MMC Foundation donates $25,000 to UTPA Nursing Program
Posted: 02/18/2004
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The McAllen Medical Center Foundation has decided to do their part and help alleviate the shortage of medical professionals in the Rio Grande Valley by donating $25,000 to The University of Texas-Pan American/ Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities and Scholarships (VAMOS) Program.

The McAllen Medical Foundation presented a $25,000 check to The University of Texas-Pan American Foundation Tues., Feb. 17. The money will go towards student scholarships. Picture above from left to right are Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs; Chris Smolik, COO of the Texas Health System; and John Schrock, chairman of the McAllen Medical Center Foundation.
This is the third year the McAllen Medical Foundation has contributed to the program and in turn, the UTPA Foundation has matched the funds for a total of $50,000 to go toward student scholarships for those interested in pursuing a career in the medical field, particularly nursing.

"Through the VAMOS program here at the University, the $25,000 which we have given for the last three years becomes $50,000 and that $50,000 simply translates into at least 10 scholarships a year for 10 deserving young people that want to go to college and pursue some sort of a medical related education," said John Schrock Sr., chairman of the MMC Foundation. "They will be able to go and become very productive local citizens, and hopefully won't move off, and stay here and help bring this Valley further along than it already is."

The scholarship fund will go toward the UTPA Nursing Program in an effort to produce the nurses needed to meet the critical shortage.

Chris Smolick, COO of the South Texas Health System, was also on hand to present the check to the University Feb. 17 at the International Trade and Technology Building. He said the South Texas Health System, which is made up of Edinburg Regional Medical Center, McAllen Medical Center, McAllen Heart Hospital, South Texas Behavioral Health Center and South Texas Rehabilitation Pavilion, is currently looking to hire more than 80 nursing positions.

"We have such a critical shortage of health care professionals in our community that our health system alone has 120 openings for health care professionals in most of the disciplines," Smolik said. "Our business is a lot like any other business, you do all you possibly can to number one, create jobs hopefully for these individuals and number two, create access to education for people that are out there. We are proud of our participation with this program and as Mr. Schrock said I think this is our third year in a long line of many years of our support."

Roland S. Arriola, UTPA vice president for External Affairs, said the UTPA Foundation is grateful for the generous contribution and he hopes that other corporations, businesses and organizations follow in the footsteps of the MMC Foundation and make a difference in the education of Valley students.

This new scholarship fund will benefit South Texas Community College students, who transfer to UTPA. This is the third installment of a 10-year commitment to scholarships by the McAllen Medical Center Foundation to UTPA.

"This is an opportunity for us to help STCC students transfer to UTPA. A lot of times what happens is that STCC students, who are top students, have support during the two years there, but when they are seeking to transfer they often find there are no scholarships for them," Arriola said. "This allows us the opportunity to provide scholarships for those individuals that are transferring from STCC every year."