Core Faculty

Edinburg Faculty

Samuel K. Snyder, MD

Samuel K. Snyder, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery / Endocrine and General Surgery

Dr. Snyder was born in Berwyn, Illinois and completed his medical school training in Maywood, Illinois at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He completed a surgery internship and general surgery residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Snyder has been heavily involved in the training of physicians/surgeons, serving as a professor at Texas A&M University Health Science Center for 36 years. In 2010 he initiated a fellowship training program in Endocrine Surgery, the 2nd in Texas and 3rd in the Southern USA. He has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards, the most recent being the Leonard Tow  Humanism in Medicine Award from the 2016 graduating class of the Texas A&M University College of Medicine. Dr. Snyder’s specialty practice is Endocrine Surgery, for which he has made a number of academic contributions to influence and advance endocrine surgery practice nationally and internationally.

He also served as the Director of the Division of General Surgery and Chief of the Section of Endocrine Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology at Scott and White Clinic in Temple, Texas. While at Scott and White Clinic he sat as Vice Chairman for Clinical and Legal Affairs in the Department of Surgery. In July 2016, Dr. Snyder was selected as the Inaugural Chair of the Surgery Department of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine. He brings up-to-date specialty practice in Endocrine Surgery to the Rio Grande Valley along with his passion for teaching and research.

Dr. Synder's personal interest include piano and music composition.

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Henry Reinhart, MD

Henry Reinhart, MD
Assistant Professor, Director of Simulation / Endocrine and General Surgery

Dr. Reinhart was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and received his undergraduate degree in International Business from Texas Tech University. He then attended UT Southwestern medical school before going back to El Paso for his general surgery residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. During that time he was awarded the Raleigh Ross Scholarship by the Texas Surgical Society among other awards. He then went on to complete a fellowship in endocrine surgery at the Scott and White clinic in Temple, TX. He joined Dr. Samuel Snyder here in the Rio Grande Valley with the goal of establishing an Endocrine Surgery Center of excellence along with medical and surgical education.

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Minerva Romero Arenas, MD, MPH

Minerva Romero Arenas, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Medical Student Clerkship Director / Endocrine and General Surgery

Dr. Minerva A. Romero Arenas is an Endocrine & General Surgeon joining the faculty at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She completed a fellowship in Oncologic Surgical Endocrinology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. She completed her General Surgery Residency at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. She received her MD and her MPH from The University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Zuckerman College of Public Health in 2009. She studied Cell Biology and French at Arizona State University as an undergraduate. Her interests include surgical oncology & endocrinology, global health, health disparities, quality improvement, and genomics. A native of Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Romero Arenas is passionate about recruiting the next generation of surgeons and is involved in mentoring through various organizations. She enjoys fine arts, films, gastronomy, and sports. She enjoys jogging, swimming, and kickboxing. Most importantly, Dr. Romero Arenas treasures spending time with her family and loved ones. us organizations. She enjoys fine arts, films, gastronomy, and sports. She enjoys jogging, swimming, and kickboxing. Most importantly, Dr. Romero Arenas treasures spending time with her family and loved ones.

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Jesus Valdes, MD

Jesus Valdes, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery / General Surgery

Dr. Jesus Valdes was born in Piedras Negras Mexico. He attended medical school at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi and did his residency in general surgery at the Berkshire Medical Center University of Massachusetts in Pittsfield, MA. He spent elective training rotations in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Worcester UMASS, biliary pancreatic at the Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA, and Pediatric Surgery at Brown University Providence, RI.

Dr. Valdes came to the Rio Grande Valley in 1995 and has been a practicing surgeon since. He has functioned as Chief of Surgery for several hospitals (including, Rio Grande Regional, Edinburg Regional, Cornerstone Hospital and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance) in the Edinburg/McAllen area.

Until recently, Dr. Valdes was a partner/owner of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. He functioned as either director or member of multiple committees, including the committee to start of the general surgery residency program. He also was the Chief Medical Information Officer for DHR 2013-2017.

Married to Sandra they have two daughters Victoria and Erica, and a son Trevor. His hobbies can be described as "everything outdoors".

