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Eric Lawitz, MD

Texas Liver Institute (San Antonio)
VP, Scientific and Research Development
Professor of Medicine UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Eric Lawitz is Vice President of Scientific and Research and co-founder of the Texas Liver Institute. Prior to joining Texas Liver Institute, Dr. Lawitz spent 11 years at Brooke Army Medical Center in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology where he served in many teaching and academic positions.

Dr. Lawitz has conducted extensive research in Hepatology, authored over 300 publications and presented his work at both national and international medical meetings. He is internationally recognized for his work in liver disease research and teaching.

Dr Lawitz also serves as a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center as a member of the hepatology faculty. He attends outpatient clinics.

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Fred Poordad, MD

Texas Liver Institute (San Antonio and Austin)
VP, Academic and Clinical Affairs
Chief, Hepatology University Transplant Center
Professor of Medicine UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Fred Poordad is Vice President of Academic and Clinical Affairs and co-founder of the Texas Liver Institute. Dr. Poordad spent 11 years as the Chief of Hepatology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center prior to joining TLI in 2012.

Dr. Poordad sits on many national committees for the AASLD and ACG, and has authored over 300 papers and book chapters. He is internationally recognized for his work in liver disease research and teaching.

Dr Poordad also serves as a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and as Chief, Division of Hepatology in the Liver Transplant Center. Dr. Poordad attends both inpatient and outpatient services at UTHSCSA.

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Carmen Landaverde, MD

Texas Liver Institute (Austin)
Director, Metabolic Liver Disease Program
Assistant Professor of Medicine UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Carmen Landaverde is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Texas Health San Antonio. She also serves as the Director of the Metabolic Liver Disease Program at The Texas Liver Institute (TLI).

Prior to joining TLI, Dr. Landaverde completed her Gastroenterology and Hepatology fellowships at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and her Transplant Hepatology fellowship at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Landaverde has tremendous experience in all forms of liver disease and is a highly regarded physician leader, educator, and mentor. She has close to 15 years of clinical experience in transplant hepatology. Her research interests include fatty liver disease, autoimmune liver disorders, drug induced liver injury, end-stage liver disease and liver transplantation. She has authored and co-authored review articles on the management of fluid retention and cirrhosis, NAFLD and nutrition, outcomes in liver re-transplantation and the optimization of hepatitis C treatment.

Dr. Landaverde is fluent in Spanish and has been doing medical missions in Central America for close to 10 years. On a personal note, she’s an avid cyclist. In her free time, Dr. Landaverde enjoys cycling, traveling volunteering in community-based organizations through her church.

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Kermit “Vince” Speeg, MD

Texas Liver Institute Faculty
Medical Director, Adult Liver Transplantation University Transplant Center
Professor of Medicine University of Texas Science Center

Dr. Speeg received his graduate degree from Rice University in Houston, Texas and his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas, Texas. He completed his internship, residency and gastroenterology training at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, TN. He manages the pre-operative assessment of liver transplant candidates and post-operative phases including medical follow-up in the outpatient settings.

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Juan Guerrero, MD

Texas Liver Institute Faculty
Hepatologist, Adult Liver Transplantation University Transplant Center
Assistant Professor of Medicine University of Texas Science Center

Dr. Guerrero received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1999. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association. Dr. Guerrero is currently conducting several clinical trials to help improve the care of post-transplant patients.

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Fabian Rodas, MD

Texas Liver Institute (San Antonio)
Director, Transplant Services
Assistant Professor of Medicine UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Rodas received his medical degree from the University of Cuenca in Ecuador. After graduating, he became the director of a rural health center in Cuenca and was responsible for the medical care of patients locally and as well as the coordination of referrals to subspecialists. Dr. Rodas completed his internal medicine training through the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York and his transplant hepatology training through the Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dr. Rodas has a special interest in liver transplant outcomes as well as the study of portal hypertension and decompensated liver disease. While at the Carolinas Healthcare System, his research included studying the natural history of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Dr. Rodas’ fluency in Spanish, international medical outreach experience and strong medical training are highly regarded and we are thrilled to have him as part of our medical team.

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Eugenia Tsai, MD

Texas Liver Institute (San Antonio)
Director, Hepatobiliary Cancer & Resident/Fellow Education
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Assistant Program Director, Transplant Hepatology Fellowship
UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Tsai completed her internal medicine residency at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, followed by a gastroenterology fellowship at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a transplant hepatology fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, New York.

