The Office of the President and the Hispanic Center of Excellence invite all faculty, staff, students, and public to attend the Hector P. Garcia Awards Luncheon celebrating the life of Hector P. Garcia, M.D., UTMB alumni, physician, veteran, community leader, and activist.

The awards celebrate Dr. Garcia, a distinguished 1940 graduate of the School of Medicine and civil rights champion. It also recognizes the student whose essay or abstract (poster) demonstrates both cultural competency and a commitment to providing quality health care to all.

All full-time UTMB students are eligible to submit essays or abstracts for the awards. You can read about Dr. Garcia at http://www.utmb.edu/drgarcia/.

Date: Friday, September 14, 2018, 11:30am to 1:00pm

Location: Levin Hall Dining Room


Guest Speaker: Barbara Canales

Barbara was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. She graduated from W.B. Ray High School (class of 1984, valedictorian), and then was accepted to attend the University of Texas, in Austin. After a full review of Barbara’s academic credentials, the University of Texas offered to Barbara its Presidential Scholarship Award as an incentive to secure her attendance. Barbara completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas in 1989 with a degree in Petroleum Engineering. She was then accepted into the University of Houston – School of Law – from which she earned her Juris Doctorate degree in 1992.

Barbara is a distinguished professional who is always engaged with her community. From 1992 through 2004, Barbara was co-owner of an independent oil and gas exploration and production company active in the development of natural gas reserves in South Texas. In 2004, she formed her own exploration and production company, Canales Exploration LLC; and later became a partner in Mother Ocean LLC (a real estate investment company). Presently, she is a practicing attorney, active with several businesses, and serving her third term as a Nueces County Commissioner for the Port of Corpus Christi (having been appointed by County Judge Loyd Neal). The Port of Corpus Christi is the fourth largest port in the United States by tonnage, and the country’s number one crude energy export port while earning the 2018 TCEQ Environmental Excellence Award.

Barbara serves on many distinguished boards in support of civic and non-profit organizations. She is one of three children of J.A. (Tony) and Yolanda Canales – a well-known South Texas family with a proud history of service to our community and country (Dr. Hector P. Garcia, and Dr. Cleo Garcia). Barbara is the mother of five beautiful adult children – Caroline, David, Natalie, Daniel, and Jacqueline.


The Hector P. Garcia Committee solicits applications from UTMB students for the Hector P. Garcia, M.D. Cultural Competence Essay Contest and the Abstract Contest.


All entrants must:

  • be in good academic standing
  • have demonstrated commitment to personal and professional development of cultural competency skills
  • have demonstrated leadership and service in cross-cultural activities
  • be enrolled as a full-time UTMB student
  • submit a written essay (1,500 words or less)


Essay Deadline - August 24

Register by going to http://tinyurl.com/lrtwa47.


Once registered, students must submit the following materials to be considered for the Hector P. Garcia, M.D. Cultural Competence Award:

  • A cover letter declaring the student's interest in being considered for the award and providing information on the student's leadership and service on cross-cultural activities.
  • An essay expressing the student's understanding of cultural competence as it relates to his or her ability to work with, conduct research with or treat people from diverse cultures. Students may write about their own personal experiences and the ways in which their understanding, attitudes and skills relative to cross-cultural issues have evolved. Essays should be typed double-spaced with 1.5" margins and should be 1,500 words or less.
    • Applicants should not include their names on their essays, only on the cover letter. Essay submissions will be evaluated in a "blind review" process.

Submit your cover letter and essay to hcoeinfo@utmb.edu.


Essay: The winner of the essay contest is presented with the award, as well as a $1,000 monetary award, at the annual luncheon. Invited guests usually include members of Dr. Garcia's family as well as a dynamic keynote speaker.


Essays will be judged by members of the Hector P. Garcia Essay Review Committee. The reviewers will evaluate the writer's personal understanding of cultural competency and how he or she applies it in the delivery of quality health care.


Students who are enrolled in any UTMB school are invited to submit an abstract for consideration as a poster presentation for the Hector P. Garcia Cultural Competence Ceremony. The abstract may have been submitted or presented at another local, state or national conference. The content should focus on underrepresented populations, health disparities, health equity, cultural competency, and cross-cultural issues.

All entrants must:

  • be in good academic standing
  • have demonstrated commitment to personal and professional development of cultural competency skills
  • have demonstrated leadership and service in cross-cultural activities
  • be enrolled as a full-time UTMB student
  • submit a written abstract (275 words)


Abstract Submission

Abstract Deadline August 17

Register by going to http://tinyurl.com/lrtwa47.

Abstracts should be double-spaced and structured using the following subheadings: Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Abstracts are limited to a maximum of 275 words, including subheadings. Author(s) must provide 4 to 6 keywords. All abstracts will be peer-reviewed. The abstract should be in MS Word format and must be submitted as an email attachment to: hcoeinfo@utmb.edu.

Notification of abstract review status will be sent by the announced date. If a student's abstract is accepted for presentation, the presenting author MUST submit poster (file or image) for review to Dr. Norma Perez at noaperez@utmb.edu by 5:00 PM on August 17, 2018, with final approval before August 31, 2018, MUST include signed permission of all authors to submit, and indicate who will present. Submission of an abstract implies a commitment to make a poster presentation at the Hector P. Garcia Cultural Competence Ceremony, therefore please make sure you understand what is required of you before submitting. The top ten abstracts selected for poster presentation will be showcased during the Hector P. Garcia Cultural Competency Ceremony. There will be an award of $500 for best poster. Best poster will be reviewed for content, clarity and presentation.



The Hector P. Garcia Essay Review Committee



Michael A. Ainsworth, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Educational Assessment
School of Medicine


Deborah J. Jones, Ph.D., M.S.N., R.N.
Senior Vice President, Dean and Professor
Rebecca Sealy Distinguished Centennial Chair
School of Nursing


David Niesel, Ph.D.
Vice President and Dean
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Lawrence E. Ethridge, Jr. Professor


José D. Rojas, Ph.D., R.R.T.
Associate Professor and Chairman
Department of Respiratory Care
School of Health Professions


Janet H. Southerland, D.D.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Vice President of Interprofessional Education
Institutional Effectiveness and the Health Education Center


Norma A. Pérez, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Director, Hispanic Center of Excellence
Office of Student Affairs and Admissions
School of Medicine

Sponsored by the Office of the President

Managed by the Hispanic Center of Excellence and School of Medicine Special Programs

For further information go to: https://www.utmb.edu/studentservices/hector-p-garcia-award

Or RSVP to Robin Baker: rlbaker@utmb.edu



For more information about the Hector P. Garcia Cultural Competence Award, contact Ms. Malinda Farmer at (409) 772-6958 or malfrarme@utmb.edu

Berengaria Navarre, MS, MFA
Center Manager
Malinda Farmer photo
Malinda Farmer
Special Programs Coordinator
For additional information, including past essay winners, photos, and videos, please visit www.utmb.edu/HCOE/HPGEvent.
Lee Hage Jamail Student Center

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