Medical School to Open

January 5, 2017

The University of Incarnate Word is gearing up to open its new medical school in San Antonio this summer, and with it a residency program at Laredo Medical Center as soon as 2018.

This will be the first graduate medical school program ever located in Laredo, according to Enrique Gallegos, CEO of LMC.

UIW’s new school is the School of Osteopathic Medicine, which practices a philosophy that focuses on the whole body. Gallegos is optimistic about implementing an internal medicine program and family medicine program as part of the residency at LMC.

“Everyone knows Laredo is underserved; there is a critical need for family practice doctors,” Gallegos said.

From 2010 to 2015, Webb County’s population increased about 13 percent. The number of family practice doctors in Webb County during that time period decreased from 35 to 32, a 9 percent fall.

Dr. David Garza, a local family practice physician, has been working on coordinating this partnership between Incarnate Word and LMC for the past two years. Laredo needs twice as many family practice doctors than currently serve the area, he said. Family practice encompasses internal medicine, primary care, gynecology and pediatrics.

“We’re lacking in every area of medicine, but family care doctors are the first point of contact,” Garza said. “You’ve got to have a first line. Then you can go see a specialist.”

Both Garza and Gallegos are hopeful that bringing family medicine residents to Laredo will bolster the number of permanent family practice doctors working here.

Gallegos said it’s typical that a number of residents in any program will stay in the city where they’ve been assigned.

“Residents will stay. That’s a fact,” Garza said.


Read the entire story in the Laredo Morning Times.