The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

UTRGV School of Medicine

“Autumn is the perfect time to take account of what we’ve done, what we didn’t do, and what we’d like to do next year.” – Author Anonymous

I am an autumn person. Having grown up betwixt and between Cuba and New York, this is the time of year that all is fresh. Nothing like the crisp morning air of autumn.

College, medical school, residency and fellowship training in New England made it possible for me to extend the beauty of the season for nearly another two decades. I don’t think there is a better time of year than autumn to reflect on everything new – your accomplishments, and what you would like to achieve in the next year.

So, here we are. It may be 80 degrees in the Valley, but it is autumn and the time has come to celebrate our accomplishment this year: the formation of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine.

On Oct. 15, 2015 at 1:41 p.m., the LCME Board granted the UTRGV School of Medicine Preliminary Accreditation. Go on – don’t be shy. Applaud for yourselves, have fun and enjoy this great accomplishment for the region. Just like the leaves change colors in the fall, this will change our region forever.

The obvious is that we will increase the physician supply, as well as the number of all healthcare professionals in our communities.

But how else will we be different? How will we distinguish ourselves? Just like in the movie “Back to the Future,” medicine (Marty McFly) and our current healthcare system (Marty’s parents) accidentally have gotten in the way of the most important meeting of all – the meeting between doctor and patient. Like Marty McFly, we at UTRGV must get them back together before medicine changes time forever, and sabotages its own existence.

Armed with 1.21 gigawatts of electricity (otherwise known as a heavy dose of influence from my training in Boston), I rely also on a quote from one of the most referenced physicians at the Massachusetts General Hospital – Dr. Francis Weld Peabody: “One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.”

Dr. Peabody was a gifted physician not only because of his scientific work in the Thorndike Laboratories or his clinical contributions to pernicious anemia, but also because he set himself apart from other doctors of his time by his compassion and empathy, and by treating his patients as more than just a disease or disorder but as real people.

This is key for us in the Rio Grande Valley and will become our brand, as well, as we define UTRGV medicine.

With our focus being on community service, we will attract trainees who look at service commitment and who look at the exciting challenges in the Valley, where creativity and ingenuity play a large role in getting patients the care they need.

Beyond lifelong learning, our students will be creative problem solvers and will know it takes knowledge beyond just the medical to really help patients in our communities. Adhering to Dr. Francis Weld Peabody’s dictum, our students will keep the patient and the family front and center, as part of a high-performing interprofessional team. The days of “the doctor knows all and does all” are gone. Our ability as physicians to work as an interprofessional team, to talk to our patients and their families, to find out what they think and need – and to talk to one another – is essential for the future of healthcare, not just in our communities but across the entire country.

Now, we get ready to select, over the next three months, our Charter Class. We are grateful for all the support from UTRGV President Guy Bailey and his team, our hospital partners, our faculty, our donors, our grantors, our communities, and so many more. Last, but not least, a special thanks to our Admissions Committee, that is now well-armed to get the job done.

Only one thing left to say: “Francis Weld Peabody, we are at your heels!”

Celebrate Now …

With a blast from the past –

Doctor’s Order!