UTRGV opens Edinburg pediatric specialty clinic

EDINBURG — With the opening of a pediatric specialty clinic here, the university’s new medical school hopes to mark its presence in the community by bringing much-needed services to the region and expanding access to quality care for children living in the Rio Grande Valley.

Dozens of faculty and staff members at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine celebrated the grand opening of the new UT Health Pediatrics Specialty Clinic on Wednesday evening.

Over 60 attendees, including Edinburg city leaders and state Rep. Terry Canales, toured the 27 exam rooms located throughout the new 9,000-square-foot facility at 4150 Crosspoint Blvd.

Physicians there will offer a variety of services such as general, developmental and pulmonary pediatrics, and will treat and research metabolic and genetic disorders.

“As many of you know already, one of the primary missions of the School of Medicine is to bring to the Valley — the underserved community — the specialties that aren’t there,” said Michael A. Patriarca, the executive vice dean of the School of Medicine. “And we’re trying to do that both by bringing on board current doctors that are already in the Valley, and then bringing new (doctors) to the Valley for the subspecialities that don’t already exist. This clinic represents both of them.”

The clinic will have two specialists on staff and will slowly add four more before the end of the year, Patriarca said.

“Some of you may not know this, but this clinic will be bringing in a specialist that looks at metabolic disorders in children,” Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina said during his remarks. “That’s something that we do not have here in the Valley today.”

Beginning in June, the clinic will also be home to the Valley’s only clinical geneticist, said Dr. Robert Nelson, chair of pediatrics and senior associate dean for faculty matters and innovation.

“I came here in 2014 when there were four of us,” Nelson said, “and now we have this nice new facility.”

Nelson introduced an array of physicians and staff that will help run the facility, including Edinburg pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Humberto A. Hidalgo, and highlighted the educational component of the project.

“We will also use this site, as well as others, as an important part where we train our students,” Nelson said. “We want them to learn medicine in state of the art facilities like this.”

The first class is expected to begin training at the clinic this summer, he added.

“What matters to the health of your children is what matters to us,” Nelson said.

The clinic will accept all types of medical insurance and has self-pay and financial assistance policies for those with limited funds.

nlopez@themonitor.com