Texas Border Business
By Kelli Quin
RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – For 40 years, Drs. Subram and Elizabeth Krishnan have provided compassionate patient care and community service to the Rio Grande Valley.
During their medical careers, they have touched the lives of thousands of people throughout the region. Their volunteer work extends beyond the medical practice, serving the needs of those less fortunate along the South Texas border.
The couple’s devotion to healthcare inspired them to continue giving back to the community they love. Beyond their provision of health services, the Krishnans believe donating to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine provides the perfect opportunity to empower the next generation of physicians to transform the Rio Grande Valley.
The Krishnans have been generous donors to UTRGV since 2016. They first donated to the university through the President’s Circle, an annual giving program that supports the university’s areas of greatest need. In 2017, they established the Sujata G. Krishnan Endowed Chair in Neurosciences, followed by the Krishnan All-Around Physician Scholarship in 2018.
NEW INVESTMENT IN UTRGV
Their most recent investment in the School of Medicine is an award for outstanding fourth-year medical students. The Sumant “Butch” Krishnan M.D. Award for Outstanding All-Around Fourth-Year Medical Student funds the total cost of a medical student’s final year of schooling.
The award is reserved for top students who demonstrate compassion, community service, and academic brilliance. When naming this scholarship, the Krishnans were inspired by their son, a talented and well-rounded student throughout medical school, residency, and fellowship training.
“His accomplishments were recognized, but quietly,” said Dr. Elizabeth Krishnan.
“We thought, if there is someone who should be recognized for the work they’ve done, it should be him,” she continued. “This is our small way of letting him know that we are proud of him.”
Since its establishment in 2020, two UTRGV School of Medicine students have received the award.
The first recipient, Dr. Sahar Panjwani, will soon begin her residency in pediatric medicine at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif. Last year’s recipient was Dr. Alejandro Aquino, who will stay in the Rio Grande Valley to conduct his residency in internal medicine.
The award for the 2022-2023 class of fourth-year medical students will be announced in September.
In addition to their academic performance, students are considered for their contributions to research, community service, or service within the School of Medicine to support the student body.
The scholarship selection committee considers those students who are “committed to caring for vulnerable patients and underserved communities, in line with UTRGV’s mission,” said Dr. Michael B. Hocker, dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine and senior vice president for UT Health RGV.
GIVING MEDICAL STUDENTS THE COMPETITIVE EDGE
The Sumant “Butch” Krishnan M.D. Award for Outstanding All-Around Fourth-Year Medical Student is a prestigious scholarship that reduces student debt and helps distinguish recipients from their peers, giving them a competitive advantage during the residency program application process.
“In practical terms, the scholarship reduces their expenses and student debt—any amount that students receive in the form of scholarships or grants aids them tremendously,” said Dr. Stanley Fisch, UTRGV associate dean for Student Affairs and professor of Pediatrics.
Equally important, said Fisch, the scholarship helps students when it comes time to apply for residencies.
“Being able to point to the scholarship on their academic record, to say that they were the recipient of this prestigious scholarship speaks volumes, and residency program directors take note of it—it gives students an advantage in the competition for residency positions.”
The Krishnans are on a mission to bring critical funding to the UTRGV community and the medical field. Their years of continuous gifting support a stronger and healthier South Texas.
“Drs. Subram and Elizabeth Krishnan are an inspiration. Their generosity and support for our medical school and the Rio Grande Valley are transformational and critical to the advancement of healthcare in our region,” said Hocker.
Hocker continued, “Attending medical school is a large financial commitment that will impact students for years to come and potentially shape their career choices. Funding a student’s final year of medical school is life-changing – with this scholarship, we can recognize and award those students who excel in and out of the classroom.”
With tuition among the lowest in the country, the UTRGV School of Medicine is committed to keeping the cost affordable for talented and diverse students interested in serving communities like the RGV. The school utilizes a holistic review approach to admissions, which allows it to recruit exceptionally qualified and diverse students from across the nation. Dr. Hocker said the most recent entering class is comprised of 69 percent underrepresented minorities.
“We want the School of Medicine to train good physicians,” said Dr. Elizabeth Krishnan. “Train not just in excellent work, but [also] kindness and compassion – that is what makes you a physician.”
Dr. Subram Krishnan also hopes more physicians will stay to serve the Rio Grande Valley.
“We want as many [physicians] as possible to study here, specialize, and come right back and lift the standards of medical care in the Rio Grande Valley,” he said.