MCA Foundation News
May 20th, 2013
Gov. Rick Perry has signed S.B. 120 into law, making Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) at El Paso the fourth university under the TTU System. The announcement came today (May 20). TTUHSC at El Paso joins Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (headquartered in Lubbock) and Angelo State University as a freestanding institution of the TTU System.
El Paso is home to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine and the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, each of which will graduate its first class of students during the May TTUHSC commencement ceremonies. TTUHSC at El Paso is also home to a Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
Preparations for the transition from a regional campus to a freestanding university with degree-granting authority have been underway since 2011. The TTU System Board of Regents gave its approval for undertaking this initiative in May 2012.
As an independent university, TTUHSC... [more]
May 10th, 2013
On Tuesday, May 7, the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation, in conjunction with the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, presented the region’s first-ever “State of Life Sciences” Address & Luncheon. About 180 business people and healthcare industry stakeholders attended to hear a panel of speakers who represent five of the region’s research institutions. The panelists summarized their institutions’ research activities, giving the audience an understanding of how the emerging life sciences community affects the regional economy.
Panelists were Emma W. Schwartz of the MCA Foundation, Robert Kirken, PhD, of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), J. Manuel de la Rosa, MD, of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso, Vimal Chaitanya, PhD, of New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, Hector Balcazar of the University of Texas School of Public Health's El Paso campus, and Lt. Col. Sheryl Bedno, MD, of William Beaumont... [more]
May 8th, 2013
The Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation has announced Albert Di Rienzo of New York as the executive director of El Paso’s BioMedical Institute of the Americas (BMIA). Di Rienzo is the co-founder, president and CEO of technology accelerator Blue Highway Inc. at Syracuse University. Prior to that, he was the former chief science and technology officer at medical equipment maker Welch Allyn. In 2009, the Technology Alliance of Central New York named him Technologist of the Year. He has a degree in computer science and, in recent years, has become an expert on biological terrorism threats.
In an interview with the El Paso Times, Di Rienzo said he took the El Paso job because he sees the BMIA as being "an incredible platform for innovation."
Di Rienzo, 54, was among six people from across the country interviewed for the job. Because this position will have regional impact, the selection of... [more]
April 24th, 2013
The MCA Tech Park, Inc., a subsidiary of Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation, selected PhiloWilke Partnership as the architecture firm that will design the MCA Biomedical Research and Technology Building (BRTB). The building will be the first of a series of structures destined for construction on a 13-acre research park located within the MCA campus in El Paso, Texas, near Raynolds Street and Interstate 10. The MCA has also chosen Broaddus & Associates to serve as the program manager for the BRTB and Broaddus Planning to master plan the 13-acre research park. MCA Tech Park will announce the selection of the construction manager for the project on May 24 and will issue a request for proposals for a Commissioning Agent on April 30.
To keep tabs on the progress of the BRTB and the biomedical research park, subscribe to Synapse, the region’s life... [more]
April 4th, 2013
The Medical Center of the Americas may be watching its twin development in South Texas. Austin civic leaders and University of Texas officials have begun talks to foster a biotech hub near the planned medical school in South Texas. The Austin American-Statesman published a story recently about the vision to attract biotech startups and other life science companies to the area.
Meanwhile, Steven Leslie, UT’s executive vice president and provost, said officials anticipate enrolling the first class of medical students around 2016, assuming classroom and research buildings are constructed in time. Work to establish the medical school has accelerated since approval in November by Travis County voters of a property tax increase to help fund it. The effort gained more momentum in January with the announcement that the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation would donate $50 million. The school will be known as the Dell Medical School.
A committee is being organized... [more]
March 25th, 2013
The BioMedical Institute of the Americas is organizing the region’s first-ever Biomedical Research Symposium. The symposium will convene biomedical scientists, researchers, clinicians, graduate students and other medical professionals from across the region. The purpose will be to motivate and facilitate inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations that can lead to biomedical innovations or solutions. The Institute is prepared to award collaboration grants of $10,000 to groups that spin out of the symposium with viable projects. Continuing education credits will be available. The one-day symposium will take place Oct. 26 in the Camino Real Hotel, downtown El Paso. Event sponsors and exhibitors are now being accepted.
The BioMedical Institute of the Americas is a nonprofit subsidiary of the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation. The Institute was established in 2012 by the MCA Foundation as part of its vision: to position the Paso del Norte region as the global leader of health... [more]
March 21st, 2013
El Paso City Council recently approved the city’s portion of funding to implement railroad quiet zones within the MCA campus. Union Pacific allocated $1.32 million to the project with the city providing $1.4 million. The MCA quiet zone project was initiated five years ago by the office of city representative Emma Acosta. Updates will continue to be posted at mcaSynapse.org/mca-news as the project is designed and constructed.
“This is a major win for the MCA campus and an important part of transforming the neighborhood into an academic medical setting,” said Emma W. Schwartz, president of the MCA Foundation, the nonprofit organization that works to advance the development of the MCA campus and the region’s biomedical innovation pipeline.
MCA campus gets closer to designation as a railroad quiet zone [orginally posted Dec. 12, 2012]
Emma Acosta, city representative for East-Central El Paso, recently announced to the MCA Foundation board of... [more]
March 8th, 2013
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that a “hurdle was cleared” on Mar. 6 at the Texas Capitol. The Texas Senate Committee on Higher Education discussed Senate Bill 120, which relates to the creation of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center at El Paso as a component institution of the Texas Tech University System. The committee unanimously passed the bill to send the item to the full Senate.
The TTU system currently has three components: Texas Tech, Angelo State University and Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. The Health Sciences Center is a seven-school university located in Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Lubbock, Midland and Odessa.
The El Paso component institution would employ those already working at the regional campus in El Paso. The only additional hires would be a president and his or her staff. No additional state funding would be needed from the state, either.
January 18th, 2013
The Medical Center of the America (MCA) Foundation has launched an initiative that will result in the creation of a unified identity for the region’s life sciences community. A seminal meeting regarding this initiative took place Jan. 16 with industry leaders and stakeholders who agreed that this is to be a formative year for the industry. Subsequent meetings of the “Life Sciences Communicators” will continue over the course of this year as the group begins to learn more about who they are as an community. Immediate goals for the group will be to create a unified message and identity that can be used in regional promotional materials, at industry conferences and other presentations. The ultimate objective of the MCA initiative is to distinguish El Paso’s binational bioplex from other... [more]
January 11th, 2013
On Friday, Jan. 11, the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation presented a check for $612,000 to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso. The money is the first of 18 installments for a total $11 million that will go toward construction of a new facility that will house the TTUHSC Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing.
MCA Foundation president Emma W. Schwartz presented the check to Dr. J. Manuel de la Rosa, founding dean of the TTUHSC Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, and to Jeanne M. Novotny, PhD, the founding dean of the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing. (pictured left)
Frank Stout, associate academic dean for Finance and Administration at TTUHSC, and Carlos Ortega, CFO of the MCA Foundation, were also present at the meeting.
TTUHSC is planning to break ground on the 22,000-square-foot building (32,000 gross square feet) sometime before... [more]