Friday, May 3, 2024
  Announcements, Health, Around Campus, Education & Training

By Heriberto Perez–Zuñiga

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – MAY 3, 2024 – New internal medicine resident physicians will soon join the Rio Grande Valley thanks to a new residency program by the UTRGV School of Medicine and HCA Gulf Coast Division.

This is the first new residency program established by an agreement signed last year between the UTRGV School of Medicine and HCA. This agreement will allow residents from the School of Medicine to train at HCA Gulf Coast Division-affiliated hospitals: Rio Grande Regional in McAllen and Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville.

Under the agreement, 39 residents will be accepted over a three-year period. The inaugural cohort will be comprised of 13 residents and is slated to begin July 1, 2024.


Dr. Chelsea Chang, associate dean of graduate medical education (GME) programs at the UTRGV School of Medicine, said the program will be crucial in addressing the physician shortage in underserved communities like the Valley.

"We are committed to growing multiple residency and fellowship programs to serve our communities and advance academic medicine," Chang said.

"The programs offered in affiliation with UTRGV are the only residencies in the Rio Grande Valley sponsored by a medical school, which provides unprecedented teaching, research and academic mentoring opportunities,” she said. “This academic foundation, combined with the high-quality clinical experiences and learning environments at HCA hospitals, will ensure an excellent training experience for our next physician leaders."

The program aims to attract and retain talented physicians committed to service by providing residency positions and expanding comprehensive training opportunities.

The UTRGV's School of Medicine GME programs are designed to strike an individualized balance between clinical autonomy and structured learning for each resident. They also are designed to promote the development of academic medicine within the community while supporting, guiding and educating residents to provide ethical and patient-centered care.


David Irizarry, CEO of HCA Healthcare affiliate Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville, said he is proud of a partnership like the one with UTRGV that prioritizes the health and well-being of the Rio Grande Valley. 

"We are committed to investing in and supporting the well-being of our communities by focusing on training diverse physician leaders who embrace and value our mission," Irizarry said. "Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life."

Dr. Michael Hocker, dean of UTRGV School of Medicine and senior vice president of UT Health RGV, said an especially important part of the new internal medicine residency program is that it marks the first time the UTRGV School of Medicine will have a residency program in Brownsville.

"By establishing this new residency program in collaboration with HCA, we are creating a pathway for talented doctors to build their careers and serve our community," he said.

"We know that physicians often choose to stay and practice where they receive their residency training, and this partnership ensures we can attract and retain exceptional individuals. We are grateful to HCA for their commitment to this partnership, which will enhance the quality of healthcare in our region for years to come."

For more information visit the Internal Medicine Residency Program website or contact


HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division is a comprehensive network of hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, emergency centers and diagnostic imaging facilities in greater Houston, Corpus Christi and South Texas. Facilities in the Gulf Coast Division include: 16 hospitals, 10 ambulatory care centers, 17 off-campus emergency centers and a regional transfer center that provides support for patient transfers into and out of HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division hospitals as well as access to ground and air transportation within a 150-mile radius. HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division is part of HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services with 182 hospitals and 2,300+ sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, home health, and physician clinics located in 20 states and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit


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.