A Servant’s Heart: Dr. Victor Olivas Comes Home to JPS

December 21st, 2018

Growing up on the north side of Fort Worth, Dr. Victor Olivas’ family -- like so many others -- didn’t have health insurance. He rarely visited the doctor in those days, only if he was so sick that it couldn’t be avoided.

A rescue helicopter lands at JPS

Dr. Victor Olivas, Program Director of Residential Surgery at JPS Health Network. 

He’s excited to be working at JPS Health Network as Program Director of Surgical Residency, just a 10-minute car ride from where he was raised. Here, he gets the chance to help make sure people from his neighborhood and his hometown have access to the healthcare they need and deserve.

“When I had the opportunity to come to JPS, I jumped at it,” Olivas said about his decision to leave a similar public hospital where he worked in El Paso. “The patients are so happy here to get the care we can provide. I love to be able to be a servant of the people.”

He has been back in Fort Worth for only few months, but Olivas is already seeing familiar faces. While covering an appointment for a colleague, he suddenly recognized the patient as a classmate from middle school. He’s also quickly developed a reputation as a trusted mentor for resident physicians, according to JPS Executive Director of Perioperative Services Deb Saunders.

“We all try to have a connection to the community,” said Saunders. “He really has connections because he grew up here. But he’s also very good with people, in general. The residents have really gravitated to him and he’s fit right in.”

Dr. G. Robert Stephenson, Vice Chief of Surgery for Quality, Safety and Patient Experience, said Olivas is a tremendous asset for the community.

“He knows the community and the people in it because they are his neighbors,” Stephenson said. “It’s important to know the people you serve and the struggles they face, plus he’s an extraordinary surgeon and he has a true servant’s heart. We’re so lucky to have him here.”

A general surgeon, much of Olivas’ work is minimally invasive robotic surgery, often in the oncology field. As much as he enjoys helping people directly, Olivas said he is proud and excited about the other element of his position at JPS: training the next generation of surgeons.

 “I stumbled on the educational side of medicine almost by accident, but it’s been one of the most rewarding parts of my career,” Olivas said of his role mentoring residents, making sure their educational needs are met and that they’re meeting their milestones. “I was asked to do it in El Paso. The residents and students responded well to me and I found that I loved to do it.”

Olivas knew since he was a young boy that he wanted to go into medicine. A graduate of North Side High School, his plans were shaped as a young man when he shadowed rotations at JPS with the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and again as a resident. He earned his medical degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas in 2007 and worked at Texas Tech University HSC El Paso as a resident, clinical instructor, assistant professor and, finally, as Associate Program Director – Surgery Residency before he learned of an opening at JPS.

Olivas called the chance to do what he loves where he wants to be “serendipitous.”

“I knew it was the perfect chance to come back home,” Olivas said. “This is where I grew up and it’s where my family is. It’s where I am supposed to be.”

 


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