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Legacy Leaders: Francisco Cigarroa

                Legacy Leader Dr. Francisco Cigarroa ...

Cigarroa Honored by Local BioTech Industry
September 19, 2014

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It was a homecoming last night as retiring University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa was honored last night by the city's thriving health care and biomedical industry for his contributions to the biosciences, Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason reports.

Kenneth Trevett, who is the chairman of the non profit umbrella group Biomed SA, says Cigarroa is eminently qualified to receive the Palmaz Award, which is named for pioneering U.T. Health Science Center professor Julio Palmaz, who is the inventor of the most widely used heart stent.

"When you look back on the accomplishments of this city and what is going on now, we developed Palmaz Stent, which is considered one of the ten patents that changed the world," Trevett said.

And Dr. Cigarroa was honored for what he has done to change the world. The practicing pediatric transplant surgeon has been the President of the UTHSC, and, as Chancellor of the U.T. System Board of Regents, Cigarroa was instrumental in creating a new medical school in the Rio Grande Valley.

"Dr. Cigarroa is a very good example of a man who has innovated through his policy development, and through the opening of two new medical schools, one in Austin and one in South Texas," Trevett said. "It is an honor to celebrate him."

Dr. William Henrich, who succeeded Cigarroa as head of the UTHSC, says Cigarroa's contributions to medicine will live on for decades.

"The ground that Dr. Cigarroa has broken, both figuratively and literally, to establish a new university and medical school in the Rio Grande Valley, I predict, will stand as one of his outstanding legacies and will be seen as a game changer for education, student access, and economic growth for South Texas."

Dr. Cigarroa has stepped down as Chancellor and plans to resume his pediatric practice in San Antonio and Laredo.

Trevett says several innovations have come out of the local biomedical industry.

"The high frequency ventilator, we developed the titanium rib which has saved thousands of lives internationally. Now we are working on Alzheimer's over at UTSA, we're working on Ebola at Texas BioMed."

Health care and the biosciences remains the largest single employer in metro San Antonio, accounting for more than 100,000 or the 1.06 million full time workers in the metro.

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