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DHRHealth Institute for Research and Development

About Us

Overview

Clinical Research is as yet another name for Advanced Clinical Care. When everything else fails, we rely on clinical research to find new cures and to develop innovative strategies to treat a refractory disease. That is precisely the goal of the DHR Health Institute for Research & Development, which also has as one of its goals the necessity to increase participation of patients with Hispanic heritage whose involvement nationally in clinical trials is <1%.

DHR Health has been leading healthcare for over two decades in the Rio Grande Valley. It has elevated medical care by creating the largest group of specialty physicians in the Valley, bringing highly-advanced medical technology to the Valley, and offering more than 75 access points of care across South Texas. All initiated and sustained by one of the most experienced healthcare workforces in the industry. It is the people of DHR Health that make the difference and drive innovation in our care and for our community.

Board of Directors

Manish Singh, MD, FACS​

Manish Singh, MD, FACS​

Chief Executive Officer
DHR Health System
Edinburg, TX
(Chairman)
Edinburg, TX

Anthony Magliocco, MD

President and CEO
Protean BioDiagnostics
Orlando, FL
Anjum Khurshid, MD, PhD​

Anjum Khurshid, MD, PhD​

Chief Data Scientist -
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
Harvard University Medical School
Boston, MA
Dipen J. Parekh, M.D.​

Dipen J. Parekh, MD

Chief Clinical Officer
University of Miami Health System
Professor & Chairman, Urology
Miller School of Medicine
Director of Robotic Surgery
University of Miami
Miami, FL
Gail Hinkson

Gail Hinkson

Chief Executive Officer
Pinnacle Clinical Research
San Antonio, TX
Thomas Carton, PhD​

Thomas Carton, PhD​

Chief Data Officer
Louisiana Public Health Institute
Principal Investigator, REACHnet
New Orleans, LA
Ian Thompson, II., MD​

Ian Thompson, II., MD​

President,
CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital
Medical Center
San Antonio, TX

Lamar Pritchard, PhD, RPH

University of Houston College of Pharmacy
Houston, TX

Administrative Staff

Lisa R. Treviño, PhD

Lisa R. Treviño, MS, PhD

Vice President for Research, DHR Health
DHR Health Institute for Research and Development
Tel: (956) 362-2377
Cell: (956) 342-8122
Bio

Lisa R. Treviño, MS, PhD

Dr. Lisa R. Trevino, PhD., received her doctorate in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Her subsequent scientific training and career was conducted at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Trevino’s research focus has been the genetics and genomics of both adult and pediatric malignancies. Dr. Trevino joined DHR Health in 2014 and serves as the Vice President for the DHR Health Institute for Research and Development.

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Dr. Monica M. Betancourt-Garcia​, MD​

Scientific Director​
Center of Excellence for Trauma Research in the Border Region​
Tel: (956) 362-3223
Bio

Dr. Monica M. Betancourt-Garcia​, MD​

Monica is clinical research fellow and spearheads the DHR Health Institute for Research and Development Biobank initiatives. Monica is a Rio Grande Valley native and obtained her Bachelors of Science from University of Texas Pan-American and her MD from the Universidad Valle de Bravo.

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Angela Maria Varela-Espinosa JD, MHA

Clinical Research Contract Manager
Tel: (956) 362-2369
Bio

Angela Maria Varela-Espinosa JD, MHA

Angela Maria Varela-Espinosa is native of Colombia, she holds a JD degree from The University of San Buenaventura obtained in April 28, 2001. In addition, she holds a master's in Healthcare Administration from the Universidad del Valle, Colombia earned on April 17, 2020. Mrs. Varela has more than twenty years of experience as an attorney focusing in the Healthcare System. Her main hobbies include outdoors activities and traveling with family and friends; mindfulness practices and reading personal growth books. She loves watching sport like soccer and basketball and activities with multicultural exchange.

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Hermelinda Ramirez

Executive Administrative Assistant
Tel: (956) 362-2387

Liana L. Maldonado

QC/QA Analyst
Tel: (956) 632-2392

Clinical Research Staff

Amy L. Ramirez, MSN, APRN, FNP

Nurse Practitioner
Tel: (956) 362-2392
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Greg Pequeño, MS

Trauma Data Analyst
Tel: (956) 362-2368
Bio

Greg Pequeño, MS

Greg Pequeño serves as a Trauma Data Analyst at the DHR Health Institute
for Research and Development. He holds a Master of Science degree in
Business Analytics from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Greg has
experience as an Intelligence Analyst for the United States Army and has
completed the Data Science Immersive program at the Divergence Academy in
Dallas, TX. His hobbies include playing guitar, woodworking, and reading
books.

