Dr. Balderas doesn’t mind being called mija sometimes.
The endearing term in the Valley, which roughly translates to daughter in the Hispanic vernacular, is a label she carries proudly during her working hours.
For Dr. Balderas, it means something greater than just trust among her patients. It’s being able to relate to their concerns and respond back with empathy and understanding.
“The way I approach my practice is the way I approach my daily life, and it’s based on the core values of how I was raised by my parents,” said Dr. Valeska Balderas, one of three physicians that comprise TGI’s McAllen office. “I strive to always do the right thing for my patients, and I treat and care for them as I would a member of my family.”
“I have a strong work ethic, and I am dedicated to my career,” she said. “I was blessed to join a thriving and busy practice with Dr. Jose Rodriguez. We all work very hard to provide quality service, and we are committed to providing the best patient care in the region.”
A Valley native, Dr. Balderas is a Board Certified Gastroenterologist, but she has a special interest in pancreaticobiliary disorders. She received advanced training in ERCP and EUS (endoscopic ultrasound) and is one of the only doctors in the Upper Valley qualified to perform such specialized procedures. EUS involves obtaining sonographic views from within the gastrointestinal lumen, allowing more in-depth imaging of the biliary tree, pancreas, and certain gastrointestinal cancers.
She is also able to obtain fine needle aspirations of certain malignancies from within the gastrointestinal lumen, allowing for quick diagnosis and staging.
Texas Gastroenterology Institute is a specialty practice dedicated to providing high quality specialty care in gastroenterology. The practice was established by Dr. Rodriguez in 1992, and since that time has served tens of thousands of patients arriving with general gastrointestinal issues. The office sees self-referred patients as well as patients with referrals from other doctors.
“The culture and attributes of the Valley are that of strong family ties and values, work ethic, ambition, and innovativeness to grow individually and as a population in a thriving economic metropolis,” Dr. Balderas said. “It’s for these reasons, aside from many more, that brought me back to my hometown.”
“This area was in need of medical professionals such as myself who have been trained for specialized procedures in Gastroenterology,” she said. “With an ever-growing population, I felt I would be an asset to the community, as they would no longer have to travel to a university academic hospital center outside of this region to receive these specialized procedures.
I wanted to provide a service to the community that helped shape who I am.”
Talking about her own dedication to school and eventually career, Dr. Balderas offered a message to students looking to enter the medical profession, and especially those students who will one day enter the Rio Grande Valley’s first medical school in 2016.
“The message would have to be maintaining discipline and focus to the goal at hand. Time management is also key,” she said. “If your career is not the priority, I can guarantee it will be a lot more difficult for some. The experience for me has been very rewarding, and the sense of accomplishment is unmatched.”
Students from the Valley seeking a medical career have a lot before them, including being able to speak Spanish and English, an excellent UTPA-Pre Med program, and a new medical school coming soon.
“My advice would be to take advantage of what is before you, and focus on your career and education without all the distractions.”