Practice Profiles

Family, Community, Country: The Power of Patient-Centered Pediatrics in South Texas

Dr. J.J. Saenz views his pediatric practice as an extension of his family—in fact, the practice is his family. While striving to meet the needs of their diverse community, Dr. Saenz and his children have been providing quality, evidence-based care for children in the Rio Grande Valley for 30 years.

It’s hardly surprising that pediatrician Dr. J.J. Saenz has little downtime in his work days. He has been practicing in the Rio Grande Valley for over 30 years, and in the process has cultivated a loyal patient community. “I’m currently seeing grandkids of my original patients,” Dr. Saenz says. “I’m almost 70, and I love what I do.”

Dr. Saenz and his family operate a small pediatric practice in Edinburg, Texas, located in the Rio Grande Valley just 15 miles North of the US-Mexico Border. On the open plains of South Texas, cattle ranches share space with immigration checkpoints, and generational Texas families live alongside recent migrants. The sociopolitical climate is as unforgiving as the South Texas sun; stories about increasing deportations frighten immigrant families, and they are reticent to leave their homes in daylight hours for fear of encountering border patrol. Of course, these families are also staying indoors during the hours when their health care providers are open. As patient volume drops, Dr. Saenz’s practice has been forced to rethink its patient outreach approach.

Stories and issues that matter most to

Independent Pediatricians.

Sharing with you the deep dedication of pediatric care, as told by independent pediatricians living and practicing in a variety of different locations and with different perspectives.

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Industry Trends

Vanderbilt University: Raising the Bar for Innovation in Pediatric EHRs

Build an intelligent, user-driven EHR; advocate for physicians at the national policy level; promote interoperability—these are just a few of the aspirations driving research and development in Vanderbilt’s Department of Biomedical Informatics.

Vanderbilt University boasts the largest Department of Biomedical Informatics in the world. Over the past decade, the institution has recruited programmers and physicians leading their fields in cutting-edge research. For example, Dr. Christoph Lehmann was recruited to Vanderbilt by his former mentor, Dr. Kevin Johnson. Lehmann spent seventeen years at Johns Hopkins University, where he undertook fellowships in Neonatology and Applied Informatics before joining Vanderbilt’s faculty. “In 2012, they made me an offer that was too good to refuse,” says Lehmann. “I have only one regret about the move to Vanderbilt, and it’s that I didn’t move earlier.”

Dr. Lehmann belongs to a group of people that some jokingly refer to as the “Vanderbilt Mafia,” an impressive group of innovative Health Information Technology (HIT) professionals. How did Vanderbilt attract its high powered team, and become a hub for pioneering HIT?

Tools & Resources

Built for Pediatricians

The Independent Pediatrician is proud to provide you with a list of resources that we believe can help independent pediatricians survive and thrive. Feel free to share them and pass them on, integrating them into your pediatric community.


Hold the Vision, Trust the Process

How to be a deliberate creator and achieve work-life balance.

What is balance? It is all relative, since you can only find balance when you know where your own center is.

Doctors, like those in many other professions, spend many years honing our craft. We log countless hours in training and then in “real life” practice we don’t just stop when the day is over—there are patients to follow up on, calls to take, human lives to care about and keep healthy. I have yet to meet a physician who hasn’t gone above and beyond on countless occasions for his or her patients.