EDITORIAL: McAllen payment to UTRGV medical school is good for RGV

Spending taxpayer’s money should make elected officials uncomfortable. If not, they aren’t taking their role seriously.

Therefore we appreciate the hesitation and lengthy questions from some McAllen City Commissioners on Monday night as they debated whether to give the UTRGV School of Medicine $1 million, as part of their promised annual commitment to support this important institution.

In the end, all but one voted for it (and one abstained,) and we believe they made the right decision.

The money is to be used for a cancer immunology program based in McAllen that will study cervical cancer. Specifically, it will study cancer rates and causes among Hispanic women, School of Medicine Dean John Krouse told Monitor reporter Mitchell Ferman.

“It’s meant to look at the science behind cervical cancer in women,” Krouse said.

Once fully running, clinical care and hopefully new treatments could come. And that certainly would benefit the Rio Grande Valley, a region with a high rate of cervical cancer patients.

More importantly, because of the high Hispanic population here, this research facility will be able to study how ethnicity plays a role in this killer disease. And hopefully that will some day help to benefit women across the nation, and world.

We applaud the City of McAllen for fulfilling its previous commitment to the UTRGV medical school and making this annual payment of $1 million. We recognize that it’s been a touchy subject, especially after the university failed to put an administration headquarters in the city, as originally expected.

But with each expansion project, such as this, UTRGV President Guy Bailey has demonstrated his willingness to reach out and include all of the communities within Hidalgo and Cameron Counties.

Ultimately it’s this type of strategy that will benefit our Rio Grande Valley region — as a whole — much better than trying to appease various smaller entities and fiefdoms.

As we have repeatedly said, we must think regionally and work together regionally in order to attract more state and federal funds and bigger businesses and industries.

Kudos to the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, which fully promotes this type of strategy and which is working to entice more healthcare industries to our region.

After decades of successfully recruiting maquiladora industries to the RGV, setting its sights on attracting healthcare companies should certainly improve revenue gains. Furthermore, many of the maquiladoras here on the border are already equipped with robotic technology, which is an essential part of the modern healthcare industry. Working together, these fields could provide explosive economic growth.

Maybe then, our leaders wouldn’t need to stress so much over making a $1 million payment (although we appreciate that they do.)

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