Tuesday, February 6, 2018
  Around Campus

By Jennifer Berghom

Dr. James F. Hanley
Dr. James F. Hanley

Rio Grande Valley, Texas Three administrators from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine have been selected to serve on The University of Texas System Kenneth I. Shine, M.D., Academy of Health Science Education.

Dr. James F. Hanley, a clinical professor with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and director of the UTRGV Internal Medicine Residency Program at Valley Baptist Medical Center, has been selected by the academy to serve as a member of the Shine Academy. In addition, Dr. Adela Valdez, associate dean for Student Affairs, and Dr. Leonel Vela, senior associate dean for Education and Academic Affairs, have also been selected as inaugural members of the academy for UTRGV School of Medicine.

The University of Texas System Academy of Health Science Education was founded in 2005 and renamed in 2013 in honor of Dr. Kenneth I. Shine upon his retirement as the system’s executive vice chancellor of Health Affairs. The academy’s mission is to support and promote “excellence in all aspects of health science education, educational scholarship and leadership,” according to the academy’s bylaws.

Dr. Adela Valdez
Dr. Adela Valdez

Hanley attended medical school at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut, and completed his internal medicine residency training at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. He is board certified in internal medicine, diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners, and has an added qualification in geriatric medicine and a Master of the American College of Physicians.
He has been a recipient of two American College of Physicians Laureate awards from the Army and North Dakota ACP chapters and received the 2010 President’s Choice Award in 2010 from the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Hanley is retired Army Colonel, serving 21 years on active duty, and was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Surgeon General  "A" Proficiency Designator.

Valdez earned her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, and completed an internship from UT Health Houston and her residency training at UT Health San Antonio, both in family medicine. She also completed a fellowship in healthcare policy through the National Hispanic Medical Association and New York University and earned her Masters of Business Administration from the Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University.

Dr. Leonel Vela
Dr. Leonel Vela

Valdez is the recipient of several awards, including the Friend of the Public Health Award from the Texas Department of Health, South Texas Hospital for the successful implementation of public health initiatives in chronic disease, HIV, and indigent care to the four county region of South Texas, the Excellent Leadership and Service to the Task Force Award from the Texas Health Disparities Task Force, and the Distinguished Service for Women’s Equity in Medical Education from the American Medical Association, American Association of University Women. She has also been featured in the National Library of Medicine’s "Changing the Face of Medicine."

Vela was the founding Dean of the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), which was a campus of UT Health San Antonio and a precursor to the UTRGV School of Medicine.  He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and completed post-graduate studies at Harvard University where he received a Masters of Public Health Degree.  He is board-certified in Preventive Medicine and is a diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

Vela has served on several state, national and international committees addressing tuberculosis, diabetes, migrant health, border health and telemedicine. He has participated in several professional organizations and previously chaired the National Advisory Council on Migrant Health for the U.S. Secretary of Health. He also chaired the Group on Regional Medical Campuses for the Association of American Medical Colleges.  Dr. Vela has received various awards and was honored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Migrant Head Start Branch, as recipient of the Plate of Bounty Award.

All new members will be honored and recognized at the 2018 Innovation in Health Science Education Conference Feb. 15-16 in Austin.

For more information, visit  http://www.uth.tmc.edu/ShineAcademy/index.html.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.