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Medicine & Science
UTMB luncheon honors legacy of Dr. Hector P Garcia
by Ruth Ann Ruiz
Saturday, October 07, 2017

UTMBThe University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston on Friday hosted a luncheon and awards ceremony in the William C Levin Hall Dining Room. The event was facilitated by Norma A. Perez, MD. DrPh, Director of the Hispanic Center of Excellence.  Two medical students were honored with awards from the Hector P Garcia Foundation at UTMB.   

The annual awards ceremony and luncheon is held in honor of Dr. Hector P Garcia, a 1940 alumni of the medical school. Dr. Garcia served as an officer in the U.S. Army during WWII. Through his time in the military and as a young doctor, his experiences brought out his eagerness to work for civil rights for all people. As a physician, he believed no one should be denied health care and he treated patients regardless of their ability to remunerate him for his ervices.

Recipients of the awards must demonstrate their commitment to providing quality health care to all by incorporating cultural competence in their service to others.

Dr.David L. Callender, MD, MBA, FACS, President, UTMB Health spoke briefly introducing the keynote speaker, Mrs. Cecilia Garcia Akers, daughter of Dr. Garcia.  Mrs. Akers presented a narrative about her father’s life, sharing photos of her father and other loved ones from her recently published book, The Inspiring Life of Texan Hector P. Garcia. “He fibbed a little to get into the Army at just 15,” said Akers about her father. “He always took a negative and turned it into a positive and he taught his family to do the same.” 

The Cultural Competence Award was granted to Stephanie Tutak, a 4th year medical student. for her essay focused on medical care of an impoverished, African-American female patient who had been diagnosed with HIV.  

Florentino Saenz, was presented with an award for his poster depicting his work in the Rio Grande Valley. His project focused on reducing stress levels and investigated  the effects of yoga and other body management techniques on the levels of cortisol in the participants. 

Dr. Callender encouraged the attendees to be more like Dr. Garcia as providers of health care, showing sensitivity to diverse cultures and being willing to make negative experiences into positive ones.

Remembering Jim Guidry GRCC M3 Global Medical Missions

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