Full-Time Faculty

HeadshotNameTitle & ProfileEmailTelephone
Maria Cantu-Cooper, MDAssistant Professor/Clinical

Dr. Maria Angelica Cantu-Cooper completed residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Geriatrics and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Inpatient Geriatric Medical Director at the University Hospital. She is developing a new inpatient and outpatient geriatric consultation service for older adults admitted with traumatic injury in partnership with the University Hospital Level 1 Trauma Service. She has an academic interest in transitions of care, management of geriatric syndromes, and integration of geriatrics and palliative medicine. She additionally is interested in medical education at the curricular design and evaluation level and is developing a wellness curriculum for interprofessional geriatrics and hospice and palliative medicine fellows at UTHSCSA, as well as developing educational material for interprofessional team members who treat geriatric trauma patients.
Sara E. Espinoza, M.D.Associate Professor, Section Chief, Research

Dr. Espinoza is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology & Palliative Medicine, and a core faculty member in the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Studies. She is Leader of the Clinical Core and Co-Director of the San Antonio Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. For the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Dr. Espinoza serves as Associate Director for Clinical Programs with the Geriatrics Research, Education & Clinical Center.

Dr. Espinoza’s primary research focus is understanding frailty, a geriatric syndrome that increases risk for physical decline. She has conducted epidemiologic and clinical translational research in this area, including clinical trials. Her epidemiologic work was the first to directly compare prevalence and incidence rates of frailty among Mexican Americans and European Americans in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA) cohort, in collaboration with Dr. Helen Hazuda, Principal Investigator of SALSA. This work identified that diabetes is a strong predictor of future frailty in older adults. Her translational research identified novel inflammatory biomarkers for frailty using high throughput proteomics techniques, collaborating with other investigators within the Barshop Institute. She is currently leading a randomized clinical trial of metformin for the prevention of frailty in older adults with pre-diabetes (NIH/NIA R01AG052697). She is also the Site PI for the Aspirin for Events in the Elderly study (ASPREE and ASPREE-XT), a landmark trial which demonstrated that low dose aspirin does not reduce risk for dementia, disability, cardiovascular diseases, or death, but increases bleeding events, in healthy older adults.

As Associate Director of Clinical Programs for the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) and Staff Physician, she provides clinical care at Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital and is actively engaged in research mentoring and clinical teaching to students, residents, and fellows. In this role she also oversees several clinical demonstration projects which serve to improve the care provided to older veterans in South Texas.

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Jennifer Healy, DOAssociate Professor, Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship DirectorHealyJ@uthscsa.edu210-617-5300 ext 15614
Melida Juarez, MDAssistant Professor/Clinical

Dr. Melida Aurora Juarez is an Assistant Professor of Medicine with the Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Medicine at the University of Texas Health at San Antonio and Co-Medical Director of the Inpatient Palliative Medicine service and clinician with University Hospital and University Health System. Prior to beginning her medical studies, she received a BA in English Literature at Southwestern University. She completed medical school at Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, residency in Family Medicine and completed a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at UTHSA. Her interests include cancer related symptom management, complementary and alternative medicine interventions in palliative, palliative care in under-resourced settings, and social disparities in healthcare.
Amrita Kamat, Ph.D.Associate ProfessorKamat@uthscsa.edu210-617-5300,

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Dean L. Kellogg, M.D., Ph.D.ProfessorKelloggD@uthscsa.edu210-617-5300, ext. 16107
Jennifer LaCoss, MDAssistant Professor/Clinical

Dr. Jennifer LaCoss is a Palliative Medicine physician and assistant professor for UT Health San Antonio and the Long School of Medicine in the Department of Geriatrics, Gerontology, and Palliative Medicine. Additionally, she is the Medical Director for the Outpatient Palliative Care Clinic at University Hospital, which supports a busy inpatient and outpatient palliative medicine service. The palliative care service at University Hospital was honored as a recipient of the Circle of Life Award in 2019 from the American Hospital Association, which highlights excellence in delivery of palliative care.

