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McALLEN - A committed partnership with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is the city of McAllen which presented a “big check” on Friday, Nov. 15.

The million-dollar check is part of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2014 by McAllen Mayor Jim Darling in which Hidalgo County and other entities have committed to giving money annually to support the UTRGV School of Medicine.

“It’s a really exciting place when you think about what is happening here,” Darling said. “It gives me goosebumps to think about what we can do and what we can accomplish.”

The School of Medicine opened in 2016 and houses 210 medical students, serves 202 residents, employs 122 clinical providers and has 30 clinical locations throughout the Valley.

Dr. John Krouse, vice president for Medical Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine said the school is working on cutting edge research at the McAllen location in its Biomedical Research building.

“We were thrilled to open up the building earlier this year and one of the exciting things for us is that when we opened the building, all sixteen labs were full,” Krouse said. “In this building, we have a variety of cutting edge research going on in diabetes and obesity, neuroscience and retina for visual loss and chronic visual loss,” he added.

Dr. Krouse went on to acknowledge a special team from Tennessee who were present at the ceremonial check.

“We were very fortunate to attract Dr. Subash C. Chauhan and his team from the great state of Tennessee and we had their research team including faculty and postdoctoral fellows join us here where they’re doing cutting edge work in cancer and immunology,” Krouse said. “If you watch Dr. Alisson and the work done at MD Anderson and the Nobel Prize this past year - it was in the work of cancer and immunology and this is the kind of work were bringing to McAllen.”

UTRGV’s School of Medicine and its programs will serve as a clinical care center for all in the Valley.

“I want to thank the city of McAllen for keeping the commitment of supporting our medical school,” said Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa. “ This medical school is not just for Edinburg or McAllen; it is for the whole Valley. There are no boundaries in terms of the benefits received from it.”

The School of Medicine is increasing access to care and the range of care that residents may not have had before said Krouse.

The city of McAllen promises to be more than a donor to the school and believes they have achieved that by presenting the million dollar check to help support and ensure the success of it.

“We are thankful for McAllen’s financial support and we are thrilled that this money will be used specifically for our new cancer immunology program housed in our McAllen research center,” said Guy Bailey, President of UTRGV.

UTRGV School of Medicine Biomedical Research Building is located on 5300 N. L St., McAllen, TX.