Hector P. Garcia Cultural Competence Awards

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

The awards celebrate 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/.



Submit all materials no later than 5:00 PM, Monday, August 15, 2016.


The winner of the essay contest will be presented with the award, as well as a $1,000 monetary award, at the annual luncheon. Invited guests include members of Dr. Garcia's family, and our special guest speaker, Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Prevention for the American Heart Association (AHA).


All entrants must:

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


To be considered for the award, students must first 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 inlcude 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.


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



DEADLINE: July 15, 2016

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.

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 July 19, 2016. If student's abstract is accepted for presentation, the presenting author MUST submit poster for review to Dr. Norma Perez at noaperez@utmb.edu by Friday, August 26th at 5:00 PM. 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 Committee

Essay Reviewers

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

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

Dorothy Pearrow
Dorothy Pearrow, M.S.W., M.Ed.
Director of Admissions and Student Affairs
School of Nursing

Dr. Michael Ainsworth
Michael A. Ainsworth, M.D.
Vice Dean for Academic Affairs
School of Medicine


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

Dr. Rebecca Saavedra
Rebecca Saavedra, Ed.D.
Vice President for Strategic Management
Office of the President


Sponsored by the Office of the President

Managed by the Hispanic Center of Excellence
Click here to visit the Hispanic Center of Excellence web page


For more information about the Hector P. Garcia Cultural Competence Award, contact Ms. Berengaria Navarre at (409) 772-2780 or bcnavarr@utmb.edu

.Berengaria Navarre
Berengaria Navarre, MS, MFA
Center Manager