OP-ED from the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2006
CONTACT: Melissa del Bosque (512) 463-0120, cell 947-4046

OP-ED: Regional Academic Health Center

April 25th will be a memorable day for the Rio Grande Valley because it marks the opening of the Regional Academic Health Center Medical Research Division in Edinburg.

This 49,437 square-foot facility will house scientists and researchers from around the globe who will be conducting vital molecular research on some of our most troubling chronic and infectious diseases such as TB and diabetes, putting the Rio Grande Valley on the cutting edge of medical research both nationally and internationally.

The RAHC Medical Research Division will have 15 full-time scientists, plus numerous junior scientists pursuing their PhDs. In tandem with the medical research division, UTPA will offer a cooperative pharmacy program, which will be the first pharmacy school of its kind south of San Antonio.

As a legislator representing the people of the Rio Grande Valley for nearly 20 years, I have long battled to bring resources and educational institutions to our communities. As the sponsor of SB 606 in the House back in 1997, my fellow Valley legislators and I fought for funding with the goal in mind that one day South Texas would have top notch medical education and research facilities.

That goal has finally come to fruition through the hard work and collaboration of our local government leaders, the University of Texas Health Science Center, Valley legislators and our communities. We now have 47 doctors that have graduated from the RAHC Medical Education Division in Harlingen, and some of those same medical graduates will now do their residencies in the Valley, helping solve the chronic shortage of doctors along the border.

The opening of the RAHC Medical Research Division in Edinburg will also mean that new pharmacists and scientists will be attracted to the Rio Grande Valley and our sons and daughters will have the opportunity to receive a pharmacy, science or medical degree in their own communities. It will also mean significant economic development for the Valley, offering long-term jobs and entry into the multi-million dollar biotechnology industry.

We are one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation, and we are a vital and economically dynamic region. As someone who was born in the Rio Grande Valley and who has spent his life trying to create more opportunities for the border, I am proud of our advancements and our achievements. The RAHC will not only benefit us today but for generations to come.

State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, represents the people of District 20, which includes Nueces, Hidalgo, Brooks and Jim Wells counties.

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