About Us

Samaritan Medical Group is located in Tijuana Mexico. We are very conveniently located for US patients who are interested in coming to Mexico for medical and dental treatments. It is very easy to get to the San Diego airport, and since Tijuana is just a 20 minute drive from downtown San Diego, we are easy to get to. We have a shuttle service to pick up our patients, and will take care of arranging all you accommodations. Samaritan Medical Group consists of surgical teams from two different Medical facilities, each with their areas of specialization. Below, you will see photos of the facilities, as well as of the surgeons and staff. Please go to our photo gallery to see examples of their work.

Bariatric Surgeon

Dr. Francisco Zavalza is a trusted and experienced Bariatric Surgeon in Tijuana, Mexico. In 2006 Dr. Zavalza graduated with honors from one of the most highly ranked medical schools in Mexico – the University of Guadalajara, Jalisco. He received an extensive training in general surgery during his residency years in the General Hospital of Tijuana, Baja California. Having chosen bariatric surgery as his specialization, Dr. Zavalza received a Diploma in Avdanced Laparoscopic Surgery in 2010. As part of the training, he performed more than 500 surgeries of cholecystectomy, about 200 hysterectomies and appendectomies, thus gaining a lot of experience in resolving gastrointestinal complications.

Dr. Zavalza studied under world-renowned Tijuana bariatric surgeon, Dr. Fernando Garcia. During this period, Dr. Zavalza continued his training in various laparscopic bariatric surgeries including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, gastric lap band, gastric sleeve application and revision surgery.

As of today Dr. Francisco Zavalza has performed and assisted to more than 3000 bariatric surgeries, and has given a chance to have a much healthier and satisfying life to many of his patients. For him it is not only a weight loss surgery, it is a long process of healing, changing life, eating habits and mentality. Dr. Zavalza provides a very high level of surgical expertise, compassion and personal attention to every patient with a comprehensive 2-year follow up program. He is one of the few surgeons that provides this level of patient care and follow-up.

Dr. Francisco Zavalza’s Certificates and Experience

Professional Experience

  • Staff Physician, General Surgery, Tijuana General Hospital. Health Secretary, March 2010 – June 2011.
  • Medical Surgical Unit of Medical Specialties, Baja California Ambulatory Surgery Unit, March 2010 – present.
  • Staff Physician, General Surgery, General Hospital of Playas de Rosarito. Health Secretary, August 2011 – January 2012.
  • Staff Physician, General Surgery Department of General Hospital No. 20 of the Mexican Social Security Institute, April 2011 – December 2011.
  • Medical basis of General Surgery Department of General Hospital No. 1 of the Mexican Social Security Institute, December 2011 – February 2012.
  • Staff Surgeon of General Surgery Department of the Medical Unit Ambulatory Care # 36 of the Mexican Social Security Institute, February 2012 – present.
  • Bariatric Surgeon of Obesity Solutions International, April 2011 – present.
  • Medical Surgical Unit of Medical Specialties, Baja California, January 2012 – present.
  • CFO of Bariatrica, Weight loss surgery resource, Tijuana Baja California, Mexico. 2014 – present.

Assistance to Local and International Conferences

  • XII Medical Conference at the General Hospital of Tijuana, Tijuana B.C., Mexico, February 2006, assistant.
  • XIV International Congress of Surgery, March 2006, assistant.
  • XXXI International Congress of Surgery, October – November 2007, GENERAL “GRAL BGDA. MC. JOSE R. MANZANO TROVAMALA and Figueroa. ” (AMCG), Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, assistant.
  • Oral presentation: Surgery Evaluation of Extramuros at Tijuana General Hospital, author.
  • Poster presentation: Intentional Foreign Bodies Ingestion as a Cause of Acute Abdomen. A case report, author.
  • Oral presentation: A year of abdominal sepsis at Tijuana General Hospital, coauthor.
  • Oral presentation: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Tijuana General Hospital Experience, coauthor.
  • Poster presentation: Severe gallstone pancreatitis, management in the Tijuana General Hospital, coauthor.
  • Poster presentation: Management of post-traumatic pancreatic fistula Fistula, Tijuana General Hospital, coauthor.
  • International Congress of the Asociacion Mexicana de Cirugia General A.C., October 2008.
  • Oral presentation: Abdominal Sepsis: Experience in Tijuana General Hospital, author.
  • Poster presentation: Outpatient Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Experience in Tijuana General Hospital, author.
  • Oral presentation: Abdominal Tuberculosis: 10-year review in Tijuana General Hospital, author.
  • Oral presentation: Nissen Fundoplicature in a Short Stay Unit: Experience in Tijuana General Hospital, coauthor.
  • Oral presentation: Evolution Postsurgical in Ambulatory Saphenectomy. Experience in Tijuana General Hospital and UNEME, coauthor.
  • Poster presentation: Giant Ventral Hernia with Enterocutaneous Fistula. Case Report, coauthor.
  • Poster presentation: Giant Ventral Hernias: Experience in Tijuana General Hospital, coauthor.
  • XIV Medical Conference at Tijuana General Hospital, February 2009.
  • Oral presentation: Abdominal Sepsis: Experience in Tijuana General Hospital, speaker.
  • XXXIII International Congress of Surgery – “Dr. Victor Manuel Aragon Arrubarrena ” November 2009.
  • Oral presentation: Ambulatory Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy in a Short Stay Unit. Tijuana General Hospital Experience, author.
  • Oral presentation: Management of Severe Pancreatitis. Prognosis and Mortality in the 2nd Level Hospital, coauthor.
  • Oral presentation: Projectile Wounds Firearm. Experience in Tijuana General Hospital, coauthor.

Marketing Director

Jim Crayne sets up the scheduling for both the dental clinics, and Medical patients. He can answer all your questions, and if he doesn’t know the answer, he can get it for you. He is a US citizen, who has been working in Tijuana for the past 6 years, and has helped over 10,000 US patients with dental and medical care. As an American himself, he best understands the special needs and concerns of US patients coming for dental and medical tourism. He is committed to taking good care of you, and insuring you have a great experience at our facilities.

Patient Care Coordinator

dra-gabyDra. Gabrielle Torres is a general physician, who has been practicing Family Medicine since she graduated from the Medical school of “Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, Mexico” in 1988. Dra. Torres will coordinate your care, taking you to the hospital for your surgeries and treatments, and taking care of your post-op recovery in the hotel room, when you leave the surgery center. Dra. Torres has a lot of experience in patient care, and is a very warm and compassionate care giver.

Beauty Enhance Clinic

The Beauty Enhance Clinic Surgical team specializes in Gastric Sleeve surgery, and procedures for the body, such as tummy tucks, lipo-sculpture, lipo-suction and breast implants. They have a very nice facility, set up especially for bariatric and weight loss surgeries. There is a well-equipped modern operating room, and nice patient recovery rooms.

drlaraDr. Alberto Lara is a Board certified Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He is extremely experienced in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures and is Certified by the Mexican Council of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as by the Interamerican Heart Foundation.

heatherHeather Ritchie is an American, speaks perfect English, and she is the main coordinator with the patients at our surgery clinic..

dra-lauraDra. Laura Martinez is the anesthesiologist for all our surgeries. Dr. Martinez graduated from the University of Mexico City in 2000, and then went on to get a specialization as a Certified Anesthesiologist, graduating in 2010. She is one of the best doctors in her field, and you will certainly in great hands during your surgery.