Graduate Testimonials | UAG School of Medicine

TESTIMONIALS

Avie Grunspan, MD
Dr. Grunspan, 
is a board-certified sleep medicine specialist and a highly skilled internal medicine practitioner. In his role at Texas Pediatric Specialties and Family Sleep Center, Dr. Grunspan is honored to help adults in the Shavano Park, and Lockhill-Selma areas of San Antonio, Texas, improve their health and get the rest they need to thrive. 
Education has always played a central role in Dr. Grunspan’s life. He began his studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the University of Cincinnati, both in his native Ohio. He went on to earn his medical degree from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Mexico, where he met his wife. 
Once he returned to the United States, Dr. Grunspan studied in New York at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and trained for three years at the Mount Sinai program for internal medicine. He spent the following 17 years practicing internal medicine in Rochester, New York. 
Seeking a warmer climate and a change of pace, Dr. Grunspan and his family relocated to San Antonio in 2003, where he continued working in internal medicine and became interested in sleep medicine. Today, he primarily focuses on sleep medicine and serves as a clinical assistant professor at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine in San Antonio.
Dr. Grunspan also shares his knowledge and expertise through podcasts as well as both community and professional lectures on sleep medicine. When not working with patients or speaking, you might find Dr. Grunspan enjoying time with his family birdwatching, listening to music, biking, or planning their next travel adventures.
Juan Lua Gonzalez MD

Dr. Gonzalez is a board-certified psychiatrist with a special interest in mood disorders and women’s mental health. He has extensive experience in the treatment of mental health conditions in emergency, inpatient, and outpatient settings.

Dr. Gonzalez was born and raised in the Coachella Valley and attended the University of San Diego after graduating from CVHS. He attended the Autonomous University of Guadalajara and completed his medical education at New York Medical College. During his residency at the University of Arizona, he was awarded Junior Resident of the Year, served as Chief Resident, and participated in the very first Psychiatry Integrative Medicine in Residency Program. He has additional training in women’s mental health and is a member of Postpartum Support International, Marcé of North America, and the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists. 

Prior to starting private practice, he was a member of the teaching faculty at Kaiser Permanente’s first psychiatry residency program. During his time at Kaiser Permanente, he received his favorite awards, “PGY2 Lecturer of the Year, PGY3 Lecturer of the Year, and Outpatient Teaching Faculty of the Year.”. Most recently, he has trained medical students and psychiatry residents from Loma Linda University, Western University, and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Gonzalez is married with three children and welcomed his latest child in 2019. He spends most of his free time with his 3 daughters, wife, and family.  After the kids finally go to bed, he works on a series of children’s books where wellness concepts are introduced to both children and parents.

Nnamdi Orakpo, MD, PhD
Previously, Nnamdi played semi-pro basketball in Australia and New Zealand, without any plans of going to college, before his father changed his trajectory for good. During undergraduate studies at the University of North Texas, Nnamdi Orakpo discovered his passion for working with older adults; a passion that evolved into a bilingual Sleep Medicine Psychiatrist & Interventional Psychiatrist. Nnamdi attended UNT, where he completed his doctorate (PhD) in Gerontology at UNT (2010) before continuing on to medical school at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine, in Mexico; he finished his medical education (MD) on the Southside of Chicago at Mount Sinai at Jackson Park Hospital, graduating in 2016. Dr. Nnamdi spearheaded a clinical trial testing the efficacy of (EEG) Virtual Reality Neurofeedback (VR) as a novel adjunct to cognitive behavioral therapy for patients with chronic centralized pain and insomnia. His study was the first of its kind and funded by an institutional grant at Garnet Health Medical Center, in New York, where he graduated from a residency in Psychiatry (2022). He graduated from Sleep Medicine fellowship training at Stanford University, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Sleep Medicine (2023), where he continues to serve as Adjunct Clinical Faculty in Sleep Medicine. His current interest is employing Neuro modulation with ketamine to help improve insomnia in depressed patients. 

An avid Physician Scientist, Nnamdi has published articles in the journal SLEEP (Oxford Academic), Frontiers Journal of Psychiatry, Frontiers Journal of Human Neuroscience, and has collaborated with Stanford colleagues on a textbook on clinical sleep medicine, where he authored the chapters on chronic insomnia, isolated sleep paralysis, sleep enuresis, sleep-related eating disorder, sexsomnia, and exploding head syndrome. He is also an active member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the California Sleep Society, and North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS), and the Northern California Psychiatric Society.
George Fahed MD | Pulmonology | Class of 1998 | Alumni
I recently returned from a trip to Guadalajara, where I had the honor of delivering the commencement speech for the graduating class of UAG Med School Class 2023. As an alumnus of this esteemed institution, I was deeply moved by the warm reception I received from the staff and the level of care and attention I received during my stay.
During my visit, I was impressed by the modern facilities of the new medical school campus, which boasted state-of-the-art technology and architecture to provide the best possible learning environment for medical students. The new philosophy of the UAG medical school, combined with a vibrant and enthusiastic academic and administrative staff, has created a conducive atmosphere for students to thrive.

I was especially heartened to see the dedication of the ancillary and supportive teams that have been put in place to encourage and guide the students towards academic success. The focus on incentivizing successful passing rates of the USMLEs and optimally enhanced placing in US National academic hospital training opportunities is a testament to the commitment of the UAG to produce highly competitive and successful physicians.
The graduation ceremony was a moving experience, perfectly organized and delivered, and I was touched by the emotional atmosphere that permeated throughout the event. The families of the graduates came together to celebrate this momentous occasion, and I was delighted to see that every graduate was handed a realistic opportunity to achieve their potential as physicians in the US health system workforce.