John Rodriguez, CRC​

John Rodriguez, CRC​

Clinical Research Coordinator
Tel: (956) 362-2378
Cell: (956) 662-9574
Bio

John Rodriguez, CRC​

John Rodriguez received his Medical Doctor degree from the University of Monterrey in 1983. In addition to post-graduate clinical trials, John has been involved various medical specialties performing industry sponsored Phase 1 - 4 clinical trials since 1989. At present, John continues to be involved in clinical research since joining DHR Health Institute of Research and Development in October 2014.

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Guillermo Duran

Guillermo Duran Jr., MD

Lead Clinical Research Coordinator
Center of Excellence for Research in liver Diseases.
Tel: (956) 362-2390
Bio

Guillermo Duran Jr., MD

Dr. Guillermo Duran Jr., MD, is an accomplished medical professional dedicated to clinical research and patient care. With expertise in conducting phase II-III studies in Hepatology, focusing on NASH Fibrosis and Cirrhosis, he excels in trial management and ensuring compliance. Dr. Duran's strong background in medical research methodology enables him to contribute to study protocol strategy execution and effective data management. Known for his exceptional interpersonal skills and leadership experience, he establishes productive collaborations and drives successful clinical trial operations. Committed to continuous learning and improving healthcare outcomes, Dr. Duran is passionate about advancing medical knowledge and delivering patient-centric care.

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Victoria Mancillas, MPH

Clinical Research Coordinator
Tel: (956) 362-8046
Bio

Victoria Mancillas, MPH

Victoria Mancillas currently serves as a Clinical Research Study Coordinator at the DHR Health Institute for Research and Development. Victoria received her Bachelors of Science in Biology with a minor in Sociology from Baylor University in 2018. She continued her education at the University of Texas at Dallas where she received a Certificate in Biomedical Sciences. She is currently a second year Masters of Public Health student at Texas A&M University focusing in Health Promotions and Community Health Sciences. She prides herself in serving her community and is excited to be a part of a team that aims to find new cures and develop innovative strategies to fight disease. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym and spending time with loved ones.

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Odalys Salinas, BA

Clinical Research Coordinator
Tel: (956) 362-2387
Bio

Odalys Salinas, BA

Odalys Salinas currently serves as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Biobank Initiative at the DHR Health Institute for Research and Development. She received her bachelor degree in Earth Sciences from Trinity University and participated as a Murchison Research Scholarship Fellow in environmental health during her undergraduate studies. She aims to pursue a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health. Odalys previously served as a medical assistant and surgical coordinator in various specialties including Otolaryngology, Oncology and Orthopedic Surgery. On her spare time, she is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys spending time with her loved ones and her pets.

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Edgar Lopez, BS, MS

Lead Clinical Research Coordinator
Cancer Research Center
Tel: (956) 362-7890
Bio

Edgar Lopez, BS, MS

Edgar has worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator and Clinical Research Associate since 2016. His responsibility on clinical trials has always been to keep the quality standard at the highest. He has participated in audits and inspections carried out by regulatory agencies such as the FDA (United States), COFEPRIS (Mexico) and ANVISA (Brazil). His expertise includes medical device clinical trials, oncology trials, bioequivalence and bioavailability studies. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and spending time with his family.

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Esmeralda Cardoso-Mendoza

Clinical Research Coordinator
Tel: (956) 362-2390

Clarissa Medina

Clinical Research Coordinator
Tel: (956) 362-2393

Anyssa Serna, BS

Clinical Research Coordinator
Tel: (956) 362-2395
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Miguel R. Barrera, BS

Clinical Research Coordinator
Tel: (956) 362 - 3264

Alberto Leal

Research Phlebotomist
Tel: (956) 362-2381
Bio

Alberto Leal

Albert is a Rio Grande Valley native graduating high school in Weslaco, TX and receiving his certification at the Health Cross Academy for Phlebotomy. Albert has joined the DHR Health Institute for Research & Development only in the past year but he has been a valued employee of DHR Health since May 2009. Albert is not only a professional but in his off time he likes to enjoy time with his family and learning new things by reading one of his favorite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt which says: “I wonder if one of the penalties of growing older is that you become more and more conscious that nothing is very permanent.”

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Esmeralda Vaquera

Registration Representative
Tel: (956) 362-2385

John Knight

Data Analyst
Tel: (956) 632-2365

Institutional Review Board

Liz Elias Calles Cabanillas, BS

IRB Coordinator
Tel: (956) 362-2379
Bio

Liz Elias Calles Cabanillas, BS

Liz Elias Calles Cabanillas serves as the DHR Health Institute for Research and Development IRB Coordinator. She has a Bachelor in Nutrition and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health with a concentration in Healthcare Management and a minor in Epidemiology.

