At Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, we are always celebrating the accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni. In 2019, we have all that to celebrate and more, as the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine enters its 10th year of delivering an unparalleled educational experience for students from West Texas and around the world.

Seating its first class of 40 students in 2009, the Foster School of Medicine was the cornerstone of what would, in 2013, become TTUHSC El Paso – an independent university within the Texas Tech University System.

In addition to the school of medicine, we are home to the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Since becoming a standalone institution, TTUHSC El Paso has prepared more than 375 nurses, 28 graduate students and more than 320 doctors for their careers in health care.

In 2021, we will welcome the first students to the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine.

As a leader in health education and research on the U.S.-Mexico border, TTUHSC El Paso is dedicated to delivering a world-class educational experience, while encouraging our students to immerse themselves in everything – languages, culture, diversity – that makes our region unique. Our students do this by volunteering to care for borderland residents while training to become physicians, nurses and researchers. Students also learn medical Spanish language skills as part of their curriculum, which further demonstrates their commitment to serving this region.

This month, we hold commencement ceremonies for the classes of 2019 of all three schools. It’s an opportunity to reflect on our graduates’ accomplishments and all they have graciously offered our community during their time at TTUHSC El Paso.

The Hunt School of Nursing honors 52 graduates who have completed our accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program. Many will find employment in El Paso and nearby communities, helping to alleviate the nursing shortage in our region. Also, 10 graduates of the R.N. to B.S.N. program will be recognized for their success in taking their nursing education to a higher level.

Our Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences celebrates the achievements of 18 graduates who earned master of science degrees, as well as seven graduates of our post-baccalaureate certificate program. These are researchers prepared to investigate treatments for diseases and conditions that disproportionally affect our region, such as breast and colon cancer, obesity and Type 2 diabetes, infectious diseases and mental illnesses.

From the Foster School of Medicine, we honor 101 doctor of medicine recipients. These proud graduates will begin specialty training at residencies across the country. I’m pleased to say the class of 2019 includes a record 16 doctors who were matched with residencies in El Paso. Residents often remain where they train, so this is a wonderful reflection of our mission to increase the number of physicians in the El Paso region.

As dean of the school of medicine, I’m proud to have witnessed how the school has grown and the number of talented physicians it has educated in its first decade. This includes members of the Foster School of Medicine’s inaugural class, some of whom have returned to El Paso after completing their training and residencies.

Of course, as we spend 2019 celebrating the school of medicine’s 10-year milestone, we look toward the future and how TTUHSC El Paso will continue to be a solution for the problem of health care disparities in El Paso and West Texas.

Dr. Richard Lange is president of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and dean of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.