Some of Dr. Tsai’s interests within liver disease include management of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), complications of cirrhosis and nutrition in liver disease. She has authored and co-authored publications and abstracts on liver disease topics.

Dr. Tsai is a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

Dr. Tsai is excited to be in San Antonio and to practice her passion for treating individuals with liver disease.

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Jan Petrasek, MD, PhD

Transplant Hepatologist
Texas Liver Institute
Assistant Professor of Medicine
UT Health San Antonio

Dr. Jan Petrasek earned his MD and PhD degrees from the Charles University in Prague. In 2008, he relocated to the University of Massachusetts Medical School for post-doctoral training in liver immunology. He joined the laboratory of Dr. Gyongyi Szabo, a world leader in alcoholic liver disease, to study the mechanisms of liver inflammation and fatty liver disease. His research defined several novel therapeutic targets in alcoholic liver disease and established the scientific foundation for a multicenter clinical trial investigating the role of interleukin-1 blockade in the treatment of patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis.

After completing his post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Petrasek moved to the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas where he completed his internal medicine residency, gastroenterology fellowship, and transplant hepatology fellowship. In 2021, Dr. Petrasek joined the faculty at the University of Mississippi Medical Center as an Assistant Professor and Associate Program Director for the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program.

Dr. Petrasek has authored >45 peer-reviewed manuscripts, review papers, and book chapters. An Alpha Omega Alpha inductee and recipient of numerous scholarly awards, he is an active member of the American Society of Transplantation (AST), the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) and the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA), among many other national and international organizations. He serves as an editorial board member for Hepatology Communications and is an ad hoc reviewer for multiple national and internationally known journals.

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Maria Theresa Castillo, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Theresa joined TLI in 2010. Prior to joining TLI, Theresa had extensive training in gastroenterology and hepatology while working for a total of six years at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates and Brooke Army Medical Center.

Theresa teaches and is involved in TLI educational initiatives to educate other health care providers and trainees. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and licensed by the Texas Medical Board.

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Rossalynn Salcido, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Rossalynn joined TLI in August 2014. She is a graduate from the UTHSCSA PA Studies Program and is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Prior to becoming a physician assistant, she worked as a medical assistant in cardiology for over 3 years.

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Emma Pham, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Emma Pham, PA-C, is a certified physician assistant and the Program and Physician Services Manager at the Texas Liver Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

In 2009, Emma received a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Science from Texas A&M University in followed by a Bachelors in Nursing from the UT Health San Antonio in 2011. She remained in San Antonio as an adult and pediatric critical care nurse at University Health Systems. In addition to her nursing duties, Emma was responsible for mentoring nursing students and training newly hired nurses.

Emma continued her medical training and in 2015 received a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from UT Health San Antonio. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and licensed by the Texas Medical Board. Since May 2015 she has been caring for patients at the Texas Liver Institute. She also serves as the Program and Physician Services Manager and works in partnership with UT Health San Antonio and University Transplant Services in program building.

Emma is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). She enjoys teaching and has served as faculty at multiple conferences.

Emma is fluent in English and Vietnamese.

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Christy Rosas, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Christy Rosas joined TLI in 2015. She works in the hepatology clinic and as a Sub-Investigator in the clinical research department. Christy is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and licensed by the Texas Medical Board.

Christy attained a Bachelors Degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences as well as her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She is an active member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

She is bilingual, fluent in both in English and Spanish.

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Julissa Flores, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Julissa joined TLI in 2015 as a Physician Assistant. She has been caring for patients in the San Antonio area since 2011 after she graduated from University of Texas Health Science Center receiving a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies. Julissa uses her previous experience working in Family Medicine to provide her patients at TLI a full spectrum of care.

Julissa is fluent in Spanish and says her favorite part of her job is assisting patients in reaching their health goals.

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Amanda Betancourt, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Amanda joined TLI in 2017 as a Physician Assistant. In 2009, Amanda received a Bachelors of Science in Nuclear Medicine from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. After graduation, Amanda worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center for 3 years where she honed in on her patient care skills. In 2013, she attended the University of North Texas Health Science Center, where she received a Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Prior to joining TLI, Amanda worked in Family Medicine where was able to manage acute and chronic disease in patients of all ages. Amanda looks forward to providing quality care to her patients here at TLI. She sees both pediatric and adult patients.

