BACKSTAGE WITH OUR STAFF

Rachel Garvin, MD
Neuro-Critical Care
Cynthia Blanco, MD
Neonatology
ANNETTE JURKOVAC, RN
Medical ICU
MONICA HERNANDEZ, RN
Hematology/Oncology
CHRISTOPHER ESPARZA, RN
Vascular
RENE GONZALEZ, RN
ExpressMed (Urgent Care)
FRANCISCO CIGARROA, MD
Pediatric Transplant

RACHEL GARVIN, MD

Dr. Rachel Garvin is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center. One of only three board-certified neuro-critical care physicians in our city, she is also the program director of two neuro-critical care fellowships. Dr. Garvin is an emergency medicine physician and still works in the Emergency Department regularly when not in the eighth floor Neuro-ICU.

What is important to you about University Health System? “I love to teach so I cannot imagine working anywhere besides an academic medical center. I get to work with learners at all different levels and to help share my love of medicine with those that I work with.”

What does “Thinking Beyond” mean to you? “ ‘Thinking beyond’ has so many different meanings to me. It means doing more than what is required, thinking beyond the basics, staying up with current literature, going out of your way to do the right thing.”

Read Dr. Blanco's Bio

CYNTHIA BLANCO, MD

Dr. Cynthia Blanco is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She has worked at University Health System since 2005 as a neonatologist and director of the Neonatal Transport Team.

What is important to you about University Health System? “University Health System fulfills my passion for advancing medicine. It is through this hospital that I am able to practice medicine based on real evidence. It is within this hospital where we teach future doctors how to excel.”

What does “Thinking Beyond” mean to you? “ ‘Thinking beyond’ means saving the lives of those that no one else can imagine being able to save; we can do it if we put our patients first regardless of cost, sacrifice and time spent. Then our patients will succeed and we are there to witness and be part of history.”

Read Annette's Bio

ANNETTE JURKOVAC, RN

Annette Jurkovac is a registered nurse at University Hospital and is proud to be a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, a critical care unit that has been awarded the Beacon Award of Excellence. A graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Nursing class of 2013, Annette is the wife of a firefighter and the mother of two amazing kids.

What is important to you about University Health System? “I chose University Hospital for its learning environment. Being that it’s a teaching hospital, the relationships between physicians, nurses, therapists and dietitians are strong. It’s an environment rich in humility and the learning is limitless. I can’t see myself working anywhere else. I work on an amazing unit alongside amazing nurses whom I admire and respect, nurses with strong backs and soft hearts.”

What does “Thinking Beyond” mean to you? “It is something we practice every day in the MICU. It’s in our culture; it’s a part of what makes our unit so great! Always striving to be the best at what we do and how we do it. This requires thinking beyond the traditional solutions and answers.”

Read Monica's Bio

MONICA HERNANDEZ, RN

Monica Hernandez is the Patient Care Coordinator on the eighth floor Hematology/Oncology unit and 10th floor Sky Tower. A 15-year employee with University Health System, Monica started in nursing school and has been working her way up the clinical ladder. She was raised on the West Side of San Antonio and was born at the Robert B. Green Memorial Hospital in 1977. The oldest of four siblings, she learned that hard work, dedication and strong faith can lead you to many opportunities — to “think beyond” what is right before you. The proud wife of a law enforcement officer and mother of two amazing daughters, she enjoys building sandcastles with her daughters, running and traveling.

What is important to you about University Health System? “I appreciate the learning-teaching environment. Every day presents a new challenge to learn and grow from. Ongoing support from senior leadership has assisted me in developing the foundation that I have today.”

What does “Thinking Beyond” mean to you? “My passion is learning and teaching. To me, ‘thinking beyond’ means more opportunity. Opportunity for having more treatment options, career options — being a part of a much bigger masterpiece.”

Read Christopher's Bio

CHRISTOPHER ESPARZA, RN

Christopher Esparza is a registered nurse assigned to the Vascular Access Team at University Hospital. He has worked at University Health System for 19 years, beginning as a paramedic before becoming a nurse 16 years ago. He is currently in graduate school to become a nurse practitioner and looks forward to continuing his work with the Health System in that role. He and his wife, Charisma, have been married for 12 years and have three beautiful children. He enjoys running, cycling, photography and culinary arts.

What is important to you about University Health System? “I am University blue and absolutely love working for the Health System. As a paramedic and a flight nurse, I saw many different health systems and none offers the academics, environment and patient population.”

What does “Thinking Beyond” mean to you? “As a Level I trauma center, a designated Magnet facility and an unparalleled work environment, University is constantly moving forward. That’s what ‘thinking beyond’ means to me—not just what is available today or about being the best today, but always looking to stay the best.”

Read Rene's Bio

RENE GONZALEZ, RN

Rene Gonzalez is the Ambulatory Clinical Area Manager at the ExpressMed urgent care clinic at Medical Center Pavilion. Rene has been employed with the Health System for 23 years and a nurse for eight. He spent 15 years working in the Emergency Department and the rest in the ambulatory sector — two years in charge of the Ambulatory Infusion Center and six in management roles. Currently he is in graduate school studying to become a family nurse practitioner. Rene and his wife are active participants in CrossFit, and you can usually find them in a CrossFit gym.

What is important to you about University Health System? “The emphasis on education and professionalism. It fosters growth, leading to longevity in the health system.”

What does “Thinking Beyond” mean to you? “To rise to the next level of caring for our patients, utilizing technologies and evidence-based practices to improve patient outcomes. This includes designing infrastructures such as physical resources to increase accessibility to healthcare for our community.”

Read Dr. Cigarroa's Bio

Francisco Cigarroa, MD

Dr. Francisco Cigarroa is a professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center and the surgical director of the pediatric transplant program. He specializes in adult and pediatric liver and kidney transplant surgery and has worked at University Health System for more than 20 years.

What is important to you about University Health System? “University Health System and its partnership with the UT Health Science Center result in exemplary healthcare, using the most innovative medical therapies and surgical techniques, resulting in outstanding patient outcomes. When you walk into University Hospital one feels a culture of excellence and patient safety.”

What does “Thinking Beyond” mean to you? “We are at the forefront of medicine and surgery as well as engaged in important research leading to new therapies improving the health of our patients as well as that of others around the world.”