South Texas Health System McAllen Trauma Surgeon Elected to Texas EMS Trauma and Acute Care Foundation (TETAF) Board of Directors

Monday, March 11, 2024

Dr. Carlos Palacio

South Texas Health System is proud to have dedicated staff who continuously strive to keep learning and growing professionally in their respective fields, so it’s especially meaningful when one of those staff members is recognized for their hard work.

Dr. Carlos H. Palacio, trauma surgeon at South Texas Health System Clinics and director of research for the trauma program at South Texas Health System McAllen, has been elected to the Texas EMS Trauma & Acute Care Foundation (TETAF) Board of Directors for a three-year term.

Palacio, a longtime advocate for improving trauma and critical care in the Rio Grande Valley, was among five individuals elected by the TETAF General Assembly in December to the TETAF Board of Directors. The General Assembly elected the board members from a slate of 11 nominees.

Palacio’s election to the board gives a voice to the specific needs of the Rio Grande Valley and Trauma Regional Advisory Council-V (TRAC-V), one of five trauma service areas in the state of Texas. TRAC-V consists of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties.

Trauma Care and Rehabilitation at McAllen

Learn more about South Texas Health System's McAllen Trauma Care and Rehabilitation Services.

The four-county region is home to more than a dozen hospitals, including 12 trauma facilities as designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The list includes STHS McAllen, where Palacio worked tirelessly with hospital leaders and staff to upgrade from a Level II to Level I Trauma Center, a designation it achieved in late 2022. The facility is also a designated Comprehensive (Level 1) Stroke Center, providing the highest level of stroke care, and a Neonatal Intensive Care (Level III) Facility.

Additionally, the list includes STHS Edinburg and STHS Heart, both designated as Level IV Trauma Centers and Primary (Level III) Stroke Centers by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

"This is a great opportunity for the Rio Grande Valley to have representation within an organization that has impact throughout the entire state," Palacio said. "I’m grateful to have been elected to the TETAF board and proud to represent the needs of Rio Grande Valley residents when it comes to trauma and stroke care at the state level.”

TETAF is a non-profit organization that supports the development of the state health care system by providing verification surveys for trauma, stroke, neonatal and maternal care facilities throughout the state, plus advocacy and education. Additionally, the organization advocates for effective public policy for patient care and regional healthcare delivery.

Dr. Palacio earned his medical degree from Universidad del Norte before completing his residency in general surgery at Baylor College of Medicine – Houston where he also completed the Surgical Critical Care Fellowship.

In addition to serving as Director of Research for the trauma program, he is also Director for the Advanced Trauma and Life Support course at STHS McAllen. Palacio is also the local Program Director of the General Surgery Residency at the Valley Health System GME Consortium, and an instructor for the American College of Surgeons’ Stop the Bleed class.

Pioneering the improvement of delivery of care for trauma patients in the region, Palacio developed and launched the South Texas Advanced Symposium on Trauma and Critical Care, an educational three-day conference featuring evidence-based presentations from internationally renowned trauma and critical care experts aimed at improving the delivery of trauma care in the Rio Grande Valley. Hosted by the South Texas Health System Trauma & Critical Care Institute, the annual conference features the participation of physicians, medical residents, registered nurses, clinical staff and first responders.

“Dr. Palacio has done an incredible job supporting and enhancing the trauma and critical care services at our Level 1 Trauma Center,” said Emma Montes-Ewing, CEO of STHS McAllen. “His participation on a high-level board is a testament to his commitment to the improvement of trauma care for the entire Rio Grande Valley community. We are privileged to have him support the needs of the residents in the communities we serve in a way that enables the region to have a voice when it comes to statewide regulatory changes while providing an opportunity to bring resources to the Valley that would further our mission to provide the best quality, compassionate care to our patients.”