, 2017


April Garcia
Age: 20
Major: Social Work
Hometown: Brownsville


I chose to attend UTRGV because of the quality of education I would receive at an affordable price. Also, UTRGV is where home is. At UTRGV I have attended multiple events in which students promote activities going on and off campus...

Read more about April Garcia.

July 4, 2017


Hector Filizola
Age: 21
Major: Biomedical Sciences
Hometown: Brownsville 


With my acceptance into the unique biomedical sciences program and its innovative curriculum, I could not pass up attending UTRGV. I knew that this program offered me the best education for my career goals. Above all, only at UTRGV was I able to...

Read more about Hector Filizola.

Alumnus of the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley PA ProgramNationally recognized.

Juliana Abreu

Johns Creek, GA, March 21, 2017 –
Juliana Abreu, PA-C, a certified physician assistant who graduated in 2012 from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley PA Program, was recently awarded a specialty credential called a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Read the full press release here.

UTRGV Athletics Set for Challenge of the Deans on Thursday

Challenge of the Deans

UTRGV Athletics will host the sixth annual Challenge of the Deans on Thursday at 7 p.m. when UTRGV men's basketball faces Seattle U at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.(UTRGV Fieldhouse-Google Maps)

Deans from different colleges across campus, along with students from their colleges, will battle it out at halftime in a free throw shooting competition. Additionally, the college with the highest student attendance will be declared most spirited. Winning colleges will receive a trophy.

UTRGV Athletics would like to show its appreciation for all current UTRGV faculty and staff by offering free admission and free popcorn with a valid UTRGV employee ID.

Come and support our own Dean of College of Health Affairs, Michael Lehker!!!

Exciting news!! Our own Dr. Veronica Umeasiegbu and Ms. Kim Finn have been recognized by the National Council on Rehabilitation Education.

These are very prestigious awards by our main professional organization - they will be honored at our national conference in April! The National Council on Rehabilitation Education Spring 2017 Conference


Dr. Veronica Umeasiegbu has been selected as New Career in Rehabilitation Education Award. This is a prestigious award in Rehab. To be eligible you must be within the first five years of your academic career. Self-nominations are not accepted and you have to have letters from professors outside your geographic area.

Ms. Kim Finn who has been selected as NCRE doctoral student of the year!

We are all proud off you Veronica & Kim!

The National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE) is the premier professional organization of educators dedicated to quality services for persons with disabilities through education and research. NCRE advocates up-to-date education and training and the maintenance of professional standards in the field of rehabilitation

Congratulations Fall 2016 Graduates!

UTRGV Fall 2016 commencement ceremonies kick off in Brownsville - BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – DEC. 16, 2016 – About 470 of 604 graduates from the Brownsville Campus walked the stage at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Fall 2016 Commencement ceremony on Friday evening. In addition to the graduates, hundreds of family and friends gathered for the 6 p.m. ceremony on the Student Union lawn to cheer on the graduates as they crossed the stage to accept their diplomas. Read the full article here.

Watch the Recorded live stream of the Brownsville Campus 2016 Fall Commencement Ceremony here

Watch more videos of the other UTRGV Fall 2016 Commencement Ceremonies visit their Facebook page.

More photos of the College of Health Affairs to come....

ROTC cadet Ilse Aranda receives commission as second lieutenant in U.S Army Reserves


EDINBURG, TEXAS – DEC. 16, 2016 – UTRGV graduating senior Ilse Aranda received her gold bars as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves, during the U.S. Army ROTC Fall Commissioning Ceremony, held Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, in the UTRGV Library Auditorium on the Edinburg Campus. (UTRGV Photo by Silver Salas)

The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. has named Shirley A. Wells as one of the 100 Influential People in Occupational Therapy.

Shirley A. Wells, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA, has been a tireless advocate for cultural inclusion and diversity in occupational therapy for the past 37 years. She has advocated for diversity through her ground-breaking books on culture and occupational therapy...

UTRGV Master of Physician Assistant Studies program gets expansion approval

PA Studies Frank Ambriz(right) and Benito Lopez(left)

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – OCT. 11, 2016 – The UTRGV Department of Physician Assistant Studies, in the College of Health Affairs, has received approval from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education to enlarge its physician assistant master’s program over the next three years. Frank Ambriz (at right), chair of the department, said the MPAS degree paves the way for a high-demand career for students like Benito Lopez (at left), who is on track to graduate with the MPAS in December. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

UTRGV Physician Assistant students urged to pay it forward, during White Coat Ceremony

PA white coat ceremony

AUG. 19, 2016 – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s 52 new Physician Assistant Studies students were selected from among hundreds of top candidates, and on Friday, university officials challenged them to use what they learn to serve their communities.

The UTRGV Department of Physician Assistant Studies (PA) had its White Coat Ceremony Aug. 19 at the Engineering Building’s main auditorium on the Edinburg Campus. Faculty members cloaked each student, as family and other loved ones cheered and snapped photos.


Two nursing websites rank UTRGV nursing program among best in nation

AUG. 17, 2016 - The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s School of Nursing has been named among the best in the country in two national rankings, published by websites that serve as resources for prospective and current nursing students.

UTRGV was ranked 27th out of 50 top nursing schools in the Southwest by Nursing Schools Almanac, and 30th out of 50 top residential Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs in the country by Top RN to

UTRGV’s Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program selected as Examples of Excelencia finalist


AUG. 10, 2016 – Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit organization focused on the success of Latino students, has announced the selection of the UTRGV Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) Program as one of 20 finalists for its national Examples of Excelencia awards.

UTRGV holds two ribbon cutting ceremonies for primary care clinics

July 8, 2016 - UTRGV Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. María I. Díaz (third from left), Texas Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (District 27) and Texas Sen. Juan Hinojosa (District 20), cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the UTRGV Community Primary Care Clinic in McAllen, in partnership with Hidalgo County. A second clinic is located in Harlingen, with a ribbon cutting July 8 at that location. The clinics are made possible by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)


McAllen ceremony:

Harlingen ceremony: