HARLINGEN, Texas – With the amount of diabetes in the Rio Grande Valley, the UTRGV School of Podiatric Medicine has important work to do.

So says Dr. Javier La Fontaine, inaugural dean of the UT-Rio Grande Valley School of Pediatric Medicine. La Fontaine was appointed to the post on July 1, 2022.

La Fontaine was interviewed by the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service just before the start of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership’s 2023 Valley Legislative Tour. During the tour, La Fontaine spoke on a healthcare panel held at Harlingen Collegiate High School. 

“This is an exciting time for the Rio Grande Valley, the state of Texas and the nation as we begin the journey to prepare the next generation of podiatric medicine leaders,” La Fontaine said.

“With the amount of diabetes down here in the Rio Grande Valley, we are going to make a big difference.”


UTRGV is the first university in Texas and one of only ten in the nation to prepare and graduate Doctors of Podiatric Medicine. La Fontaine played an integral role in the school being accredited by the Council on Pediatric Medical Education. The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program has also been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Prior to joining UTRGV, Dr. La Fontaine worked at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he served as a professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery and as Fellowship Director of Limb Preservation at Parkland Hospital.

La Fontaine also has served as an associate professor at Texas A&M University College of Medicine; chief of podiatric medicine section at Central Texas Veterans Medical Center in Temple, Texas; associate professor of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA); and division chief of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and residency program director at UTHSCSA and Bexar County Hospital.

He graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (now Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine). He received a Master’s in Clinical Investigation from UTHSCSA in 2006 and a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in higher education from Liberty University in 2021.

La Fontaine completed his internship in Primary Podiatric Medicine and residency in Podiatric Surgery at UTHSCSA. He is board certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) and the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM).

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