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Dr. Adela S. Valdez





Year of Birth / Death

b. 1954


Medical School

Baylor College of Medicine


Geography

LOCATION
Texas


Career Path

General medicine: Family
Dr. Adela S. Valdez



Milestones

YEAR
1987
ACHIEVEMENT
Dr. Adela Valdez was the first Hispanic administrator to serve at South Texas Hospital, Harlingen, Texas.


Inspiration

Having a very typical South Texas Hispanic upbringing, I never thought of becoming a physician until I realized that I had an aptitude and passion for the sciences. Having done well in the sciences gave me the confidence that I needed to seriously consider a health profession. Looking beyond that, I also saw myself returning to my hometown and providing medical services to a traditionally medically underserved area. Essentially, giving back to my community.



Biography

Adela S. Valdez, M.D., practices medicine in Harlingen, Texas, where she was born and raised. During more than twenty years of practice, Dr. Valdez has held many positions and accomplished many firsts. She has been a clinical instructor, medical director, professor, New York University Fellow in Health Care Policy, and a graduate of Leadership Texas (an organization which "develops programs and projects to advance and improve the personal, economic, and professional status of women."). Yet the thing Valdez values most is simply being a "role model," paving the way for others with similar backgrounds and obstacles.

"Having a very typical South Texas Hispanic upbringing, I never thought of becoming a physician until I realized that I had an aptitude and passion for the sciences," said Dr. Valdez, who graduated magna cum laude with a biology major at the University of Houston in 1973. "Having done well in the sciences gave me the confidence that I needed to seriously consider a health profession. Looking beyond that, I also saw myself returning to my hometown and providing medical services to a traditionally medically underserved area. Essentially, giving back to my community." Since returning to her hometown in 1985, Dr. Valdez has combined clinical, administrative, and teaching duties with service on numerous local and national organizations.

Following her medical school training at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Valdez remained in Houston for a residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She completed a second residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, where she remained as a clinical instructor of medicine. Upon receiving her board certification in family medicine in 1983, Dr. Valdez returned to Harlingen and served as deputy director of clinical services at South Texas Hospital.

In 1987 Dr. Valdez was named administrator at South Texas Hospital. She was the first Hispanic to hold this position. While conducting a private medical practice, Dr. Valdez initiated and served as interim medical director of the Valley Baptist Medical Center Family Practice Program. Dr. Valdez currently serves the medical center as chair of both the Education Committee and the Graduate Medical Education Committee. Along with her hospital duties, she has also served as medical director of Ultrafit Preventive Health Care, and administrator of the Harlingen Ob/Gyn Associates. Dr. Valdez was named assistant dean of the Regional Academic Health Center in 2001. At a separate clinical campus of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Dr. Valdez has also served as the health center's coordinator since 1999.

Regionally, Dr. Valdez is the presiding officer on the Governor's Task Force on Health Disparities. She is a member of the Texas State Strategic Health Partnership Committee, and the Cardiovascular Health and Wellness Task Force. Dr. Valdez serves on the American Cancer Society Government Relations Committee and is a member of the Society's Hispanic/Latino Leadership Group. Dr. Valdez was honored by VISTA magazine as an Outstanding Hispanic Female Physician. She has also received honors from the Texas Board of Health and the American Association of University Women.



Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

Some of the obstacles I overcame were primarily my own self-doubts, cultural, gender, and financial. These were minimized by my strong will to become a physician and knowledge that I really did have the wherewithal to become a very good one.

How do I make a difference?

Well, I can list my many accomplishments and say that I have made a difference. However, the biggest difference is to have become a role model and mentor for others such as myself who have sought to become physicians. My many "firsts" have opened the road for those with similar backgrounds and obstacles. It gives me great satisfaction to see so many seeking fulfilling professions in the medical arena.

Who was my mentor?

I had the great privilege of having many wonderful mentors. The one who made the most impact was my then-fiance. Having known each other since high school, he encouraged me to attend college. Once I excelled academically there, he further encouraged me to enter medical school as he had done himself. This is why mentorship is so important in fostering others to become professionals.

How has my career evolved over time?

My career has evolved to include many experiences that extend beyond my M.D. degree. One of my personal goals is to extend my expertise into a different field every five to six years. This has not only added to my knowledge base, but has also made my career a constantly challenging learning experience. These experiences include administrative/academic positions from assistant dean of a geographically remote medical school campus, to hospital administrator. Politically, I have been involved in local, state and national politics and committees. I have also completed a fellowship in health care policy.