‘A Hidden Gem’

  Wednesday, February 7, 2024
  Giving, Health

By Saira Cabrera

HARLINGEN, TEXAS – FEB. 7, 2024 – "Help, please, it hurts!"

The distress call was coming from Joseph, a simulation patient, as UTRGV leaders toured the university’s simulation hospital in Harlingen, now renamed The UTRGV Drs. Subram G. and Elizabeth G. Krishnan Simulation Hospital.

The renaming was a gift from donors Subram G. Krishnan and Elizabeth G. Krishnan, medical doctors who have made it a priority to help support and transform healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey, during a small, private name unveiling announcement, said this was a very special event.

“Your impact on the university will be felt for generations,” he told the Krishnans, “Thank you for your commitment and generosity.”

Through a generous private donation, the Krishnans provided the resources to enhance the UTRGV Simulation Hospital. Retired practitioners and longtime supporters of UTRGV, they have prioritized improving healthcare in the Valley, primarily by supporting the enhancement of academic medicine and student success through the UTRGV School of Medicine.

UTRGV and local high school students can simulate a wide range of clinical challenges at the simulation hospital, from heart attacks to delivering babies. Hands-on simulation training will prepare future clinical health professionals at all levels for the work they will one day have with real-life patients.

Elizabeth G. Krishnan recalled her own time as a medical student and her concern for students in the Valley who have wanted to study medicine.

“I always wondered, 'how are they going to learn? How will they practice when they have patients? So, when I went through this simulation hospital, lab room by room, I was fascinated by all that our students will accomplish here;” she said.

“This hospital is truly fascinating, and it is amazing to think of what will be accomplished here," she said.

The simulation hospital opened to UTRGV in 2014 and serves approximately 500 students per year between the UTRGV School of Medicine, UTRGV School of Nursing, UTRGV School of Podiatric Medicine, and local high school students.

Dr. Michael B. Hocker, dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and senior vice president for UT Health RGV, said the Krishnans’ donation to the simulation hospital will be instrumental in helping train students to transform how healthcare is done in South Texas.

"Education is at the forefront of what we do at the UTRGV School of Medicine," Hocker said. "Simulation is vital to what we do today more than ever. In the past, when I trained, we practiced on patients. But through this simulation hospital, our students can learn those skills ahead of time. So, when we show up with real patients, we know how to do it and do it well."

The event also recognized another generous gift made by the Krishnans – a mobile simulation hospital van that will be able to travel and serve more students across the Valley. 

"So the folks who can't come into Harlingen can also have the opportunity to use these resources wherever they are," Hocker said.

Jesse Candanoza, a UTRGV medical simulation specialist, led a tour of UTRGV leaders and visitors along the simulation hospital's blue and beige checkered floor.

"Our students love it here. We're a hidden gem within the University – a gem that is transforming healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond,” he said.   


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.