The American Medical Association Foundation on Nov. 10 honored Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., professor of pediatric and transplant surgery at UT Health San Antonio, with the AMA Foundation Award for Health Education. Dr. Cigarroa has spent his career as a physician, educator and administrator, contributing to the development of medical students and residents over his 35 years in medicine.
The award recognizes the exemplary work of physicians who have made impactful contributions to the field of medical education.
“Francisco Cigarroa has dedicated his career to furthering the availability and quality of medical education and medical care across the state of Texas,” said AMA Foundation President Patricia Austin, M.D. “His work to expand The University of Texas medical system will continue to benefit students and patients for years to come.”
During his time as president of UT Health San Antonio (2000-2009), Dr. Cigarroa oversaw development of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), the progenitor of the first medical school in the South Texas border region. Then, as chancellor of The University of Texas System (2009-2015), Dr. Cigarroa oversaw the creation of The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) School of Medicine. The latter approval culminated the significant journey to expand the RAHC from early seeds of progress to a full-fledged medical school. The UTRGV School of Medicine welcomed its charter class of 55 medical students in the summer of 2016. UT Health San Antonio, the UT System and the Texas Legislature were proud partners in the school’s establishment.
Even while serving in prestigious administrative roles in San Antonio and Austin, Dr. Cigarroa never stopped practicing, seeing patients and performing surgery. Today he is director of liver transplantation surgery and director of pediatric transplantation surgery at the University Transplant Center, a clinical partnership of UT Health San Antonio and University Health System.
“I am extremely grateful to the AMA Board of Trustees and the AMA Foundation Board of Directors for conveying to me the AMA Foundation Award for Health Education,” Dr. Cigarroa said. “I accept this award on behalf of the outstanding faculty and staff both at UT Health San Antonio and at The University of Texas System, because many of my accomplishments have been based on teamwork.
“I am also grateful to The University of Texas System Board of Regents for their wisdom in approving both the Dell Medical School and the School of Medicine at UTRGV,” Dr. Cigarroa said.
The AMA presented the award to Dr. Cigarroa during the 2018 AMA Interim Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland.