Member of the Month: Jessica Garcia, DO
Houston physician focuses on palliative care and representing the underrepresented
By Samantha White
Wanting to care for a wide variety of patients in Texas’ underserved communities, Jessica Garcia, DO, chose family medicine when beginning her medical education. A mentor during her residency in Corpus Christi steered her toward palliative care, which she later studied through a fellowship. She has previously served as medical director for an inpatient palliative care program, associate medical director for a hospice in Houston, and has had opportunities to practice family medicine and geriatrics in clinical outpatient settings. She is currently an assistant professor in family medicine with Baylor and Harris Health in Cypress, where she sees mainly geriatric and palliative patients in her clinic. Garcia also works with the underserved minority populations in Harris County.
Who or what inspired you to become a family physician?
My family including my cousins and great uncle are all physicians and have been an inspiration to me. Additionally, my own personal health trials I have overcome since childhood made me want to pursue being a physician so I could give back to other people what was given to me. I also truly believe being a physician is a calling from God and I feel like my faith has also played an important role in driving me to be a family physician.
What are your practice passions?
My practice passions are serving the minority underserved communities, especially the Hispanic population. I enjoy being able to converse in Spanish as much as I can. I also really enjoy geriatrics and the palliative population. Being able to do effective symptom management and improving a patient’s quality of life is very rewarding! I hope to get a palliative care clinic started within the Harris Health system to better serve the community in Houston suburban areas.
Why do you choose to be a TAFP member?
I enjoy meeting new people and leaders within the TAFP community. It’s exciting to hear different stories and learn the different ways they overcome obstacles in family medicine. I also like being able to keep up to date on what’s going on with family medicine in Texas. TAFP has also granted me many amazing leadership opportunities such as completing the FMLE program, serving as a minority delegate to NCCL, and serving as Harris County delegate for the TAFP’s 2021 Annual Session.
What led you to get involved with organized medicine and attend NCCL?
I wanted to serve as a minority delegate to represent minorities from Texas so we could put forth ideas and make changes that would address some of the obstacles we face as practicing family medicine physicians. For instance, at the NCCL 2022 conference, I worked on getting a resolution passed which addressed medical student debt. It is my hope that loans will be forgiven for all underserved medical students pursuing family medicine and family medicine physicians in the near future.
What do you enjoy doing outside of medicine?
I enjoy doing ballet. I recently performed with Houston’s Urban Nutcracker! I have been ballet dancing since I was 4 and performed with various companies such as Corpus Christi Ballet, Alamo City Ballet, and David Taylor in Colorado. I also enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, and anything outdoors with my family! I’m an avid skier since I grew up in Denver. Just spending quality time with my husband Jason, daughter Lillie, and dog Luna.
TAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Texas family physicians in TAFP News Now and on the TAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different TAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting TAFP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (512) 329-8666. View past Members of the Month here.