School is one of only 10 in the United States


  Wednesday, June 15, 2022
  Community, Announcements

By Karen Villarreal

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV is now the first university in Texas – and one of only 10 in the nation – ready to prepare and graduate Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM).     

The UTRGV School of Podiatric Medicine has been granted candidacy by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME). The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) program has also been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).   

UTRGV had been granted approval for a DPM program in late 2020 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and CPME candidacy was the next step toward launching the school and the program.   

The School of Podiatric Medicine will begin recruiting soon for its inaugural class of 40 students.  

Podiatrists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and ankle. Students who have completed at least 90 credit hours of undergraduate studies are eligible to apply to enter the program upon graduation. The program entails four years of medical education at the SOPM, followed by three years of hospital-based post-graduate residency training.    

The application deadline for new students is July 20, 2022. Classes are scheduled for Aug. 8 at the UTRGV School of Podiatric Medicine, located in Harlingen within UT Health RGV, the clinical arm of the UTRGV School of Medicine, at 2102 Treasure Hills Blvd.   

MEETING A NEED   

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the new school expands on the university’s mission to improve access to quality healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley – where the need for podiatrists is high.    

“Many people in our region who suffer from diabetes require specialty podiatric care,” Bailey said. “We train our future doctors in the UTRGV School of Medicine to address complications from diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, and now we will be able to meet this very specific healthcare need in South Texas.”   

Diabetes, which can lead to foot disorders like neuropathy, infection and even amputation, is prevalent at an estimated rate of 26 percent in the Valley.     

Dr. Javier Cavazos, DPM, assistant dean of Clinical Education for the new School of Podiatric Medicine, said students and faculty will serve the community through UT Health RGV, the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program, Coastal Bend Veterans Affairs, and Federally Qualified Health Centers.    

“Diseases endemic to our region – like diabetes and cardiovascular disease – are a research focus for our faculty and students,” he said. “We will collaborate with the UTRGV School of Medicine and the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute (STDOI) to provide evidence-based practice and medical research to our community.”   

Dr. Javier La Fontaine, DPM, MS, associate dean of Academic Affairs for the UTRGV School of Podiatric Medicine, said it is a point of pride for UTRGV to be the first of its kind in the UT System.   

“We are the first School of Podiatric Medicine within a major state university system,” La Fontaine said. “The support of the UT System helps ensure that our students will succeed in becoming not only dedicated podiatric physicians, but also research scientists, public health professionals and educators.”    


Gilbert Morin, director of admissions for the School of Podiatric Medicine, said the school’s tuition is among the lowest in the country, as UTRGV continues its commitment to providing access to a high-quality education at an affordable rate.    

“We want to make this level of education available to students of all backgrounds,” Morin said.  

Students interested in applying can do so online and email DPMAdmissions@utrgv.edu for more information.

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.