Tuesday, September 22, 2020

By News and Internal Communications

By Dimitra Trejo

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Dr. Lawrence Harkless, interim dean of the UTRGV School of Podiatry and professor of surgery, this month was voted in as the newest member of the National Public Radio Foundation Board of Trustees.

The goal of the NPR Foundation is to support NPR's mission of creating a more informed public through actively working to expand the fundraising efforts of the organization.

As an NPR Foundation trustee, Harkless will contribute to enhancing current and future financial support and helping inform a citizenry challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures.

“This role will provide me the opportunity to inform and inspire the board about my profession in podiatric medicine, UTRGV’s new School of Podiatry in the Division of Health Affairs, and how all the schools in Health Affairs are working inter-professionally and collaboratively to improve health equity for the disadvantaged, vulnerable population in the Rio Grande Valley,” Harkless said.

“Moreover, this role will give me the opportunity to inform the board about UTRGV and its role in transforming the Valley community by the results evidenced in fulfilling its mission in education research and service,” he said.

Harkless is an internationally distinguished clinical educator, investigator, lecturer, author and political scholar. He has served in both public and private universities known for clinical and research excellence, including the UT Health Science Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California (WesternU). He is the founding dean emeritus and a professor emeritus of the WesternU College of Podiatric Medicine.

He received the Presidential Excellence in Teaching Award in 1998 while at UTHSCSA, was named Outstanding Educator 2001 by the American Diabetes Association, and was appointed chairman of the Texas Diabetes Council from 2001-2007 by then Texas Gov. Rick Perry. 

Harkless has had an impact on the entire arena of limb preservation in diabetes and wound healing, including the development and validation of wound and risk stratification models. The risk and wound classification systems have provided the taxonomy which allows clinicians to communicate worldwide about improving patient-centered outcomes and reducing the impact of healthcare costs.


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.