Biography of TMA President E. Linda Villarreal, MD, 2021-2022

Texas Medical Association President E. Linda Villarreal, MD’s climb to the top post in organized medicine in Texas came courtesy of determination, perseverance through personal tragedy, and an unsurpassed dedication to her profession.

Known as “Dr. V,” the Edinburg native has been a fixture in her hometown since returning there and beginning her internal medicine practice, Memorial Medical Clinic, in 1989 following the sudden death of her mother. After an initial decade-long career as a pharmacist, she attended medical school at Universidad del Noreste in Tampico, Mexico, pursuing that dream despite a Texas judge’s refusal to grant her custody of her two young sons if she did so. 

Dr. Villarreal spent two years in Tampico – driving across the border every weekend to see her sons – and finished her clinicals in San Antonio before an internship in Cleveland, Ohio, and residency at Texas Tech University Health Science Center in El Paso. In 1990, the year after she returned to Edinburg, she joined the staff at Edinburg General Hospital and later became chief of staff.

Her involvement in organized medicine began about five years into her career, propelling her into a succession of leadership roles that made her one of Texas’ strongest and most beloved physician advocates.

Dr. Villarreal’s previous husband of 25 years, Donald White, passed away from leukemia in 2015. She married Paul Frey in 2020. She has seven grandchildren.

For the 156th president of TMA, her profession and her entire existence are inextricable: “My passion is medicine,” Dr. Villarreal says. “It is who I am, not what I do.”

Last Updated On

May 25, 2021

Originally Published On

May 25, 2021