UTHSCSA Faculty Profiles v1.0

Avery, Richel Zayas MD

School of Medicine
Family & Community Medicine

My path to a career in medicine was not an easy one. I was born and raised in a small city in Southern Philippines. Academic scholarships and my strong resolve to succeed helped me during those trying times. The lessons I learned from these experiences have strengthened my character as a more resilient, determined and confident person. A keen sense of community service and compassion coupled with the temerity to withstand life?s obstacles makes Family Medicine a natural choice for me.
As an undergraduate nursing student, I volunteered in organizing a free clinic in one of the underserved communities in our city.
After earning my medical degree I joined a non-government charity hospital as the TB Medical Coordinator. This role has taught me a lot about what a doctor should be. I learned that successful TB management involves not only the patient, but also the family and the community.
My role provided an environment for me learn and grow as a physician with a keen sense of community service and strong social conscience. I worked in a supportive atmosphere open to the program changes and innovations I implemented. Among the program performance milestones were a decrease in the number of defaulters, increased cure rates, an increased identification of new cases as well as the number of volunteer DOTS partners. For four consecutive years, our hospital?s TB program spearheaded the World TB Day celebration in our city which had a strong impact on my skill development as a leader and initiator. It was both a humbling and fulfilling moment when our program?s efforts were recognized and I was invited to speak on Community Participation on TB Control at the National TB Convention in August 2004 in Manila, Philippines.
In 2005, I moved to the US and worked as an ER Nurse before joining the Family and Community Medicine Residency Program at UTHSCSA. As the chief resident I was able to hone my leadership skills and helped conduct research projects wiht other residents which we presented in conferences both statewide and nationwide. After finishing residency, I joined UT Medicine Primary Care Clinic. I worked with our team to advance our clinic as a patient centered medical home. My interest lies in obesity medicine as I believe it is a growing epidemic in our country. In 2017, I earned my certification as an Obesity Medicine Specialist. I run a weight loss management clinic alongside my practice as a primary care physician at the MARC. I plan to continue to pursue clinical research in obesity. In 2018, I was appointed the Associated Medical Director at the UT Primary Care Clinic at the MARC. In this role I assist our team in implementing strategies to improve quality of care for our patients. I spend most of my clinical duties seeing patients of all ages and continue to pursue clinic-based quality improvement projects.

8/2018 - Present Associate Medical Director UT Health Primary Care Clinic MARC, Family & Community Medicine, San Antonio, TX
7/2013 - Present Assistant Professor/Clinical and Faculty Physician UT Health San Antonio, Family & Community Medicine, San Antonio, TX