The Physician Assistant Department (PAD) is located in Edinburg, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. We are located approximately 4 hours south of San Antonio. The campus is located just 20 minutes from the Texas-Mexican border. The local population is primarily Hispanic. The PAD serves primarily the four counties of the Rio Grande Valley: Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy, and Cameron. Both Hidalgo and Cameron counties are urban/metropolitan counties with large rural areas while Starr and Willacy counties are almost exclusively rural. All Rio Grande Valley counties are classified as medically underserved areas (MUAs). The Rio Grande Valley experiences a unique population dynamic in that it shares its culture and livelihood with the much larger metropolitan border cities of Mexico, specifically Reynosa and Matamoros, both in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.


The Physician Assistant Department is recognized as the only physician assistant program in Texas that is not located nor affiliated with a medical center. This characteristic lends itself to a very unique capability for PAD students to train in the most optimal, one-to-one settings. Although not located at a medical center, the PAD is affiliated with more than 200 clinical preceptors and/or training facilities, including all of the major hospitals in all four Rio Grande Valley counties. 

Honors & Awards

The Physician Assistant Department prides itself in having received an award for excellence in diversity in 2005 from the Physician Assistant Education Association in Puerto Rico. This national award shined a spotlight on the many successes the PAD has had with the recruitment and retention of students with a minority/diversity background. The Physician Assistant Studies Program consistently enrolls >50% diverse students in every class. The PAD is recognized nationally as a leader in physician assistant student Hispanic enrollment.