U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, commended the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its first class of doctors in a speech before the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday in Washington.
The 2020 graduating class consists of 39 students reflecting the diversity of the nation, according to a statement from the congressman’s office, with the majority of the class hailing from Texas and South Texas.
The UTRGV School of Medicine now has more than 200 medical students and over 200 medical residents and fellows being trained throughout the Rio Grande Valley, the statement read.
“The establishment of the UTRGV School of Medicine followed decade-long efforts to ensure that Rio Grande Valley residents have access to quality healthcare services, an important milestone for the region,” Vela said at the capitol. “From 1997 to 2009, a regional academic health center was opened in efforts to build the resources and healthcare infrastructure were launched. The success of these efforts resulted in the Texas Legislature approving the creation of a medical school in 2013. In 2015, the UTRGV School of Medicine received preliminary accreditation, which allowed the university to recruit its first medical school class.”
Vela went on to compliment the 39 prospective graduates in his speech.
“The class of 2020 has established a precedent of success and excellence for the UTRGV School of Medicine and for all future classes to emulate,” he said. “The inaugural class will receive their doctor of medicine on May 9, 2020, where they will then go on to complete specialised residency training across the country, including in South Texas.”
The congressman also described the importance of the medical school.
“The UTRGV School of Medicine class of 2020 is the future of health care not only for the Rio Grande Valley, but for this country,” he said. “Congratulations to the university for their success and to these future physicians, thank you for choosing to be our nation’s healers.”