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First Medical Student of THI/UH Collaboration shares his Personal Heart Journey

Dr. Escobar Leads New Outreach Education Program

HOUSTON (Sept. 19, 2023) — Lance Alexander McCoy, a determined and ambitious young man from Angleton, Texas, will be among the first graduates of the University of Houston Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine.

Last month, McCoy also became the first UH student to participate in the new cardiology rotation training program led by Jorge Escobar, MD, an interventional cardiologist and director of Undergraduate Medical Education at The Texas Heart Institute®.

In 2020, McCoy began his journey as an MD candidate. In August, his passion for cardiology led him to The Texas Heart Institute Center for Cardiovascular Care, where he became the program’s first Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine student to participate in the new cardiology rotation.

“Our cardiology rotation is an immersive experience that allows students like Lance to enhance their clinical and research skills, fortifying their foundations as future physicians,” said Dr. Escobar.

McCoy is the epitome of hard work and dedication, striving to positively impact the world. With a fervent passion for medicine, he set his sights on becoming a physician at a young age.

His journey began at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), where he pursued a Bachelor of Science in biology. Throughout his years at PVAMU, McCoy excelled academically. He even earned the prestigious title of “Mr. Biology,” a testament to his academic prowess and dedication to his studies.

During his undergraduate years, his passion for research blossomed. He co-authored two publications in scientific journals, showcasing his commitment to advancing medical knowledge. His first publication, in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology, focused on developing and validating a contouring guideline for the taste bud-bearing tongue mucosa. McCoy’s second publication, in Physics and Imaging in Radiation Oncology, explored intensity standardization methods in magnetic resonance imaging of head and neck cancer. These publications solidified McCoy’s aspirations for medicine and research.

McCoy’s dedication extends beyond his academic pursuits. Throughout college, he received various honors and awards for his outstanding achievements. Among these accolades are the University of Houston College of Medicine Inaugural Class Scholarship, the Presidential Academic Scholarship, and the Undergraduate Medical Academy Merit Scholarship. A testament to his compassion and commitment to promoting mental health, he served as a Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) Certified Gatekeeper for Suicide Prevention.

In 2019, McCoy took his passion for research to the prestigious University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he served as a research assistant and worked on developing a novel imaging technology to detect early signs of osteoradionecrosis, a possible complication of radiation therapy. His work not only contributed to cutting-edge research but also had the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce treatment-related complications.

McCoy’s commitment to helping others extended beyond the laboratory. He became involved in his community, working as a mentor and caregiver for teenagers and children with physical and mental disabilities at Golden Rule Services, Inc. His experience in this role taught him important qualities such as empathy, patience, and resilience.

As McCoy pursues his dream of becoming a physician, he is unfaltering in his dedication to service. He volunteered at the Healthcare Collaborative, providing weekly mentoring to individuals in need. He also dedicated his time to Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen and volunteered for food distribution at the Shrine Houston.

McCoy believes that lending a helping hand to those less fortunate is not just a responsibility but a privilege.

“It has truly been a pleasure to contribute to Lance’s education and professional development. Lance is intellectually curious and is genuinely interested in daily progress and improvement in his clinical skills. I am confident that Lance will become an excellent physician in the near future,“ said Brian Reed, MD, Lance’s mentor and chair of Clinical Sciences at the University of Houston’s Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine.

McCoy’s commitment to his future profession is evident in his involvement in multiple professional organizations. He is a member of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Black Men in White Coats, VOICES – Volunteer Organization Involving Community Engagement and Service, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

These memberships highlight McCoy’s desire to connect with like-minded individuals and actively contribute to the health care community.

“Mr. McCoy’s unwavering determination and commitment to improving health through clinical care and research is inspiring.  There is no question he is on an impressive trajectory to become an influential physician and leader,” said Joseph G. Rogers, MD, president & CEO of The Texas Heart Institute.