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.
Mayra was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. She attended the University of Texas-Pan American (now known as UTRGV) where she received her Bachelor’s of Science with a major in Biology and Math with a minor in Chemistry. She then received a Master’s of Science in Mathematical Sciences and a Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. She continued her studies and received a Doctorate of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacology and Health Sciences (MCPHS). Her dissertation was focused on pediatric obesity in the Rio Grande Valley. She has a background in teaching having taught in the Mathematics department at UTPA as well as high school science. She has been practicing medicine with a focus on rural medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics. She is currently a member of AAPA and TAPA. She is a committee member of TAPA’s CME committee and membership committee.
Daniela Garza is a native of the Rio Grande Valley and she graduated from the University of Texas Pan America with her Bachelors. She then completed her Masters degree in Physician Assistant studies from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and more recently 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 creates a medical home for 13 colonies that span across the entire Rio Grande Valley. She merges her passion for social justice and to help the underserved outside of her work serving as the secretary on the executive board for the HOPE clinic, on the CME committee for RGVPAS, and editor of the podcast for the Academy of Doctoral Physician Assistants.
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.
Susan Simmons is a lifelong native of the Rio Grande Valley, born in Brownsville and raised in Harlingen. She attended Texas State Technical College and The University of Texas Pan American where she received both her BS and Master of Physician Assistant Studies degrees in 2003 and 2009 respectively.
Susan practiced in both family medicine and internal medicine prior to joining The University of Texas Pan American in 2013 as a Clinical Coordinator and in 2015 as Clinical Assistant Professor. She remains on faculty at the university, now known as The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Melissa Botello, MPAS, PAC graduated from The University of Texas-Pan American’s Physician Assistant Program in 2004. Melissa has worked in Pediatrics for the last 17 years. Melissa is involved with the UTRGV PA program as a preceptor for clinical rotations and dedicates her time and efforts to helping shape future PA’s.
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.