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Diana Pena-Perez, RPh

Institutional Review Board Chair
Bio

Diana Pena-Perez, RPh

Diana Pena-Perez born and raised in Mission, Texas.Taught by my parents at an early age that integrity, education and hard work were the keys to the future. Honors graduate University of Texas Austin, College of Pharmacy and have been a registered Pharmacist since the age of 22. Fluent in English and Spanish.

Active participant in DHR Clinical trials since 2014 and member of the DHR Institutional Review Board since 2016. I wear many hats: daughter/sister/wife/mother/ pharmacist/ mentor/ friend/and instrument of the Lord.

Outside of the office I am committed to my family and my church. I consider myself to be fortunate and blessed.

Do not challenge me on any project – because in the words of Euripides – “Leave no stone unturned.” Believe and strive to make a difference every day, because tomorrow is not promised.

“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

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Shravan K. Narmala, MD, MPH

Institutional Review Board Vice-Chair

Adrienne Casciato DNP, APRN, NP-C

Bio

Adrienne Casciato DNP, APRN, NP-C

Dr. Adrienne Casciato serves as an advanced practice nurse at the DHR Health Institute for Research and Development. Dr. Casciato earned a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas- Pan American (now The University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley). She also earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. Before joining our team, Dr. Casciato gained integral experience in med/surg, family practice, and urgent care and in the emergency room. In her free time, Dr. Casciato enjoys crafting and she is able to communicate with patients in English and Spanish.

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Muhammad A. Khan, MD

Institutional Review Board Scientific Member

Vanessa Vale-Saenz, MA, LPC

Institutional Review Board Scientific Member

Nori A. Zapata, MSN, RN

Institutional Review Board Scientific Member

Gerald Garcia, M.T.S.

Institutional Review Board Non-Scientific Member

Laura Lewis, BBA

Institutional Review Board Community Member

Research Pharmacy Team

Gavino Garza

Gavino A. Garza, RPh

Bio

Gavino A. Garza, RPh

Gavino Garza is currently employed as the Director of Pharmacy for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (DHR) in Edinburg.

Mr. Garza joined Doctors Hospital at Renaissance 2007 and has directed the pharmacy through changes in pharmacy clinical services, pharmacy residency programs and pharmacy automation.

Mr. Garza received a BS degree in Pharmacy from University of Houston. Before joining Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Mr. Garza served Director of Pharmacy at HCA-Rio Grande Regional Hospital from 1987 to 2007.

Mr. Garza is an active member American Society of Health-System Pharmacist and past president of the Rio Grande Valley Society of Hospital Pharmacist

Mr. Garza and his wife Judy have four children, Karina, Gabriel, Brianna and Jacob. Mr. Garza enjoys mentoring, coaching little league baseball, hunting and golfing.

Ron Ozuna

Dr. Ron Ozuna, Pharm.D., BCPS

Bio

Dr. Ron Ozuna, Pharm.D., BCPS

Professional Certifications:

  • Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS)
  • Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery - American Pharmacists Association
  • Medication Therapy Management – American Pharmacists Association
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)

Dr. Ozuna currently serves as the Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator for DHR Health. He also serves as the Assistant Dean for the University of Houston College of Pharmacy-RGV program and Clinical Assistant Professor within the department of Pharmacy Practice and Translational Research.

He graduated with his BA in Biology from Texas A&M University–College Station in 1994 and with his Pharm.D. from The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy in 2000.

Dr. Ozuna received his Board Certification in Pharmacotherapy (BCPS) in 2009. He has also received certifications in Pharmacy-Based Immunization Delivery as well as Medication Therapy Management via APHA. Dr. Ozuna’s academic and research interests include Infectious Disease, Critical Care, Diabetes and Ambulatory Care.

He has been a preceptor-faculty for multiple schools since 2002 and remains active in mentoring / precepting students for UHCOP and other schools of pharmacy as well as residents for the DHR PGY1 residency program. He has received Preceptor of the Year several times with multiple schools of pharmacy.

He is a member of Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP). As Assistant Dean and Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator for the UHCOP-RGV program at DHR, he is focused on embracing the UHCOP-DHR Health collaboration to address health disparities and improving patient outcomes.

In addition, the program will focus on providing advanced practice training for our UHCOP students at DHR Health in various areas of practice and mobilize UHCOP faculty and student researchers to work on health outcomes research projects and studies in our area.

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Diana Pena-Perez, RPh

Bio

Diana Pena-Perez, RPh

Diana Pena-Perez born and raised in Mission, Texas.Taught by my parents at an early age that integrity, education and hard work were the keys to the future. Honors graduate University of Texas Austin, College of Pharmacy and have been a registered Pharmacist since the age of 22. Fluent in English and Spanish.