Dr. LaCoss is board certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice & Palliative Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from Texas Lutheran University, medical degree from Ross University in 2011, then completed Internal Medicine residency training at University of Oklahoma in Tulsa. Dr. LaCoss subsequently completed Hospice & Palliative Medicine training at UT Health San Antonio, then joined the Hospice & Palliative Medicine fellowship program as a faculty member.

Prior to starting a career in medicine, Dr. LaCoss obtained a Master of Forensic Science degree and worked as a forensic scientist and DNA analyst providing scientific analysis, support, and expert witness testimony in the criminal justice system for a number of years. Additionally, Dr. LaCoss is an active committee member for End Violence Against Women International, presenting at a national level on elder abuse. She has also participated in program development in conjunction with the Bexar County Domestic Violence Task Force on a committee addressing non-lethal strangulation in intimate partner violence.

Special areas of interest include issues addressing violence against women, domestic abuse, elder abuse, and social justice as they pertian to end-of-life issues. Also, Dr. LaCoss has a strong interest in wellness and compassion and how this is fostered in the medical community at large.
Michael J. Lichtenstein, M.D., MScProfessorLichtenstei@uthscsa.edu210-450-9020
Jason Morrow, M.D., Ph.D.Assistant Professor

Dr. Morrow is Medical Director of Palliative Care Inpatient Consultation at University Health System, as well as Assistant Professor of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, where he is also the Howard and Betty Halff Professor of Ethics & Medical Humanities. He graduated with a BS in Biology and a BA in Philosophy from Trinity University in San Antonio and took his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where he also received his PhD in Medical Humanities with a focus on Clinical Ethics. Dr. Morrow completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He then joined the faculty at Duke University where he was an academic hospitalist and Medical Director for Palliative Care at Duke Regional Hospital. Dr. Morrow is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He is the 2012 recipient of the Cunniff-Dixon Physician Award and the 2013 recipient of the Alpha Omega Alpha Edward D. Harris Professionalism Award.He helps to lead the Ethics curriculum for the Long School of Medicine and teaches Ethics and Palliative Medicine to medical students, residents, and faculty on campus and around the country. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and kids and dogs and (less so) his cat, and hiking around San Antonio and the Texas hill country.
Sandra E. Sanchez-Reilly, M.D.Professor/Clinical, Interim Division ChiefSanchezReill@uthscsa.edu210-617-5300

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Faculty with Cross-Appointments in our Division

Denise DahmAssistant Professor/Clinicaldahm@uthscsa.edu210-358-3948
Cesar H. GarciaAssistant Professor/Clinicalgarciac5@uthscsa.edu210-450-9020
Beatriz M., Hicks, MAAssociate Professor/Clinicalhicksb@uthscsa.edu210-567-3825
Nicolas Musi, M.D.Professormusi@uthscsa.edu210-617-5197
Becky PowersAssistant Professor/Clinicalpowersb3@uthscsa.edu210-617-5300

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Jeanette S.Ross, M.D.Associate Professor/Clinical, Director, Geriatrics Medicine Fellowship Programrossj@uthscsa.edu210-617-5300


Adjunct Faculty

Name EmailTelephone
Wesam Aziz, M.D.wesamaziz@aol.com210-684-3900
Bejamin K. GetterBGetter@gmail.com210-684-3900
Philip Holcombholcombp@uthscsa.edu210-882-6794
Denise Miner-WilliamsMinerWill@uthscsa.edu210-383-6725
Jerald WinakurJWinakur@aol.com210-912-5962

Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Medicine

Administrative Staff

Celeste Rodriguez
Manager, Finance and Administration

Krysta Jo Sargent
Program Coordinator-Geriatrics & Palliative Medicine Fellowships

Melissa Welch
Program Coordinator-Education Initiatives
210.617.5300 ext: 10137

Research and Other Support Staff

Freddie CasanovaProgram Coordinatorcasanovaa@uthscsa.edu210-617-5300 ext: 15197
Mary E. GarzaProject Coordinatorgarzame@uthscsa.edu210-617-5300