Mega Doctor News –
By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez,
Twenty years ago, the board of Valley Baptist Medical Center had the vision to create a program to train young doctors. Back then, these communities of the Rio Grande Valley had very few family doctors. The visionary board felt that the best way to solve that problem was to develop a training residency program.
By doing so Dr. Bruce A. Leibert, a physician, board certified in family medicine, was hired to develop the program. Since then because of that important effort, 93 young graduates are serving all over the Valley and the world.
Dr. Leibert has 30 years of practice in medicine and quite an interesting academic background. From 1976 to 1980, he attended college at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. From 1980 to 1984, he attended medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. “After that I entered the United States Army where I served for eleven years, and three of those in my family practice residency training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.” Dr. Leibert came to the Valley 20 years ago.
He told Mega Doctor News that 20 years ago, they had no building, no patients, however today they have a pool of 24,000 patients. At Valley Baptist Family Practice Residency Clinic they see 35,000 visits a year. He said that they are a complete family practice meaning that they deliver babies, take care of infants and all pediatric cases. “We provide care for obstetrics and gynecology (OB), women’s health issues, geriatrics home visits, and nursing home rounds.” Enthusiastically he said, “Really, we are the renaissance people, the jack-of-all-trades, the Walmart of medicine, if you will.”
Dr. Leibert credits his Lord Jesus Christ for he and his wife moving to this area. He said that during his service in the U.S. Army, he spent time in the first Persian Gulf War as a platoon leader and very proud of the service that God allowed him to have. “But in 1995, my wife and I both sensed it was time for a new adventure and we learned that the Harlingen group was looking for a program director.” He said, “I had a dream of beginning a Christian residency program, which was really unheard of in our country where we train residents from the first day on how to pray with patients, how to share Jesus, and how to practice as a Christian physician; so 20 years ago we started it.”
When Dr. Leibert heard about the position, he flew to Harlingen. “My wife and I were present at the ground breaking for the Doctors Office Building here at the Valley Baptist Hospital. Billy Joe Simpson, a board member, got up in front of 2,000 people and said, ‘This hospital and institution exist to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and this community’.” He continued, “The moment he said that, my wife and I looked at each other and we knew this was our home for as long as God wanted us to be here. We never even had to talk about it. I signed the contract and we are here 20 years later. That’s one of my favorite stories.”
Dr. Leibert’s wife is Janice. She is a schoolteacher of mathematics in middle school, and a tutor. “My children are Katie 27, she’s a schoolteacher; Joshua 24, is an operations manager for Ferguson Plumbing; and Kelsey 22, who will be a senior in Sports Sciences.”
In closing, he said, “There have been a number of folks that have helped me become what I’ve become. Reverend James D. Hill, a youth pastor. Fr. Mathew Miceli, my rector from Notre Dame. Dr. John Lammy, missionary Tu Benin, an inspiring officer and physician; and Mr. Bill Adams, the CEO of Harlingen.”