News from the Department of Surgery
President Francisco Cigarroa Elected to Institute of Medicine
The National Academies, independent advisers to the nation on science, engineering and medicine, today announced the election of Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. This is a wonderful and well-deserved honor for him, as well as for our Health Science Center. Dr. Cigarroa joins Bettie Sue Siler Masters, Ph.D., as Institute of Medicine members from the Health Science Center. Dr. Masters, the Robert A. Welch Foundation Distinguished Professor in Chemistry in the department of biochemistry, was elected to the IOM in 1996.
The National Academies consist of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council. Election recognizes those who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health, and is considered one of the highest honors in these fields. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 to honor professional achievement in the health sciences and to serve as a national resource for independent analysis and recommendations on issues related to medicine, biomedical sciences and health. Topics of study are aging, child health, diseases, education, environment, food and nutrition, global health, health sciences, health care and quality, mental health, military and veterans, minority health, public health and prevention, public policy, treatment, women's health and the workplace.
Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., Ph.D., the Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Patricia K. Donahoe, M.D., the Marshall K. Bartlett Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, nominated Dr. Cigarroa for the IOM's administration of health services, education and research section. Dr. Cigarroa will provide specific expertise for the health policy/science leadership, advocacy and/or consulting subsection.
His nominators placed special emphasis on Dr. Cigarroa's leadership in designing, funding and implementing the expansion of health professional education and research along the Texas-Mexico border through the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen and Edinburg. "These effective skills can be used at the national level to reinforce the IOM's emphasis on public health and health disparities," Drs. Starzl and Donahoe wrote. "As one of the nation's highest-ranking Hispanic medical leaders, Dr. Cigarroa is now a primary spokesman for health issues relating to the nationally growing Hispanic and under-represented populations."
Dr. Cigarroa, a graduate of Yale and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, completed 12 years of postgraduate training at Harvard and Johns Hopkins. He joined the Health Science Center department of surgery in 1995 and was named president by The University of Texas System Board of Regents in October 2000. He has presided over a period of significant advancement for the Health Science Center, including development of the nationally recognized Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, the Regional Academic Health Center, the Laredo Campus Extension and the Children's Cancer Research Institute.
Dr. Cigarroa, who as president concurrently serves as professor of pediatric and transplantation surgery, has participated in a number of surgical advancements, including leading the team that performed South Texas' first pediatric small bowel transplant at University Hospital in July 2000. His leadership and expertise was recognized by President George W. Bush, who appointed him as a member of the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science.