By Joe Louis Gomez
Patients at Santa Maria in Brownsville usually learn immediately that communication and compassion lie at the heart of a trio of doctors offices dedicated to the well being of women in the Rio Grande Valley.
Staying true to the mission statement, which is to provide quality comprehensive care to the people of Brownsville out of three locations on Price Road, Los Ebanos and Southmost, a team of four doctors and three nurse practitioners comprise the medical group practice that has operated in the region for nearly three decades.
It’s family that runs the practice, and family is the reason why the practice still thrives after all this time, according to Dr. Orlando Ramirez, a new addition to the Santa Maria family and longtime nurse practitioner Madeleine Corbeil.
“It feels like family. I don’t imagine myself working anywhere else because I do feel that. I enjoy what I do. They’re good people to work for. There’s a lot of trust,” said Corbeil, who has worked as a nurse practitioner at Santa Maria for 14 of the last 19 years. Growing up in Brownsville, Corbeil said she was in nursing school when she got her first job as a nurse’s aid at the clinic in the early 1990s.
“There is enough confidence in my practice, in my education and what I do, that I feel they allow me to practice comfortably,” she said. “They’re the ones who taught me. I was a nurse aid, then a nurse and went up the ladder little by little in their office, in their practice with their protocols and their way of practicing.”
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in Brownsville, Corbeil is a graduate from the University of Texas at Brownsville with an Associate Degree in Applied Science. She was employed at Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville in the Labor and Delivery before joining Clinica Santa Maria as a Clinical Coordinator.
She continued her studies at University of Texas Health Science Center Southwestern Medical School Advanced Nurse Practitioner Program in Dallas and received certification as a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner. She returned to Clinica Santa Maria as the Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner.
Speaking with an obvious passion for maternity and adolescent care, along with the thousands of babies she has helped deliver over the years, Corbeil says its the culture of the Valley that has influenced her approach to the job.
“It’s the community’s sense of closeness. Brownsville, even though it’s starting to get big, there is still a real small town feel to it,” Corbeil said. “It’s a huge influence, the fact that I am from here, I grew up here and I now work here.”
The strength of Clinica Santa Maria is how it functions with the people who represent all different backgrounds and types, according to Dr. Ramirez who comes from New York City by way of St. Croix on the U.S. Virgin Islands. He arrived at Santa Maria in May after completing his residency at Mount Sinai School of Medicine Jersey City Program in Obstetric and Gynecology.
“It’s so genuine here. You can immerse yourself in this culture instead of trying to branch out in every direction like in New Jersey,” Dr. Ramirez said on his first impressions of the Rio Grande Valley. “The staff here helps me further my knowledge and how to treat patient and my OR experience as well. Other places I visited just wanted to give me an office and send me out there, so I thought against that.”
Upon graduating from high school, Dr. Ramirez moved to Florida where attended the University of Central Florida and obtained a bachelors degree in Microbiology and Molecular Biology. He then moved back to the Caribbean where in 2006 he achieved a Doctorate in Medicine at the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. He then completed an intership at Damas Hospital in Ponce, Puerto Rico in Transitional Internal Medicine.
“I always want the patient to know that they’re not just a number. They are patients I really care about. I really do enjoy my job,” Dr. Ramirez said. “It’s about feeling good about what you do. I want patients to know that yes, I am new to the community but coming from New Jersey I have great experience in what I do.
“I just want patients to know that working here at Santa Maria has caused a positive effect. Coming here will be one of the best decisions you can make because we want to give the best to our patients,” he said.