Amanda is bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish.

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Meredith Cook, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Meredith is a Physician Assistant who joined the Austin team in 2017. She received her Bachelors of Science in Allied Health at Texas A&M and went on to obtain her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies at UTMB in Galveston. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and licensed by the Texas Medical Board. She has worked in health care for over two years with experience primarily in women’s health, however she has found her passion in providing detail-oriented care within the field of hepatology. Meredith has a special interest in working patients with fatty liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver.

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Jessica Jennings, MSN, FNP-C

Texas Liver Institute

Jessica is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2020. She completed her Associates in Science of Nursing at San Antonio College in 2009. She then graduated from Texas Tech Health Sciences Center with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in 2015 and later went on to complete her MSN, Family Nurse Practitioner’s program there in 2019. She worked at San Antonio Military Medical Center as a Registered Nurse from 2010 to 2020, first on a Cardiac unit, then on a trauma/surgical progressive care unit.

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Melissa Ousley, MSN, FNP-C

Texas Liver Institute

Melissa is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner who joined the TLI team in 2019. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Her experience as a registered nurse in the emergency department over the last several years provided a strong foundation in treating diverse patients from different backgrounds and communities.

Melissa has a special interest in the study and care of patients with autoimmune liver disease, as well as pre and post-transplant care. She has a strong commitment to helping patients achieve optimal wellness through prevention, early diagnosis, and successful management of disease.

Melissa is a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

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Chasity McDonald-Rocha, APRN, FNP-C, CCRN

Texas Liver Institute

Chasity received her Bachelor’s degree from UT Health Science Center San Antonio in 2002. During her last semester of school, she completed an immersion program in the Transplant ICU at University Hospital where she began to work and spent the next 15 years caring for post operative liver, kidney and lung transplants. During this time Chasity spent time orienting new nurses, running the ICU as a charge nurse and improving employee recognition. Chasity is very proud of leading, organizing and receiving the first Beacon award given to the first ICU in San Antonio by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Chasity also spent 2 years caring for combat burn casualties, and civilian emergencies at the sole burn facility for the Department of Defense located at Brook Army Medical Facility in San Antonio. Recently Chasity continued her training and received her Master of Science from the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Texas Tech University in 2018. She is excited to continue her medical career in the inpatient setting caring for pre and post-op transplant patients.

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Anthony Esquivel, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Anthony joined TLI in 2021. He received a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from UT Health San Antonio. He is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and licensed by the Texas Medical Board. During his clinical clerkship, he rotated with the liver transplant team at University Hospital and developed a strong interest in the field of hepatology. He is dedicated to not only managing but educating patients affected by liver disease in order to help them achieve their goals and become more engaged in their care.

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Rachel W. de Leon, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC

Texas Liver Institute

Rachel is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2021. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) in 2009 from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in 2021. Rachel worked in the Baptist Health System in San Antonio for >18 years including serving as Emergency Department RN Shift Supervisor. In her leadership role, she was instrumental in performance improvement activities including identifying ways to increase efficiency in patient care. In addition to involvement in leadership and education initiatives, Rachel loves caring for patients and their families. She is fluent in Spanish and is excited to be a part of the clinical research team in San Antonio.

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Lance Gutierrez, MSN, RN-BC, APRN-CNP

Texas Liver Institute

Lance is a board-certified nurse practitioner who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2021. He received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014 from the Schreiner University and his Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. Prior to his current position, Lance worked at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center for 6 years. His focus is outpatient services in the Austin office. Lance is excited to be a part of the provider team in Austin.

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Justin Crawford, MSN, FNP-BC, RN-BC

Texas Liver Institute

Justin is a board-certified nurse practitioner who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2022. He received his Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to joining our team, Justin worked at Wellmed, Dell Children’s Medical Center and Ascension Seton Northwest Hospital. Justin is fluent in Spanish and his focus is outpatient services in the Austin office. He is excited to be a part of Texas Liver Institute.

