Dr. Cigarroa is a third generation physician. He attended Yale University and graduated from Southwestern Medical School in 1983. During his postgraduate training, he became Chief Resident in General Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and completed fellowships in Pediatric Surgery and Transplantation Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1995. During surgical training he spent two years in the laboratory under the guidance of Dr. Patricia Donahoe studying fetal growth factors and inhibitors including receiving a research fellowship by the American Society of Transplantation Surgery.
Upon completing his surgical training, Dr. Cigarroa joined the faculty of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) in 1995, where he served as director of pediatric surgery and transplantation. He established a multidisciplinary pediatric transplant program focused on kidney, liver and intestinal transplants with outstanding outcomes.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents selected Dr. Cigarroa as the third President of UTHSCSA in 2000, where he served until 2009, at which time he was selected to become the Chancellor of the University of Texas System. His leadership resulted in the UT Board of Regents authorizing the establishment of the Dell Medical School and the University of Texas Rio Grande and its Medical School. In January of 2015, Dr. Cigarroa completed his tenure as Chancellor and assumed the Directorship of the Pediatric Transplant Program at UTHSCSA. In January 2019, he became the Director of the Transplantation Center. Dr. Cigarroa has had significant impact in enhancing the overall mission of UTHSCSA and the UT System including in the field of philanthropy.
Dr. Cigarroa became a Clayton Research Scholar in 2016, and has a multiyear grant studying Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Hispanics from South Texas. He has published in peer review journals. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Medical Association. He is the director of the Transplant Center’s Biorepository and fosters collaboration across various departments.
Dr. Cigarroa is the recipient of numerous awards and a member of important academic societies. He was awarded the Massachusetts General Hospital Trustee’s Medal in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of medicine and recipient of the International Recognition Award by the Denton Cooley, M.D. Cardiovascular Society including Universidad National Autonoma’s President’s Award in Medicine. In 2018, he was awarded the American Medical Association’s highest honor for medical education. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and Mexico’s National Academy of Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is past President of the Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering, Science and Technology. He is the current Chair of the Ford Foundation and a trustee of the Josiah Macy Foundation, which funds innovations in health professional education.