Published Monday December 21, 2020
The University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio – now called the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio – and its primary clinical partner, University Hospital, opened within a couple of months of each other in 1968. Notably, the 1959 legislation that chartered the medical school had required that a teaching hospital be built within close proximity of the school.
From the beginning, then, the collaboration was set. When transplants began to be offered in 1970, medical school faculty operated in the surgical facilities of University Hospital.
And today, the collaboration continues to strengthen and grow.
“The 50 years of excellence in transplants, from founding leaders such as Dr. J. Bradley Aust and Dr. J. Kent Trinkle to where we are today, has taken place in a true partnership between our two fine institutions,” said Francisco G. Cigarroa, MD, director of the University Transplant Center, the collaborative transplant center of UT Health San Antonio and University Health.
“What this transplant center has accomplished cannot be done without the innovative and sustained support that the leadership at both institutions has provided to us,” he said.
Living donor liver and kidney transplants, for example, or the Center for Life to optimally preserve organs, require a great deal of infrastructure and personnel support by University Hospital, Dr. Cigarroa said.
Meanwhile, recruitment of world-class faculty for the transplant center requires trust and support from the Long School of Medicine, he added.
“Transplants are uniquely a multidisciplinary team effort,” Dr. Cigarroa said. “No one person can do it. It requires a family of talent and support and trust, and also the maturity to be involved in good, healthy debate to allow us to make the best decisions for patients and for the future of the transplant center.”
The partners’ support has also enabled University Transplant Center to open clinics in Laredo, Corpus Christi, the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Austin and El Paso where patients can be assessed as candidates for transplant.
“All of our firsts have really come about because of the combination of our academic institution and our hospital that trusted us and provided a good, quality foundation for clinical care, and the community and philanthropy that spurred our ideas to get even bigger,” Dr. Cigarroa said.