The U.S. Department of Education has recognized Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) as a Title V Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), making it the second Health-Related Institution in the nation to receive this designation and the only one located on the U.S.-Mexico border.
To qualify as an HSI, an institution must have an undergraduate enrollment of at least 25 percent Hispanic students, among other criteria. As of 2017, 41 percent of TTUHSC El Paso’s student body identified as Hispanic. Recognition as an HSI opens doors to new sources of grant funding through the Department of Education and other federal agencies.
Based on 2015 data used to make the HSI designation, 72 percent of TTUHSC El Paso’s undergraduate nursing students identified as Hispanic, compared to a state average of less than 30 percent. Twenty-three percent of TTUHSC El Paso’s medical students identified as Hispanic, while the state average is about 15 percent.
With Hispanics driving population growth in the state and nation, this means TTUHSC El Paso is ahead of the game in terms of Hispanic representation.
“Recognition as a Hispanic-Serving Institution is a catalyst for growth,” said TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. “As a university created in a Hispanic-majority community, we have an opportunity to advocate for the nation’s fastest-growing demographic, which is still vastly underrepresented in health care. Being an HSI will give us the funding we need to close that gap.”
The HSI designation was established under Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to increase higher education accessibility for Hispanics. Grants for HSIs, which include the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions program, also enable HSI-designated institutions to grow and refine their programs.
“At TTUHSC El Paso, we see our diversity as one of our major strengths,” said Vice President for Outreach and Community Engagement Jose Manuel de la Rosa, M.D., M.Sc.
“Our university values cultural, socioeconomic and intellectual diversity because it enriches our lives and our community as a whole, promoting access, equity and excellence. We strive to create an environment of mutual respect, appreciation and inclusion of differing values, beliefs and backgrounds throughout all our programming. It is a major achievement for us to be recognized by the Department of Education as one of the few Health-Related Institutions in the country to be designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It reflects success in meeting our mission of serving our El Paso and border communities.”
TTUHSC El Paso’s HSI status went into effect in April 2018. As of August 2018, three TTU System institutions have been designated as Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Texas Tech University, Angelo State University and now, TTUHSC El Paso.