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Janice Hennon, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Texas Liver Institute

Janice is a Family Nurse Practitioner who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2022 where she works in the hepatology clinic and as a sub-investigator in the clinical research department. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) in 1998 from Texas Christian University (TCU) and has over 15 years of practice as a registered nurse in pediatrics, hematology/oncology, surgery, and trauma. She then earned her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in 2014 from Midwestern State University and worked as part of the leadership team for a larger health system in nursing professional development. In 2017, she returned to Midwestern State University to further her education and earned her Family Nurse Practitioner degree and has experience working in a bariatric and weight loss clinic managing the co-morbid conditions of obesity. She looks forward to working at TLI and continuing her dedication to improving overall health and wellness.

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Kelleah Powao, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Texas Liver Institute

Kelleah is a Family Nurse Practitioner who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2022. She graduated with a Master’s degree in the Family Nurse Practitioner track from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2022. She has previous experience in emergency departments and perioperative units around the country. She is excited to start her career as a Nurse Practitioner serving in the field of General/Transplant Hepatology. She is a member of several professional organizations such as The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Kelleah is a United States Air Force veteran and stands for God, Family, Country and serving patients with dignity and love.

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Kristen Godett, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Texas Liver Institute

Kristen is a Family Nurse Practitioner who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2022. She graduated with her Master’s degree from Texas State University. She has previous experience in Internal Medicine which helped build the foundation for growth in the field of General/Transplant Hepatology. She is a member of multiple professional organizations such as The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), Texas Nurse Practitioners (TNP), and The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Kristen has special interest in Advanced Liver Diseases and Transplant Hepatology.

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Madison Carter, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Madison is a Physician Assistant who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2022. In 2019, she received a Bachelor of Science in Health from Texas A&M University. In 2022, she received a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from The University of Texas Medical Branch. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is licensed by the Texas Medical Board. She is an active member of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants.

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Jeff Jones, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Jeff joined Texas Liver Institute in 2022. He graduated from UT Health San Antonio with a Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies in 2020. His previous experience includes working for UT Health as part of the Hospital Medicine group at University Hospital in San Antonio, TX. He has a strong interest in General and Transplant Hepatology. He is a member of American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), and Texas Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA).

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Michelle Nguyen, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Texas Liver Institute

Michelle is a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2022. She received both her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 2004 and her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in 2018 from the University of Texas at El Paso. Prior to joining our team, Michelle worked as an Intensive Care registered nurse at HCA in El Paso, TX and as a Critical Care Research nurse with The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. She also worked in Oncology and Gastroenterology at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Ft. Hood, TX.

Michelle is a member of multiple professional organizations such as The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), Texas Nurse Practitioners (TNP), The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and San Antonio Nurses in Advanced Practice (SANAP).

She has established a solid foundation in treating patients from different cultures and backgrounds with compassion and respect. She is also bilingual and fluent in English and Spanish.

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Julie Koo, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Julie is a Physician Assistant who joined Texas Liver Institute in 2022. She graduated from UT Health San Antonio with a Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies in 2021, is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and licensed by the Texas Medical Board. She takes great pride in educating patients regarding their liver disease to empower them about their health and improve quality of care.

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Sydney Shivers, MPAS, PA-C

Texas Liver Institute

Sydney attended the Physician Assistant Studies program at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, where she graduated with honors (Dean’s List scholar) in 2022. She developed a passion for Hepatology during her clinical training and joined the Texas Liver Institute Austin group in the beginning of 2023. Sydney is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is licensed by the Texas Medical Board. She is a member of professional organizations including the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) and American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). Sydney’s specific interests are in autoimmune liver disease. She has a passion for educating patients on the underlying pathophysiology of their liver disease. Sydney is both humbled and proud to work at the Texas Liver Institute and serve the Austin community.

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Hannah Lovell, DNP, FNP-BC

Texas Liver Institute

Dr. Hannah Lovell is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner at the Texas Liver Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

In 2017, she received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing, followed by her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2022 at UT Health San Antonio.

Prior to joining Texas Liver Institute in 2023, she worked at University Hospital in the Cardiothoracic and Transplant Intensive Care Unit as a Registered Nurse. During her time at University Hospital, she also worked as a RN in the Neurosciences ICU, Trauma ICU, Medical ICU, and Designated COVID-19 ICU. Hannah enjoys teaching and served as a preceptor to new nurses in various ICUs during her time at University Hospital.

Hannah is a member of The American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD).