Inaugural dean at UTRGV’s School of Medicine to be introduced to Valley community


Dr. Francisco Fernandez, who has been selected to assume the historic position of founding dean for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s much-anticipated School of Medicine, will visit the region on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Fernandez will be introduced by UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., and Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at UT Health Science Center - San Antonio, at a 10 a.m. news conference in the auditorium of the UT Regional Academic Health Center, 2102 Treasure Hills Blvd., Harlingen. They will be joined by Dr. Ray Greenberg, UT System’s executive vice chancellor for health affairs, Board of Regents Vice Chairman and special liaison on South Texas Projects Gene Powell and Regent Ernie Aliseda. 

Fernandez is currently professor and chairman of psychiatry and neurosciences at the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa.

He is returning to Texas, where he was a faculty member at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, UT Health Science Center – Houston and Baylor College of Medicine from 1984 to 1997. He joined Loyola University of Chicago in 1997 and the University of South Florida in 2002, serving as the chairman of psychiatry at each institution. In Tampa, he also directs the Institute for Research in Psychiatry and Neurosciences.

Fernandez is an expert in the brain’s relationship to behavior. He currently serves as first vice president of The American College of Psychiatrists and was the recipient of the Simón Bolívar award of the American Psychiatric Association for his work in Hispanic communities.

Fernandez will also be introduced to faculty, students and community leaders on the campuses of UT Pan American and UT Brownsville on Wednesday.  Accompanied by the same UT officials who will participate in the morning news conference, Fernandez will be introduced at UT Pan American’s University Ballroom at 12:15 p.m. and in Salon Cassia at UT Brownsville’s Main (formerly the Education and Business Complex) at 2:15 p.m.

Media are welcome at any or all three events and are asked to contact the UT System public affairs office if attending the campus receptions.

Cigarroa will also stay for an informal question and answer session with faculty, staff and students at UT Brownsville on Wednesday afternoon. He’ll meet with faculty and staff from 3:15 to 4 p.m. and with students from 4:15 to 5 p.m. on the Veranda at UTB Main. Students, staff and faculty from both UT Brownsville and UT Pan American are welcome to attend.

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