Health Professions

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Academic Level
Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus


The Office of Health Professions Career (OHPC) strives to level the playing field for Hispanic students by providing information, guidance, assistance, premedical studies, and standardized test preparation. Moreover, an annual schedule of activities promotes contact between UTB/TSC students and the medical community, as well as medical and research institutions. Since its inception in 2003, there has been an ongoing development of pre-medical and research track curriculum for students pursuing admission into medical, dental, graduate and allied health profession schools, ensuring a current curriculum in accordance with national standards. Mentoring is a key component of the program, which encourages students interested in medical studies to experience diverse clinical environments and engage in research with basic scientists and clinicians. OHPC fosters a close working relationship with a broad array of universities and area physicians, as well as with centers and divisions within UTB/TSC including the Student Advising Center, the Division of Student Services, and New Student Relations. OHPC works cooperatively and collaboratively with its partner institutions to provide integrated programs that transition students into professional health pathways beyond UTB/TSC.

Program Description

According to the American Medical Association, Hispanics made up only 3.2% of active physicians in the United States in 2004. In order to address these challenges in the South Texas Valley region, OHPC focuses on increasing the acceptance rate and promoting the success of students seeking admission into medically related careers in graduate or professional schools.


In 2005-07, the number of students in the Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP) increased from four to 21 since 2001. In the last two years, 13 students joined physician assistant programs, one student was accepted to a dentistry program and three students joined the physical therapy program at different institutions of higher education throughout the state. In 2005-2006, 51 students benefited from enrichment and research programs. Through the efforts of The UTB/TSC Enrollment Planning Office and OPEP, the number of students registering for biology courses has increased by 103% over 2002 enrollment figures. The number of bachelor degrees issued in biology, since 2002, has increased 181%. According to recent data from 2006, there are 354 students declared as biology majors, of which 251 are pre-health profession students. This is a significant increase from the numbers seen when OPEP was first initiated in 2002, in which there were only 131 declared biology majors. A comparison of fall to fall freshmen retention rates for all UTB/TSC students and premedical program students suggests that premedical program retention rates have on average been 35-40% higher than the overall first time freshmen retention rate for UTB/TSC. The high retention rate and the consistent increase in student enrollment and graduation speak to the effectiveness of the program.

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