UT Rio Grande Valley Graduates First Class Of Medical Students

These new doctors are determined to fill the health care gaps in South Texas – ones that existed even before the pandemic.

By Joy DiazMay 11, 2020 2:37 pm, , , ,

On Saturday, amid a global health crisis, the inaugural class of medical students graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. There’s been a need for more doctors in South Texas for years, and with the pandemic, that need continues to grow.

Courtesy Veronica Treviño

Dr. Veronica Treviño

“It’s taken 70-plus years to be able to have a medical school in the Valley. We’re making part of history with this school. … I grew up here; I was born and raised in the Valley and I had no idea the kinds of disparity. We’re talking muddy roads: these people, when it rains, they can’t leave their houses because there’s miles of mud. They don’t have access to clean water.”

Courtesy Joy Alvarado

Dr. Joy Alvarado

“My mom cannot wait to call me Dr. Joy. I am also a second lieutenant in the military, in the U.S. Army, and I will be promoted to captain as soon as residency starts. The medical field can be very sad, but having a doctor bring joy into a room … that’s exactly what people need. … Our school is next to many of these colonias, and our student team created a student-run clinic, a health clinic, in Peñitas, Texas.”

Courtesy Ramiro Tovar III

Dr. Ramiro Tovar III

“I always knew that I wanted to practice medicine here in the Valley. … I felt myself reach my limits and I felt myself go past it.”

Courtesy Shawn Izadi

Dr. Shawn Izadi

“It isn’t, I think, until lots of medical students really interact with their first true-life patient where they realize that this process is worth it, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. … Am I scared? Absolutely. But am I enthusiastic, and am I excited to go and help these people that are already in the battlefront? One-hundred percent.”