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Harlingen Faculty

Ashraf A. Hilmy, MD, MBA, CHE, FASMBS, FACS

Ashraf A. Hilmy, MD, MBA, CHE, FASMBS, FACS
Professor of Surgery / General, Vascular, Bariatric, Advanced Laparoscopic, Robotic Surgery

Dr. Hilmy hails from Cairo Egypt where he attended medical school and graduated with honors in 1979. He subsequently moved to New York where he completed an internship in Internal Medicine and then an Anesthesiology residency and a Cardiac Anesthesia fellowship. Dr. Hilmy was in private practice in Anesthesiology, for several years, then had an academic appointment as Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Scott and White, Texas A&M in Temple Texas. He then went back and did a surgical residency at Scott and White in Temple Texas where he was an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia previously. Dr. Hilmy has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, having obtained an MBA from the University of Texas, Pan American in 2002. He continued on in private surgery practice then became an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and subsequently full Professor of Surgery at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. Dr. Hilmy is board certified in anesthesia, critical care medicine, surgery, and healthcare administration.

Dr. Hilmy has numerous interests. He is an amateur chef, and photographer. He feels deeply about the health care status in our country and has authored a book about health care in the United States, titled "Health Care Reform, a Surgeon's Perspective." Dr. Hilmy is also a poet and a composer of several song lyrics.

Dr. Hilmy is passionate about teaching and has won the "outstanding teacher award" for medical students and residents for his entire tenure in academia.

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Vijian Dhevan, MD, MBA, FACS

Vijian Dhevan, MD, MBA, FACS
Assistant Professor of Surgery / General Surgery

I was born and grew up in Asia and moved to Texas when I was a teenager. I completed my BS and MS at SFASU in Nacogdoches Texas. After obtaining my Master’s degree, I worked for a few years collaborating with researchers and then attended Texas Tech University for my MD and MBA. Upon graduating from from medical school, I completed my surgical training at SIU, in Springfield, Illinois before returning to Texas to practice.

My interest lies in minimally invasive surgery, surgical oncology, and bariatric surgery. I also have a strong interest in the processes of supplying continued excellence in medicine while dealing with increasing stressors and limitations from economic and socio-dynamic variations.

I am blessed to be married to a wonderful woman that understands the demands of my profession and who has given me two wonderful boys.

 

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Staff

Angelica Bocanegra

Angelica Bocanegra
Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education

Angelica Bocanegra or “Angie” was born and raised in San Benito, Texas and has been a Rio Grande Valley native all her life. Angie has served over twenty years in higher education. Previously working at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, Texas for two years with the Department of Adult Continuing Education and fifteen years with the University of Texas Health at San Antonio School of Medicine with the Departments of Surgery & Family Medicine Medical Student Education as an Academic Coordinator. Angie currently serves as an Academic Coordinator for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine with the Surgery Education Department.

Phone:
956-296-1476

Roberta Reyes

Roberta Reyes
GME Residency Program Coordinator

Roberta is a native Texas who provides administrative support for the General Surgery Residency Program at the University of Texas Rio Grande. Roberta has worked in the health administration community for over 22 years with various health administration duties. She received her degree in Health Information Technology at South Texas College with a primary focus in medical coding and health informatics development. She recently joined the General Surgery Residency Program as their program coordinator to strive and devote a strong presence for her surgery resident’s success. Outside of work, Roberta enjoys spending time with her family and friends, crocheting, gardening and dedicates herself rescuing unwanted animals and finding them a loving home.

Phone:
956-362-3571

Maria Polanco Contreras

Maria Polanco Contreras
Assistant to the Clinical Chair

Maria is an alumnus of the UTRGV legacy institution UT Brownsville. She graduated from UTB with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. Maria has over 15 years of experience in office management. She enjoys providing administrative support for the Department of Surgery, UTRGV faculty, staff and students. Maria looks forward to continue to contribute to the growth of the Department of Surgery and the UTRGV School of Medicine. She is excited about the new opportunities the School of Medicine has to offer the Rio Grande Valley.

Phone:
956-296-1449