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      Plans announced for RGV Med School

      The University of Texas made a big announcement Friday that will have a huge impact on the Rio Grande Valley and its influence on the future of medicine.

      "We are going to build an independent medical school in south Texas, announced UT system Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa at a news conference in Edinburg Friday.

      In 2018 the University of Texas system will graduate its first medical school class in the Rio Grande Valley.

      The first class may only have 15 students but eventually the med school will have its own president and its own independent, freestanding, comprehensive research-intensive institution.

      Cigarroa says unlike other U-T med schools this one will serve a much larger area.

      "It is truly going to be a medical school that serves a region and not a city. Cigarroa said. It's a different model than Dallas, San Antonio or Houston; it's the model for the future."

      Strong supporter of the school in the Texas legislature, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D) says he foresees it expanding into much more than a med school.

      I personally envision the school of dentistry, an institute for diabetes studies, and so many other things that will create tens of thousands of jobs in the future and will give our students here in the valley the opportunity to become professional doctors, Lucio said.

      The school will soon establish its physical footprint in both Cameron and Hidalgo County, including at the University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Regional Academic Health Center on the UTPA campus.

      The first students who graduate will be med students who started in San Antonio and receive their third and fourth year of training in the valley.