EDINBURG, Texas – Because of its fast-growing population, its demographic profile and the unique healthcare challenges it faces, the Rio Grande Valley is the right place for a top healthcare summit.

This is the view of Dr. Carlos Cardenas, chairman and co-founder of DHR Health.

Cardenas will officially open a summit called The Future of Health Care, a daylong event hosted by the Texas Tribune on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.

Dr. Carlos Cardenas

“I think this summit is on point and the reason I say that is because we sit at a crossroads here in the Rio Grande Valley, with several important issues coming into focus,” Cardenas told the Rio Grande Guardian.

One of the things coming into focus, Cardenas said, is the trans-border dynamic.

“We need to look at epidemiology. This is most appropriate because, as you know, microbes have no borders,” Cardenas said.

“The issue we have with immigrants coming across our border is right here in our area. The issues that are political in nature, and apolitical nature, all of these come to a crossroads right here on the border, in the Rio Grande Valley. We are right where all the action is and I think the Texas Tribune coming down here to host the event is a nod to that.”

As for the Valley’s demographics, Cardenas said the region’s large and growing Hispanic population deserves the attention of statewide leaders.

“If we look at the demography of what is happening in our area, we are one of the fastest growing areas in the state and/or in the country and so the challenges for healthcare here are myriad,” Cardenas said.

“When look at what the demographic changes that are coming in the state are, and that is the growth of the Hispanic minority population in Texas, we in the Valley are a reflection of that.”

Cardenas, a past president of the Texas Medical Association, said that with its high levels of diabetes and obesity, the Valley is producing some of the major cost drivers in healthcare.

“And so I think it is very apropos that the Texas Tribune decided to come down here to have the summit.”

Cardenas said DHR Health is proud to be staging the summit.

“I think it speaks to the larger issues that I have talked about for years. That is that as physicians we treat patients at the bedside and we make decisions that affect their healthcare. However, the greater bedside is our community and so the decisions we make as physicians and our participation in the process is absolutely on point.”

Cardenas added: “The fact that the Tribune is coming to do the story here is just fantastic.”

Dr. Jake Margo, a family medicine physician from Rio Grande City, is president of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians. Margo is one of the panelists at the Texas Tribune summit. He will speak on a panel titled More Access, Better Outcomes.

“I am very excited that the Texas Tribune has chosen the Valley for its healthcare summit,” Margo told the Rio Grande Guardian. “For us to have this unique opportunity to not only display some of our best and brightest, but also to show some of our unique challenges is a blessing.”

Manny Vela, CEO of Valley Baptist Health System, will also be a panelist at the summit. He will speak on the same panel as Margo.

“In a very timely manner, the RGV is being recognized as a major healthcare player in Texas,” Vela told the Rio Grande Guardian. “From world class research to growing our own doctors, the Valley is a very special place where many innovations are taking place, especially within the realm of healthcare.”

Editor’s Note: Click here to see the agenda for The Future of Health Care conference.