UTRGV School of Medicine receives award from Kleberg Foundation to increase Valley’s physician workforce

By Jennifer L. Berghom

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – DEC. 19, 2017 – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has been awarded a three-year, $2 million grant from the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation to recruit and retain primary care physicians to serve as faculty at the School of Medicine and to practice medicine throughout the Valley.

With the grant, the School of Medicine plans to recruit 15 to 18 primary care physicians who are expected to see about 15,000 patients per year by 2021. The School of Medicine will recruit physicians who currently are in its sponsored medical residency programs, as well as work to attract primary care physicians from across the state of Texas.

“This generous award embodies the school’s values of service to the community and dedication to improving the health of patients of the Rio Grande Valley,” said Dr. John H. Krouse, dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and vice president for Health Affairs at UTRGV. “Through the Kleberg Foundation award, we will be able to improve access to primary care medical services across the Valley.”

The grant will help the School of Medicine assist the physicians it recruits in paying a portion of their salaries, moving and relocation expenses, educational loans, and expenses for continuing medical education, and will encourage their retention though providing assistance to the physicians and their families in relocating to the Valley.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey, in a letter to the foundation, said the foundation’s grant will have a direct impact by increasing the number of physicians practicing in the Valley who become clinical faculty at the School of Medicine.

“This immediate impact also lays the foundation for the School of Medicine to realize its full potential as the primary source and driver of increased access to improved healthcare across the Rio Grande Valley,” Bailey wrote.

The UTRGV School of Medicine currently has 101 medical students enrolled in its first two classes. In addition, 139 residents are currently in nine hospital-based training programs throughout the Valley, with the number of residents expected to surpass 200 in 2019, according to UTRGV and School of Medicine officials.

“This gift comes at a very opportune time to help us build the capacity to serve our growing school,” said Felipe C. Salinas, UTRGV director of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

The grant begins Jan. 1, 2018, and lasts through June 30, 2021.

ABOUT THE ROBERT J. KLEBERG, JR. AND HELEN C. KLEBERG FOUNDATION

The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation was established in 1950 in Kingsville, Texas, to support the philanthropic interests of its founders. Now based in San Antonio, it has a mission to improve the world through the advancement of knowledge in medical and basic science research, conservation, community services and the arts. To date, over $290M in grants has been awarded with a major focus on medical and basic science research.

ABOUT UTRGV

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Jennifer.Berghom@UTRGV.edu
UTRGV Senior Writer / 956-665-7192

Marci.Caltabiano@UTRGV.edu
UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications / 956-665-2742