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Home | Tag Archives: Paso del Norte Health Foundation

Tag Archives: Paso del Norte Health Foundation

Foundation awards new grants to support Healthy Eating and Active Living

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation recently awarded 12 grants totaling more than $1.9 million under the Healthy Eating and Active Living Priority Area – HEAL Initiative.

According to PdNHF officials, the purpose of the HEAL initiative is to make healthy eating and active living the easy choice for youth and their families.

Via the PdNHF website, the goals of the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) initiative are explained:

1) increase fruit & vegetable consumption and improve portion control; 2) increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behavior; 3) create an environment that promotes healthy eating and active living without bias against obesity; and 4) achieve long-term sustainability of Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) and HEAL initiative.

The IHL is a collaboration between Texas Tech Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, The University of Texas at El Paso, the UT School of Public Health, and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

Funded organizations are:

Arbol de Vida – $139,963.63
To provide nutritious meals and physical activities to children in Rancho Anapra and Loma de Poleo in Ciudad Juárez, México.

Border Partners – $98,120.00
HEAL – Year 5
To establish home and school gardens and greenhouses, provide promotora-led nutrition, exercise, and gardening science classes to students, provide nutritious lunches to schools, teach exercise classes to children and adults, and maintain facilities and sports leagues for physical activity in Palomas, México.

Ciudadanos Comprometidos con la Paz, A.C. – $282,342.50
Movimiento Saludable (MOVS)
To provide healthy meals and offer physical activities to children, and teach portion control and preparation of healthy foods for their families across eight schools in Ciudad Juárez, México.

El Paso Diabetes Association, Inc. – $183,559.00
Diabetes Education and Support
To offer diabetes education services, coordinate a diabetes educator network and build the service capacity of the El Paso Diabetes Association in El Paso, Texas.

Kelly Memorial Food Pantry – $123,537.00
To assist low-income, food insecure adults in achieving goals towards a more independent and food secure life in El Paso, Texas.

La Semilla Food Center – $338,899.00
Edible Education and La Cosecha Community Education (Conditional three-year grant)
To implement a teacher-training model to provide school garden and nutrition education programming, sustained support and capacity building to schools, and training workshops for community organizations seeking to implement community gardens in Doña Ana County, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas.

New Mexico State University Foundation, Inc. – $46,992.00
Eat Well Otero
To provide tools and support to increase healthy menu options and standardize appropriate portion sizes in restaurants for Otero County, New Mexico.

Organizacion Popular Independiente, A.C. – $43,240.69
Pequeños Pasos para Grandes Desafios
To train child care providers in nutrition and physical education, implement program for children less than seven-years old in Ciudad Juárez, México.

Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center – $455,126.92
Off to a good Start: Eating Our Way to a Healthy Life
To maintain a clinic and serve 180 children with feeding difficulties and educate 200 parents and providers about feeding difficulties in children in El Paso.

Texas A&M University – $181,671.00
More Counts/Mas Cuenta
To provide promotora-led direct service healthy eating classes and family physical activity opportunities to intergenerational families living in colonia communities of Far East El Paso County and Hudspeth County.

Texans Care for Children – $25,000.00
General purpose grant to support policy and advocacy programs to improve the health and wellness of Texas children and families
To support research and advocacy to improve healthy eating and physical activity in Texas children.

The University of Texas at El Paso – $20,127.00
Diabetes Assessment in the County of El Paso, Texas
To complete the community engagement portion of a diabetes assessment report for El Paso, Texas.

For more information on these grants, call Jana Renner, program officer at 915-218-2616 or

Paso del Norte’s foundations report: 240 area nonprofits awarded $14m in 2018

On Monday, the boards and staff of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Fundación Paso del Norte para la Salud y Bienestar announced the release of their 2018 annual report, titled ‘Trailblazing.’

“We celebrate this trailblazing work thanks to the vision, leadership and commitment of our Boards of Directors, the time, collaboration and dedication of hundreds of community partners and volunteers, and the effort and hard work of our incredible staff,” says Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation and Paso del Norte Health Foundation and board member of the Fundación Paso del Norte.

Collectively, in 2018, the three Foundations awarded more than $14 million to more than 240 nonprofit organizations in the region ending the year with more than $246 million in assets.

“The Foundations are committed to achieving their shared vision to ensure that the people of our binational, tri-state region have the knowledge, resources, support and environment to lead happy, healthy and productive lives,” officials shared via a Monday news release

Officials added “The online 2018 Report highlights the collaborative work to improve health, education, social services, economic development and quality of life in the region, grants awarded to nonprofit organizations and an accounting of foundation resources.”

To learn about the foundation’s impact, grant-making, partners, funds, investments, financial statements and board and staff leadership in the 2018 Annual Report for our Community of Philanthropy, visit the report’s webpage.

