Monday, July 13, 2020
  Science & Technology, Awards and Recognitions

By Letty Fernandez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV has been awarded a $1.15 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) to help provide scholarships to aspiring students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.

UTRGV will receive $230,000 per year for five years from the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program. The funding will help support the UTRGV Clinical Laboratory Science Program (CLS) in its efforts to actively recruit talented students interested in the CLS profession.

Dr. Michael Lehker, dean of the UTRGV College of Health Professions, said Clinical Laboratory Sciences is an important component of today’s complex healthcare system, and clinical laboratory scientists are essential members of the collaborative healthcare team.

“The COVID19 pandemic has further underscored the long-known fact that we have a critical shortage of CLS professionals,” Lehker said. “The grant from HRSA is thus a timely grant to address healthcare workforce needs during this medical crisis, and even beyond the pandemic.

“I congratulate and commend Daniela Gill and Sandra Tijerina for their incredible effort to put together a winning proposal,” he said.

Gill is a clinical assistant professor and Tijerina is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Biomedical Sciences in the College of Health Professions. Both are graduates of the CLS program from legacy institutions UT Pan American and Pan American University.

“As principal investigator, and being this is my first grant, I am beyond thrilled UTRGV has been awarded the SDS grant,” Gill said. “The grant will allow our students to focus on school responsibilities, excel in their studies and not have to worry about financial strains. It feels great to know our hard work paid off.”

The SDS grant will provide 20 scholarships to full-time students with financial need.

For more information, please contact the UTRGV CLS program at (956) 665-5269 or email



The Clinical Laboratory Science Program provides a quality educational experience which prepares clinical laboratory scientists for leadership roles in a multicultural healthcare system. Excellence in teaching is enhanced by faculty engaged in research, creative activities as well as professional service to the profession, the university and the community.

For more information, visit


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.