Daniela Garza is a native of the Rio Grande Valley and she graduated from the University of Texas Pan America with her Bachelor of Science in Biology. She then completed her Masters degree in Physician Assistant studies from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and in 2021 completed her Doctorate in Medical Science from the University of Lynchburg. While her first job out of school was at a busy, local orthopedic surgery practice, she left the practice to join her passion to serve her community – especially the underserved and joined the UT Health RGV’s Unimovil clinic. With the Unimovil she created a medical home for 13 colonias that spanned across the entire Rio Grande Valley. After her time at UT Health, she made the transition to rheumatology where she worked for 1 year learning from one of the top rheumatologists in the RGV. Now she is the lead provider and administrator at Valley Med Urgent Care- McAllen location. Daniela applies her passion for the PA profession by being a proud member of the PA board which she has served on for 3 years.
Kristy Ochoa is originally from Austin, Texas. She graduated from UTPA in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, minoring in Chemistry and Anthropology. She acquired a second bachelor’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2004 and a Master’s in 2006 from UTPA Physician Assistant Studies. She has worked in Pediatrics for 17 years but has also transitioned to Occupational Medicine, where she has worked for nearly five years. She was a founding member of the Rio Grande Valley Physician Assistant Society in March of 2018 and previously served as the Treasurer. She is looking forward to serving as the President to assist in advancing and expanding the organization based on the mission and vision statements. She is a member of TAPA and AAPA and a current student in the DMSc program at A.T. Still University.
Michelle Reid is originally from Killeen, Texas. She received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science and graduate degree in Human Resource Management from Tarleton State University. She then attended UTRGV Physician Assistant Studies Program graduating in 2015. She immediately began working at Valley Baptist Medical Center in the Department or Surgery and in 2018 joined UTRGV School of Medicine and UT Health RGV. Shortly after she was awarded the Figs New Icon Grant for her commitment, resilience, and contributions to healthcare in the community. Michelle is a PA preceptor for the UTRGV PA program and is an active member of The American Academy of Physician Assistants, The Texas Academy of Physician Assistants, and holds the position as President Elect in the UTRGV Physician Assistant Society.
Dr. Daniel Tamez, Sc.D., MPAS, PA-C, CWS, FACHE is Executive Vice-President at DHR Health System and Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UTRGV School of Medicine. Dr. Tamez has over 15+ years of combined direct clinical services and healthcare leadership experience. Dr. Tamez is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Board Certified Wound Specialist & Board Certified in Palliative/Hospice Palliative Medicine.
In 2020, Dr. Tamez, was appointed to the Texas Health and Human Service Executive Counsel in Healthcare Policy by Governor Greg Abbot and Health and Human Services Commissar Cecil Young.
Dr. Tamez is a valley nativeandbegan his career at the University of Texas Pan American with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry, He proceeded with his higher education at Texas A&M University with a Master in Public Health, along with a Master’s degree in Physician Assistants Studies at University of Texas Pan American.
Dr. Tamez, received his Doctorate from A.T. Still University School of Medicine and completed his post graduate training in Internal Medicine/Hospice and Palliative Care from Harvard Medical School in Cambridge Massachusetts.
Drew has been a PA for nearly 8 years, and in all of that time, he has been right here in the Valley working in primary care in a community health center. He is proud of the work that PAs do and wants the Valley to share that pride. He has been a proud member of RGVPAS since 2018 and looks forward to serving the organization as treasurer. In addition to medicine, he is very interested in personal and corporate finance.
Cassandra Whetstone, a Rio Grande Valley native, earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Texas and her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2015. With a background in emergency medicine, acute care surgery, and trauma, she returned to her roots working for UTRGV School of Medicine in Trauma Surgery. She is the Interim Trauma Program Director at South Texas Health System McAllen. Cassandra's commitment to the community is evident through her involvement with the Women's Board for Christus Trinity Clinic and her role as a preceptor for UTRGV's PA Program. An enthusiastic member of several PA organizations, including AAPA, TAPA, and the RV PA Society, Cassandra also enjoys spending time with her husband, Addison, and their two children, Anna and Grant. Family time is her cherished pastime, whether playing soccer, rocking out in a band, or watching sports.
Daniel Ortiz is a dynamic Physician Assistant/ Certified Surgical First Assistant with more than 15 years of healthcare experience. He has experience in Orthopedic Surgery, Critical Care, and Intervention Radiology. He started his healthcare career as a Certified Surgical First Assistant at McAllen Medical Center. Daniel’s passion for medicine grew, and he decided to pursue a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies.
He graduated from the University of Texas Pan American Cum Laude and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. He continued his education with the University of Texas RGV and obtained a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Daniel Ortiz is proud to provide healthcare services to the Rio Grande Valley. He is also proud to be an active member of the Rio Grande Valley PA Society.
Mr. Villafranca is a Board Certified Physician Assistant who has focused the majority of his professional career to the optimization and management of complex brain and spine pathologies.
Mr. Villafranca earned his undergraduate degree from The University of Texas Pan-American in Edinburg, TX. Subsequently, he attended the College of Health Affairs and received his Masters degree in Physician Assistant Studies from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. During his training Mr. Villafranca dedicated an overwhelming majority of his time in the field of neurological and spine surgery with a focus on restorative therapies for chronic complex spine conditions.
He currently serves as the Director at Large for the Rio Grande Valley Physician Assistant Society, and serves as a health care provider consultant for SI-Bone providing informative sessions on sacroiliac joint pathology to other clinicians.
On his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Andrea and fishing on the beautiful South Texas waters. He is an avid scuba diver with several certifications and ready for the next diving expedition.