Meet a Doctor: Dharmendra Verma
• Name: Dharmendra Verma, M.D.
• Office: 601 E. San Antonio St, Suite 303 W. Victoria
• Phone: 361-485-2695
• Education: Fellowship in Gastroenterology and liver diseases, University of Texas and MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; residency in internal medicine, University of Texas, Houston; masters of public health, University of Texas, Houston; Doctor of Medicine, University of Delhi, India
• Time in Victoria: 2 years
• Family: Wife, Archana and 1-year-old son Nikhil
• Age: 36
• Specialty: Gastroenterology and liver disease
• Why did you go into the medical field?
As a trainee in internal medicine, I was drawn to some of the unique aspects of gastroenterology. Digestive system problems are one of most common reasons bringing patients to their primary physicians, and their effective management still remains a challenge.
In addition, gastrointestinal cancers still remains one of top two causes of cancer death in our community, despite very effective screening tools such as colonoscopy for colon cancer and ultrasound for liver cancer.
In addition, we are now faced with an epidemic of obesity, alcohol and hepatitis C-related gastrointestinal and liver disease. Furthermore, acid reflux associated esophageal problems including cancer of esophagus; one of the fastest increasing gastrointestinal cancers is posing a evolving challenge for baby boomer generation.
The present and future challenges with ever increasing tools for diagnosis, treatment and cure inspired me to pursue specialization in gastroenterology. • Why did you choose to come to Victoria?
Victoria has a vibrant medical community, two well-recognized community hospitals and above all, critical need for a gastroenterologist with training in liver disease. While in Houston, I took care of patients coming from Victoria and found them managed excellently, which spoke highly of local primary care physicians, thus making it an easy decision to start my practice here in collaboration of an excellent local medical community. • What are some big health issues you have seen in the Crossroads related to your field?
Digestive disease cancers, their early detection and management still remain the biggest challenge for us. Effective screening tools, such as colonoscopy and gastrointestinal imaging, as well as surveillance for early precursors of esophageal cancers are still underutilized.
Early detection and management of liver diseases associated with excessive alcohol, obesity and hepatitis C remains a challenge given mostly silent course of these conditions.
Last, but not the least, is adequate management of common gastrointestinal ailments, using more effective newer forms of treatment and partnering with local medical community.
I am actively working on collaboration with university teaching hospitals, especially with liver transplant programs for providing Victoria patients these types of expertise locally, and expanding our local capabilities remains a priority of mine.