Blas Castañeda and Dr. Joaquin Cigarroa, Jr.

LAREDO, Texas – The Mid Rio Grande Border Area Health Education Center is honoring two of its founder members at a dinner in Laredo on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

The group was set up in 1993 and Dr. Joaquin Cigarroa, Jr., and Blas Castañeda were there at the start.

AHEC’s 2017 Academic Programs Dinner takes place in the St. Augustine Ballroom at La Posada Hotel in Laredo from 6:00pm – 9:00pm on Sept. 27.

Julie Bazan, AHEC executive director, said Cigarroa and Castañeda are being honored for their strong support and commitment to AHEC during its early years.

She said AHEC is one of numerous great programs that are the result of the work done by individuals with vision, passion and love for their community, For this reason, Bazan said, the AHEC board of directors is honored to recognize two founding board members and visionaries.

“Wisdom, Kindness and willingness to mentor others in the community are just a few of the remarkable traits that make Dr. Cigarroa a true leader in medicine and our community and his vision to make AHEC a reality in our community is appreciated. The vision for developing our youth to reaching their potential is really Mr. Castañeda’s motto when it comes to AHEC. His tireless efforts to plant AHEC in Laredo for the benefit of the entire South Texas has really paid off. Thanks to these unsung heroes, numerous individuals are now medical providers and some are well on their way to fulfilling their dreams.”

Cigarroa is a legend in the healthcare industry in Laredo. Castañeda is a former chief of external affairs and economic development officer for Laredo Community College. He now chairs the Texas Border Coalition’s workforce training committee and is founder of Castañeda Team & Associates Global Solutions.

The mission statement of AHEC is to enhance the quality of life of communities in South Texas by:

  • Increasing the number of well-trained health care workers in the region.
  • Enhancing academic resources for existing health care providers.
  • Fostering a healthy lifestyle through community education programs.

Bazan said the aim of AHEC is to link students to health careers, professionals to educational resources and citizens to healthy living. She said all funds raised will help AHEC continue to offer pipeline programs for students in our community including the AHEC Mini and Junior Academies for science, mathematics and health careers; AHEC College Academy, Summer Biomedical Enrichment and AHEC Student Leadership Program.

Media outlets are encouraged to send reporters, Bazan said. For more information, contact Julie Bazan at 956-712-0037.