Pioneer in Practice

Being the best by doing the best: Dr. Adriana Pop-Moody

By: Dayna Mazzei Worchel
Photos by: MC Studio Workz

Relieving human suffering is what Dr. Adriana Pop-Moody’s rheumatology practice in Corpus Christi is all about. Whether it’s an injury that needs healing, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis or other problems with bones and joints, finding a solution for the patient is the mission for Pop-Moody, who has been in practice in Corpus Christi since 2000.

More often than not, patients with certain joint or soft-tissue conditions can be healed without going through surgery, she said. “I have a state-of-the-art office, I’m using the most modern treatments in my field and I’m developing advanced procedures in my field.” Also, the office is well organized due to her awesome office manager.

“The most advanced methods to treat and diagnose rheumatology conditions,” she added, “are via ultrasound usage for diagnosis and procedures, the use of platelet rich plasma treatments and stem cell extraction and treatments.”


Pop-Moody also has an in-office research department exploring new medications produced in the rheumatology field. Patients are involved in double-blind studies with FDA-approved medicines, and none are given placebos, she explained.

“We compare the medicines with each other to see what works the best. We are able to study the medications more in-depth, especially looking at effectiveness and adverse effects. It’s a clinical study for rheumatoid arthritis patients and psoriatic arthritis.”

The patients receive lab work and frequent exams if they are involved in the clinical studies. “We do regenerative medicine, which is the future of medicine. We can save joints without surgery, and that’s the trend,” she said, adding that she is always studying and learning to stay on top of what is happening in the rheumatology field.

Pop-Moody also has an IV infusion suite where patients can receive vitamin infusions to treat fatigue and fibromyalgia. It’s also used to boost the immune system, she said, adding that her practice is diversified.

“I’ve used ultrasound for 10 years now to diagnose early joint inflammation, shoulder, knee conditions,” she said. “(I) also treat them by ultrasound-guided injections, including nerve entrapments (carpal tunnel syndrome and others).” She prescribes traditional treatments, as well as medications such as physical therapy and nerve blocks, and she treats athletic injuries using platelet-rich plasma injections. “Many times, it’s an alternative to surgery, and the tendons will get repaired,” she added. “It’s like a tissue transplant.”

She is most proud of being named a pioneer in the field of musculoskeletal ultrasound, and was one of the first physicians in the United States to receive that certification. This ultrasound uses sound waves to diagnose sprains, strains, tears and other soft-tissue conditions.

According to Pop-Moody, patients get better and more accurate diagnoses when this ultrasound is performed, and they get more relief. Even big cities don’t often have physicians certified in this procedure, called MSK US. Pop-Moody is also board-certified in rheumatology and internal medicine.

It was Pop-Moody’s childhood dream to become a doctor. She never wanted to be anything else. “For example, as a child playing ‘cowboys and Indians’ with my brother, I used to pick up each killed action figure and breathe life into them,” she said. “It drove my brother crazy, and I use to tell him, ‘everyone deserves life.’ The medical field was a passion, and that’s where my heart was.”

Living in Communist Romania, she served a system that didn’t value individual thinking, and it was often hard to advance, even with educated parents, she said. “They wanted to keep everyone thinking and behaving the same. It was a rough trip to become a doctor. Determination and passion got me there.”

She graduated from University Timisoara of Timisoara, Romania, and then went on to do a residency at Michigan State University. She was also a professor of rheumatology and internal medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. She is still teaching, presently as a member of the core faculty for UNT Health Science Center at Forth Worth – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Pop-Moody said she lived in Canada for a while, after defecting from Romania in 1985 and completing her residency. “While Canada is a great country, the medical system is far more limited and not that friendly to foreign medical graduates,” she said. Pop-Moody loves the United States, and she is a citizen of both the United States and Canada.

She came to Corpus Christi for family reasons, but decided to stay after falling in love with the climate, the friendly people and the more relaxed way of life. She also said the area is medically underserved, especially in rheumatology.

“Although I looked at Houston and Galveston, I felt that my mission of helping people in pain can be achieved more readily in Corpus Christi than in other areas.” The laidback life in the Coastal Bend and friendly people differ greatly from the other places where she used to work and live, said the doctor who also enjoys kayaking at the Bird Island Basin.

Although she works 12-hour days at her practice, she also takes ballroom dancing, oil painting and piano lessons, and she loves to swim and travel. Pop-Moody said everyone needs some fun in their lives and can’t just be a working machine. Each year, she takes her entire staff of 15 people on an all-expense-paid trip to places like Hawaii, the Bahamas and New York City, or on a cruise.

“I train my staff well, and I treat everyone with respect, appreciating the work what they do for our patients,” said Pop-Moody, who added that she has a high employee retention rate. My people enable our practice to be what it is.

She has won numerous awards, including being named a “Super Doctor” by Texas Monthly for three years (2005, 2006 and 2007), and she was named America’s Top Physician in 2006 and 2007 by the Consumer Research Council of America.

Pop-Moody is passionate about helping her patients feel better. “I understand human suffering, and I am willing to use all my abilities and energy to improve the quality of life in my patients,” she said. “I study a lot to be up-to-date with all new medical knowledge for every treatment that is done. I understand the needs of each patient. I also believe in treating the patient as I would treat myself or a member of my family, and I train my staff to think same way. I try to be the best by doing the best.”

For more information or to schedule your appointment, contact Dr. Adriana Pop-Moody at 361-885-0010 or visit