BROWNSVILLE — Throughout Brownsville and beyond, generations of local residents have chosen Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville as a source for superior, compassionate, healthcare.

As the hospital rapidly approaches a full century of serving the community, Valley Baptist-Brownsville continues to be a trusted and experienced member of the region’s rich heritage and legacy.

It is that legacy of caring for the community that helps set Valley Baptist-Brownsville apart, said Mario Garza, occupational therapist at Valley Baptist. Garza said that high standard of care has always led his family and countless others throughout the region to choose Valley Baptist-Brownsville for their healthcare needs.

“Valley Baptist’s reputation is well-known throughout the Rio Grande Valley,” he said. “Even from when I was a child, I’ve always heard great things about Valley Baptist. My family has always chosen Valley Baptist for its medical care and has always had great things to say about Valley Baptist.”

Thinking back to the start of his career in healthcare nearly 15 years ago, Garza said Valley Baptist’s reputation for delivering both nationally-recognized and compassionate care led him to join the hospital’s team.

“When I got out as a new graduate, I set my sights on Valley Baptist because of that reputation, and my experience here has been great,” he said. “Our main objective has always been to make our patients feel comfortable and make sure that they know that somebody cares. At Valley Baptist and in our rehabilitation department, we want patients to know that we care. We’re here for you, and I always tell my patients that I’m just a phone call away.”

Those personal touches also extend throughout Valley Baptist-Brownsville, including the Mother-Baby Unit, where the hospital’s tiniest patients and their mommies receive the attentive and experienced care they need when they need it most, according to Miriam Longoria, director of women’s services at Valley Baptist-Brownsville.

From being designated Cameron County’s first Level III newborn intensive care unit in mid-2018, to earning recognition including a Texas Ten Step Program designation, which helps hospitals improve health outcomes for lactating women and their infants, Valley Baptist-Brownsville’s longtime expertise in caring for newborns and their mothers is well-known throughout the region.

“For our patients, this is an experience they will never forget, whether it’s their first baby or last baby, it’s a time that they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives,” Longoria said. “When we discharge a mother and baby from Valley Baptist, we want them to know that we did everything possible to make them comfortable and to make sure that their birth experience was the best experience they could have.”

Helping families grow with successful deliveries for nearly a century, Valley Baptist-Brownsville is truly intertwined in the fabric of the local community. As the needs of the community continue to grow, Valley Baptist continues to evolve to meet those needs, Longoria said.

“Valley Baptist has been a part of the community for more than 97 years. I was born here,” she continued. “It’s great when we have patients who say, ‘I was born here,’ or ‘I had my last baby here and it looks so different now.’ We’ve changed and grown with our community. Our Mother-Baby Unit has been completely remodeled, and we’ve made some additional positive changes. The birth experience at Valley Baptist is unique compared to anywhere else in the Valley.”

For physicians treating patients at Valley Baptist-Brownsville, the opportunity to be part of an organization that has served the community for nearly a century can be incredibly satisfying, said Dr. Beverly Zavaleta, Valley Baptist physician adviser, hospitalist, and family medicine physician.

“I started my career living and practicing in San Antonio, but when I moved here with my husband, whose family has resided in Brownsville for decades, I was able to put down roots. At that same time, I became a member of the Valley Baptist family, which also has deep roots in the community,” she said. “That is something that has been critical to the practice of family medicine for many years — to live your life alongside the people you serve and care for. That is something that is truly part of the Valley Baptist ethos, and I enjoy it.”

Zavaleta, who has been a member of the Brownsville medical community since 2008, said Valley Baptist has become known for its exemplary care in part through a dedication and commitment to excellent communication, not just between the care team, but between caregivers and patients.

“At Valley Baptist, we do a great job of communicating between departments, and that is so important for teams to function properly. I love to see it happening well, and we’re always striving for even better communication, because better communication improves care tremendously,” she said. “When it comes to our interaction with patients, from an emotional standpoint I want the patient to feel comforted and reassured that I am with them and they can rely on me and that I hear them. From a practical standpoint, I want the patient or their family members to understand their diagnosis and their treatment plan.”

As Valley Baptist approaches its 100th year of serving the community, Zavaleta said local residents should know the same hospital that has served their families for generations will continue to do so long into the future.

“Having the opportunity to serve the Brownsville community has been wonderful for me, and for Valley Baptist,” she said. “When you have a hospital like Valley Baptist that has been a part of the community for almost 100 years, it is truly amazing.”