UTRGV School of Medicine, DHR Health Graduate Inaugural Classes of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine Residents

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Mega Doctor News

Edinburg, Texas ― The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and DHR Health on Friday, June 15, graduated the inaugural classes of their Family Medicine and Internal Medicine residency programs. 

Seventeen physicians—five from the Family Medicine residency program and 12 from the Internal Medicine residency program—comprise the largest graduating class for the UTRGV School of Medicine’s residency programs. The majority of residents plan to remain practicing medicine in the Valley, several of which will join the faculty at the School of Medicine and the medical staff at DHR Health.

Residency programs offer post-graduate training for physicians after they complete medical school and their licensure exams. These training programs allow physicians to further develop their clinical skills in a specialty of their choosing. Programs typically last from three to seven years, depending on the specialty. The UTRGV School of Medicine and DHR Health began their residency programs in the summer of 2015.

Curtis L. Galke, DO, FAAFP, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Family Medicine and program director of the UTRGV-DHR Family Medicine Residency, said this graduation is a culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice of the residents and their families. 

“We are fortunate that four of the five [family medicine] graduates have chosen to remain in the Rio Grande Valley to continue their efforts to improve the healthcare of our own population,” Dr. Galke said. “We wish these new physicians all the best as they begin their lives of professional service.  It has been an honor to have been a part of their medical training.”

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Michelle Cordoba-Kissee, MD, who served as the program coordinator for the UTRGV-DHR Internal Medicine Residency, congratulated the graduating residents and praised their accomplishments.

“We enthusiastically welcome our new colleagues to join us in our profession,” Dr. Cordoba-Kissee said. “We look forward to collaborating with these well-trained, evidence-based, cost-effective, culturally competent physicians to address the health care challenges our community faces. 

Graduates of the Family Medicine residency program are:

  • Cruz Bernal, MD
  • Alejandro Bocanegra, MD
  • Marco Escobedo, MD
  • Julia Flores, MD
  • Veronica Salazar, MD

Graduates of the Internal Medicine residency program are:

  • Mohammad Al-Khdarat, MD
  • Brandon Cantazaro, MD
  • Cesar Gutierrez, MD
  • Juan Menjivar, MD
  • Isabel Padilla, MD
  • Carlos Paris, MD
  • Chi Lun “John” Pui, MD
  • Grigoriy Rapoport, MD
  • Hector Santos, MD
  • Omar Shuaib, MD
  • Shwe Win, MD
  • Kara Zabelny, DO