Thursday, March 7, 2024
  Community, Around Campus, Grants

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – MARCH 7, 2024 – Resident physician opportunities at the UTRGV School of Medicine will be expanded by a $17.5 million grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The funding spans the 2024-2025 academic year and bolsters expansion of the UTRGV School of Medicine’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs by offering new residency options within the community.

The School of Medicine’s goal is to increase its resident training capacity by academic year 2025 with  additional programs in multiple new specialties.

Dr. Chelsea Chang, associate dean of GME programs at the School of Medicine, emphasized the significance of the school’s GME programs.

"Our GME programs are vital to our school's mission," she said. "The continued success of these programs helps in our mission to transform the health of the Rio Grande Valley."

The School of Medicine’s GME programs provide advanced academic medicine and continue shaping the future of medical education through five distinct pillars:

  • Innovative education.
  • Life-changing research and discoveries.
  • High-quality patient-centered care.
  • Serving the community.
  • Sustainability and a culture of entrepreneurship.


Chang said UTRGV’s GME programs stand out for their collaborative approach, with several programs established through partnerships between the UTRGV School of Medicine and hospitals across the Valley. Those programs train resident physicians in a variety of specialties and contribute significantly to improving the region’s healthcare landscape.

The School of Medicine has continued accreditation as a sponsoring institution with eight fully accredited Academic Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) programs.

Based on those GME programs, resident physicians are undergoing training in residency and fellowship programs at Valley hospitals, including Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen, Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville, Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, and Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco.

Dr. Michael Hocker, dean of UTRGV School of Medicine, said the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s support in enabling expansion of UTRGV’s GME programs has been instrumental in the development of new programs and specialty offerings.

“We appreciate the THECB's ongoing commitment to academic medicine and their investment in initiatives that help combat the physician shortage in Texas," Hocker said. " These contributions will ensure we continue expanding academic medicine and improving healthcare services in Valley."

The $17.5 million grant signifies a pivotal moment for the School of Medicine in affirming its commitment to advancing medical education and healthcare services in South Texas, he said.  

“This will help nurture a new generation of healthcare professionals dedicated to serving and transforming the health of the Rio Grande Valley,” Hocker 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.