EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley announced the new dean for the School of Podiatric Medicine.

Javier La Fontaine will serve as the university SOPM dean, effective July 1.

La Fontaine served as associate dean of Academic Affairs for the SOPM since January and played an important role in the school being granted candidacy by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education.

Prior to joining UTRGV, he worked at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he served as a professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery and as Fellowship Director of Limb Preservation at Parkland Hospital.

La Fontaine also has served at Texas A&M University College of Medicine, Central Texas Veterans Medical Center in Temple, Texas, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and at Bexar County Hospital.

The inaugural dean earned his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (now Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine). He received a Master’s in Clinical Investigation from UTHSCSA in 2006 and a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in higher education from Liberty University in 2021.

“This is an exciting time for the Rio Grande Valley, the state of Texas and the nation as we begin the journey to prepare the next generation of podiatric medicine leaders,” La Fontaine said.

UTRGV is now the first university in Texas and one of only 10 in the nation ready to prepare and graduate Doctors of Podiatric Medicine.

The SOPM is currently recruiting for its fall inaugural class of 40 students.