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6 Physicians form Inaugural Class for 1st Graduate Medical Education Program in Mid-Valley

MERCEDES, July 2017 – A preview and ribbon-cutting were held in Mercedes July 20, 2017 for a new Knapp Medical Center / UTRGV Family Practice Residency Program, with local leaders and businesses welcoming six new family practice residents to the area.

The historic new program for the Mid-Valley is located in a new 13,800-square-foot building on the western edge of Mercedes, at the northwest corner of Expressway 83 and N Mile 2 W Road (at 2810 W. Expressway 83).

Six new family practice residents will form the inaugural class for the program: Eddy Berges, MD; Diego Moreno, MD; Eliana Costantino Burgazzi, MD; Miguel A. Sanchez Rivas, MD; Carolina Gomez de Ziegler, MD; and Marita del Pilar Sanchez Sierra Marino, MD.

In addition to participating in the Mid-Valley’s first graduate medical education program, the residents will also see patients through a new clinic which is expected to open in the Family Practice Residency building in Mercedes in late August, under the direction of Dr. Miguel Tello, Associate Program Director for the Knapp Medical Center / UTRGV Family Practice Residency Program.

The new program represents an expansion of medical education into the Mid-Valley.

“The Knapp / UTRGV Family Practice Residency Program will help create more opportunities in the Mid-Valley for those who would like to receive training as family medicine physicians,” said Rene J. Lopez, Chief Executive Officer for Knapp Medical Center.

“In addition, the educational and clinical components of this exciting project will be great assets for the entire Mid-Valley, thanks to our partnership with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, the City of Mercedes, and the Knapp Community Care Foundation,” Mr. Lopez added.

Dr. Tello said the first group of residents is an experienced group of physicians, who have served patients in various settings – ranging from colonias in the Valley to remote jungles and other challenging environments in South America and elsewhere.

“We needed a seasoned group of physicians who would be able to handle the stress of being a first-year class,” Dr. Tello added. “Their varied experiences and backgrounds really add a unique dimension to this class.”

One of the residents, Dr. Eddy Berges, who practiced medicine in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico before coming to the Valley, noted that family medicine physicians provide a wide range of services, including preventive health, to people of all ages, ranging from children to senior adults.

“I think it’s a very complete specialty where you can take care of everything for a person, for her environment, her family,” added Dr. Carolina Gomez de Ziegler, who practiced medicine in Venezuela before coming to the Valley.

Others who spoke at the preview event on July 20 included:

  • Dr. Eron Manusov, Department Chair & Program Director for Family and Preventive Medicine, UTRGV Medical School
  • Guy Bailey, Ph.D., Founding President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Dr. John H. Krouse, UTRGV Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine
  • Dr. Yolanda Gomez, UTRGV Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education
  • Mercedes Mayor Henry Hinojosa
  • Ramon Montalvo, Chair, Knapp Community Care Foundation

Also attending the event were Roberto “Bobby” Villarreal, District Director for the Office of Congressman Vicente Gonzalez; Magaly Torres, District Administrator for State Rep. Armando Martinez; and Harsha Upadhyay, Executive Vice President for Clinical Operations and Regional CEO for Prime Healthcare (Division II).

For more information on the new Knapp Medical Center / UTRGV Family Practice Residency Program, please contact Alexandra Smith, GME Program
Coordinator for the Knapp / UTRGV Family Practice Residency Program at, or Veronica Martinez, Director of the Knapp Medical Group at 956-973-5237; and visit our Family Practice Residency Clinic or

INAUGURAL CLASS OF DOCTORS FOR NEW PROGRAM IN MID-VALLEY – Six new family practice physician residents will form the inaugural class for a new Knapp Medical Center / UTRGV Family Practice Residency Program for the Mid-Valley, in Mercedes. From the left are Dr. Diego Moreno, Dr. Eddy Berges, Dr. Marita del Pilar Sanchez Sierra Marino, Dr. Miguel Tello (Associate Program Director), Dr. Eliana Costantino Burgazzi, Dr. Carolina Gomez de Ziegler; and Dr. Miguel A. Sanchez Rivas.