As I departed, I reflected on the metamorphosis of the medical school since my time as a student and was amazed at the ample opportunities that are now available with this new approach and philosophy of medical formation. The UAG has done an exceptional job of creating an environment that fosters the success of a new generation of physicians, and I commend the academic staff for their dedication to this noble cause.
Amanda Koziel MD, AAHIVS | Class of 2017 | Alumni
UAG gave me the opportunity to study medicine, live abroad, and pursue my dream of becoming a physician.

The experiences during those years although challenging, were unique and really helped with my personal growth. The ability to learn another language and culture while studying medicine has been humbling and really helped me better connect with patients and colleagues in my professional practice.

UAG offers hands-on clinical experience starting from the first year, which improved my overall comfortability when interacting with patients, a key skill needed in the practice of medicine of any specialty. I am thankful to be part of this community and to support other students to pursue their medical education through UAG.
Maria Valentin | Class of 1998 | Medical Internist | Alumni
Studying Medicine at UAG School of Medicine transformed my life from the moment I stepped through its doors. A defining experience that forever altered my path. Arriving at the age of 21, I was met with a journey of newfound independence, an enduring appreciation for others, and a deep-rooted sense of humility.
Brandon R. Cantazaro | Class of 2014 | Internal Medicine | Alumni
I knew that I wanted to help people. But it wasn't until I started volunteering at an inner city clinic as an undergraduate that my career path became clear. I wanted to become a doctor and serve the underserved. The next step was to find a way to make it happen. On the advice of several physicians that I worked with, I looked into UAG. Considering my goals, my desire for hands-on learning, and my love of culture and community, it seemed like the perfect choice. So I dove right in. I came to México, lived with a host family, and gained a deep understanding of the language and the culture. Except for five months when I returned to the U.S. to do rotations in Arizona, I lived and breathed medicine in Guadalajara for four years. And it paid off. I came home prepared, matched for a residency, and eager to begin doing what I had set out to do: help people the best way I knew how—by becoming a doctor.
Myers R. Hurt III | Class of 2008 | Family Medicine | Alumni

It was an absolute pleasure to visit the UAG campus nine years after my graduation. The UAG main campus, ICB, and Hospital Angel Leano all brought back fond memories. The new organ-based curriculum is an impressive step forward in the development of clinical and critical thinking skills, the electronic journal access puts the UAG digital library on par with any US institution, and the 4-year ECMG certification option is a much-improved pathway to obtain residency in the United States. It is clear that UAG cares about the success of their graduates and the faculty have made large strides to become a solid option for international students looking to practice medicine in the US.

Jose Monsivais | Alumni
I wouldn't mind going through it all again if I could. It was here at UAG that I learned how to study medicine and how to prepare myself. The principles I gained included questioning everything and never taking anything at face value, which is advice I still give to all medical students. I firmly believe that this mindset is essential for personal growth in the field of medicine. I am confident that UAG is on the path to becoming a significant institution, with the potential to expand, grow, and become even more influential. It is attracting a lot of talent, and the affordability factor is also a significant advantage.
Jorge Luis Martinez Trabal | Alumni
When Dr. Jorge Luis landed in UAG he never imagined the impression it would leave on him. His experience on campus was amazing, he created a great group of friends, learned from superb professors and physicians, and got to immerse himself in the beautiful culture of Guadalajara. He shortly noticed the advantages of attending UAG instead of other medical schools. At UAG, he was interacting with patients in his first semester and rotated through clinics weekly. This quickly helped develop his interpersonal skills. He also learned that UAG teaching methods were preparing him to have cultural competence, skills that are important to physicians. He received The best advice from one of his professors, Dr. Martinez Sandoval. His message helped him get through medical school and be successful and still uses it today.
Johnny Soter | Class of 2018 | Internal Medicine | Alumni
Together with my wife and our dog, we made the decision to move from Utah to Guadalajara, and we couldn't be happier with our choice. The city, the school, and the people have all captured our hearts. The professors and staff at UAG have been incredibly helpful and their passion for preparing students to become exceptional doctors, capable of providing medical care to a diverse population, is evident. One of the things that initially drew me to UAG was the opportunity to become a bilingual doctor. The idea of being able to communicate effectively with a wider range of patients resonated with me. As for my future focus, I am currently considering internal medicine, family practice, or emergency medicine. While I am still in the process of finalizing my decision, I am certain that my chosen field will be primary care. Ultimately, I would like to return to practice in Utah since our families are located there. However, I am open to practicing medicine anywhere, as long as I can make a positive impact on people's lives.
Alexander Sabre | Alumni
Working as a full-scale OBGYN in Phoenix, Arizona has been an incredible journey for me. From performing robotic surgeries to delivering babies, I am involved in all aspects of obstetrics and gynecology. My training in New York City equipped me with the knowledge and skills to provide compassionate care to women in every stage of their lives.
Medicine has always been a part of my life, as my father is a UAG graduate and practices family medicine. Growing up in a medical household, I knew from a young age that medicine was my true passion. My experiences in Guadalajara, where I studied at UAG, were transformative. Despite not knowing any Spanish when I arrived, I embraced the culture and fell in love with the city and its people. It allowed me to practice medicine and pursue my dreams and passions.

During my time as a student, I actively engaged in social work, participating in various brigades and events such as 'Project Smile' and 'Cruz Verde.' Although my professional commitments in Phoenix limit my involvement in social work now, I remain dedicated to serving my community through the hospital system. I have fond memories of my time as a student at UAG, particularly the exceptional instructors like Dr. Carmelita, whose passion for teaching was inspiring. Learning in a different country provided me with invaluable life experiences that have shaped the kind of physician I am today. Being back at UAG is an honor for me. Witnessing the changes and experiences here fills me with excitement and gratitude. Being chosen as the padrino for this graduating class is a significant privilege, and I am thrilled to be a part of their journey.

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