Active participant in DHR Clinical trials since 2014 and member of the DHR Institutional Review Board since 2016. I wear many hats: daughter/sister/wife/mother/ pharmacist/ mentor/ friend/and instrument of the Lord.

Outside of the office I am committed to my family and my church. I consider myself to be fortunate and blessed.

Do not challenge me on any project – because in the words of Euripides – “Leave no stone unturned.” Believe and strive to make a difference every day, because tomorrow is not promised.

“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

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[pdf-embedder url='https://dhrresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/dppcv2019.pdf']
Veronica Hernandez

Veronica Hernandez RPhT

Tel: (956)362-5187
Bio

Veronica Hernandez RPhT

Veronica Hernandez nationally certified pharmacy technician with 15 years of hospital experience. Detail-oriented and committed to quality, accuracy and efficiency. Dedicated to process improvements and high customer service standards.

Became part of the DHR family in 2008 and DHR Research team in 2014.I’m always willing to expand my education, skills, and knowledge for personal growth and to strengthen my job performance.

Omar Cavazos II, RPh, PharmD, BCPS

Bio

Omar Cavazos II, RPh, PharmD, BCPS

Dr. Omar Cavazos, received his doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Texas at Austin. As a RGV native, he returned home to work for Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance as a clinical pharmacist for the Women’s Hospital at Renaissance. In addition to his certification as Registered Pharmacist, Dr. Cavazos received his certification as a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist in 2013. Since 2009 Dr. Cavazos’ primary focus consists of pharmacotherapy analysis and optimization for patients seen in the NICU, Women’s Hospital, and Advanced Care Center Oncology. Since then Dr. Cavazos has been lead pharmacist in two clinical trials involving DHR’s Level 1 NICU. Omegaven use in neonatal TPN for cholestatic liver disease and a Phase 2b Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of long acting RSV vaccination.

Gabriel Garza

Bio

Gabriel Garza

Dr. Gabriel Aaron Garza was raised in Weslaco, Texas and attended PSJA Independent School District (ISD) from Pre-K through 12th grade. He is the son of Leroy and Carmen Garza. While at PSJA Memorial Early College High School (ECHS), Dr. Garza was involved in the Wolverine Theater, National Honor Society, and GO Team. Additionally, he participated in the National Hispanic Institute’s Great Debate and Lorenzo De Zavala Youth Legislative Session. Academically, he was enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, dual credit, and concurrent classes. Participating in these opportunities offered by PSJA ISD helped to build the foundation for Dr. Garza’s success.

Dr. Garza graduated from PSJA Memorial ECHS in 2012 with honors as a top 10 student. After graduation, he attended The University of Texas at Austin and enrolled in the College of Natural Science. Over the next 3 years, Dr. Garza decided to pursue a profession in pharmacy and completed pre-requisite courses to apply for pharmacy school. Throughout his undergraduate career, Dr. Garza would volunteer at Hope Family Health Center and shadow pharmacists during his summers.

In 2015, Dr. Garza began the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Texas A&M University Rangel College of Pharmacy. While in pharmacy school, he was a member Student National Pharmaceutical Association, Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society. During his third year of pharmacy school, Dr. Garza was a tutor for first and second year pharmacy students. He also participated in Texas Pharmacy Day at the Capitol where he spoke with State Representative Armando Martinez regarding pharmacy related bills. Dr. Garza graduated from pharmacy school in May 2019 Summa Cum Laude with a 3.93 GPA.

After graduating with his Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Dr. Garza became a Registered Pharmacist in the state of Texas after passing his board exams. In September 2019, he began working as a clinical pharmacist at DHR Health in Edinburg, Texas. As a clinical pharmacist, Dr. Garza reviews hospital medication orders, verifies medications being dispensed to hospitalized patients, and assists with administrative hospital pharmacy logistics, inventory and costs. In late 2020, Dr. Garza helped to spearhead the acquisition of the first COVID-19 vaccines allocated to the Rio Grande Valley and has been actively involved with the cumulative administration of over 200,000 vaccines since December. Working as a pharmacist in the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Garza is proud to have been given the opportunity to give back the community that means so much to him.

Gabriel Vasquez

Gabriel Vasquez

Bio

Gabriel Vasquez

Graduated from Weslaco High School class of 2000 Extensive back ground in training, customer service and information technology. With 5 years at CompUSA and 8 years with Interactive Corp (Ticketmaster) and 5 years at CompUSA along with 11 years in pharmacy with Doctors Hospital At Renaissance.

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