Irving Basanez started at UTHealth when he was 19. He was the youngest student ever admitted to the Medical School. And no, he had never heard of “Doogie Howser,” the freakishly young teen doctor from the television show. But he was quickly brought up to speed.
“I went on Google and searched it and I’m definitely not that young. But, there’s been some comparisons there.”
Irving Basanez chats on the phone during residency “Match Day” at the UTHealth Medical School in Houston.
Basanez moved with his family to Pharr, Texas from Mexico when he was eight. He skipped sixth grade, and then was enrolled in a gifted program that allowed him to finish high school in three years. He also wrapped up college in three years, because the tuition was so expensive. Basanez says that when he was a kid, he remembers visits from his aunt, and being fascinated by her stories about working as a nurse in Mexico.
“I wanted to be a nurse actually and she said I had to strive higher than that and actually be the doctor. So, since then I’ve always had that idea in my mind that I wanted to be a doctor.”
Basanez is obviously motivated; he applied for 56 residency programs across the country. And he chose the highly competitive field of otolaryngology. Otherwise known as ear, nose and throat.
“From tonsils in children to thyroid tumors in adults, to sinus surgery, to pituitary surgery through the nose – I mean, it’s just amazing, groundbreaking stuff that’s going on in ENT.”
When the envelopes were finally opened, Basanez did well. Out of 56 possible matches, he got his number one choice: Vanderbilt University.
After the five-year residency, he plans to return home to the Valley to practice, at the ripe old age of 27.