Rio Grande Valley-based DHR Health Institute Seeks to Participate in COVID-19 Trials

Rio Grande Valley-based DHRHealth Institute Seeks to Participate in COVID-19 Trials

Dr. Sohail Rao, President and Chief Operating Officer of DHR Health Institute for Research and Development, located in southern Texas near the Mexican border, seeks to participate in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine trials, including those sponsored by Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer. Located in Edinburg, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, this region has a population of about 1.4 million and is over 90 percent Hispanic. Given the importance placed on diversifying the vaccine trials, Dr. Rao suggests DHR Health Institute is an “ideal place to initiate a vaccine trial.” DHR Health is a significantly large physician owned health provider.


The President and Chief Operation Officer for the local trial site organization, DHR Health Institute for Research and Development, recently got on local television, KRGV, to highlight the attractiveness of this region to conduct the vaccine trials. Commenting on what essentially are the social determinants of health, Dr. Rao makes the case that it makes sense for the vaccine sponsors to bring the studies here to Edinburg, Texas.

About DHRHealth

DHR Health is a physician-owned health system offering what the organization positions as the most comprehensive medical care on the U.S. Southern Border. From general acute care services and preventative health programs to graduate medical education and clinical research, at DHR Health over 700 physicians and more than 1,200 nurses dedicate themselves to offering a full continuum of care in over 70 different subspecialties. DHR Health is addressing all of the health care needs of its community while eliminating the need to seek health care services outside the region, which has transformed DHR Health into a national best practice model minority-serving hospital. DHR Health was founded in 1997 to help over 1.4 million residents resolve limited healthcare access challenges in a community that lacked public and county hospitals. Becoming a comprehensive health system in 2013, DHR continues to be the premier healthcare provider in South Texas. What sets DHR Health apart is the fact that it is owned and managed by actively practicing physicians. As a result, decisions critical to patient care are made by physicians who are on the front lines treating patients. This allows the hospital to move quickly to bring necessary technologies and high quality healthcare into our community. Most importantly, the rapid and tremendous growth at DHR Health and its successes are a reflection of the continued dedication and support of its partners, employees, and medical staff members.

DHR Health Institute for Research and Development

The Institute for Research and Development (IRD) is the clinical research division of DHR Health. A comprehensive research operation, IRD maintains an Office of Human Research Protection, Office of Clinical Research Coordination and an Office of Grants and Contract Management.

The core clinical trials operations are used by community investigators and scientists for ongoing research efforts. Clinical services include:

·         A dedicated team of highly skilled clinical research coordinators

·         In-house phlebotomy services including sample processing

·         Multiple full-service exam rooms

·         Spacious waiting areas

·         Parking and other amenities

DHR Health IRD has established a number of strategic partnerships as well as a Research Academy. This includes Clinical Research Scientists with faculty appointments in the Research Academy, DHR Health IRD in several key therapeutic areas including Allergy & Immunology, Cardiovascular Surgery, Bariatric & Metabolic Disorders, Cardiology, Ear, Nose & Throat and Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. Sohail Rao, President and Chief Operation Officer

Call to Action: DHR Health Institute for Research and Development is part of a sizable, physician-owned medical provider in a region with over 1.4 million residents—over 90% of which are Hispanic. A sophisticated research operation, if Operation Warp Speed and ACTIV seek sophisticated research sites capable of enrolling and administrating hundreds of vaccine volunteers they should consider this clinical investigational site operation.