EPPD, Emergence’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) works to address crucial gap in Police response

The City of El Paso Police Department, in collaboration with Emergence Health Network and the County of El Paso, took a big step forward recetly in efforts to improve the behavioral health system of care.

The department launched its Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to serve El Paso residents experiencing a mental health crisis. The CIT is a co-responder program partnering a specially trained El Paso officer with a masters-level licensed professional clinician from Emergence Health Network.

The police officer and clinician ride together in a patrol car. Since its launch in January of this year, the CIT is fast becoming a valued resource for individuals in serious mental health crises. This model response has been implemented with a high degree of success in other communities in Texas.

“It is exciting to see this important component come alive for our system of care,” said Kristi Daugherty, CEO of Emergence Health Network, “Because of the partner commitments of both time and funding El Paso has been able to leverage funding from Texas state allocations under Senate Bill 292.”

The CIT Teams will eventually be equipped to:

  • Handle the most serious CIT calls
  • Assist fellow officers with CIT-related calls
  • Conduct pro-active and follow-up CIT investigations

“The launch of the Crisis Intervention Team will take some time to reach the planned full level of response,” said Assistant Chief Peter Pacillas, City of El Paso Police Department. “With the help of our local community-based organizations, we hope to have a seamless response system in place before year end.”

The availability of CIT teams is an important component for the behavioral health system of care. The El Paso Police Department,Emergence Health Network and others are actively involved in the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium’s efforts to improve the system of care.

The Consortium convenes El Paso leaders in the healthcare and behavioral health system with a mutual commitment to ongoing collaboration where all partners are welcome, empowered, and unified to achieve the ideal behavioral health service and support system and to reduce the burden of mental illness by designing improved, efficient, patient centered care for El Paso County residents to access where and when it is needed.

Development of a CIT was a major goal of the Justice Leadership Council, one of three Leadership Councils of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium.

“It is great to see this vital component to an ideal behavioral health system develop for El Paso County. With our community’s ongoing collaboration, El Paso residents will have better continuity of care, especially for mental health needs,” said Tracy Yellen, CEO of Paso del Norte Community Foundation/Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Chair of the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium’s Executive Committee.

For more information on the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium, click on this link.

Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Renner awarded 2019 Walking College Fellowship

Officials with America Walks announced on Tuesday that the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Jana Renner has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship as part of the 2019 program. 

America Walks is a national advocacy organization working with communities to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk.

“I am thrilled to be chosen to participate in the Walkable Communities training program and to learn about ways to increase opportunities for our residents to be more active,” said Ms. Renner.

Ms. Renner is a program officer at the Health Foundation and works with partners in the Healthy Eating and Active Living initiative.

“The Health Foundation recently completed a master plan of a 60-mile Paso del Norte trail to connect communities and promote health and active living. I look forward to connecting what I learn to efforts to expand trails and walkability in our community,”  Renner added.  

The Fellowship will enable Ms. Renner and other advocates from around the country to participate in a five-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable and livable. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Renner as a member of the Walking College,” said Emilie Bahr, Walking College Manager with America Walks, “This year’s application process was extremely competitive and rich with unique professionals, and she will make a fitting addition to our 2019 class. We look forward to developing her skills and are excited to see her grow her knowledge, share experiences, and prepare plans to expand her work for bolstering walkability at home.” 

Ms. Renner will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer, followed by an independent study project in El Paso. Participants will also engage with the national network of America Walks and meet one another and other walking champions at various events throughout the year.

The Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents.  Topics include the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with stakeholders and decision makers. 

Fellows work with other members of their class and a set of experienced mentors to develop the knowledge and skills needed to create community change.

At the conclusion of the Walking College, Fellows will develop a Walking Action Plan for implementation using their new skills. 

El Paso Leading the Charge in National Fight Against Obesity

The latest science shows that obesity is a complex disease that generally requires medical treatment.  At the same time, three hundred thousand El Pasoans struggle with obesity.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention defines obesity as a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above 30 for an adult. Unfortunately, only a handful of healthcare providers – nationwide – know how to treat this condition. El Paso has been no exception…until now.

In 2018, the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) at the University of Texas at El Paso, with funding from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, created two exciting new training programs for healthcare providers and exercise professionals.

These training programs were developed to revolutionize obesity treatment in the region and serve as an example of how medical obesity management can change lives.

There are very few models currently available nationally to train health professionals in obesity management. Obesity is a complex problem because it can be caused by a variety of factors, which may be dependent upon a person’s age, gender, genetics or a multitude of other interconnected elements.

This poses a challenge for healthcare providers, as there is no outright solution to the issue of rising obesity rates.

“Building an Exercise Toolbox for your Patient or Clients with Obesity” is a series of workshops that target professionals who work in the exercise field, such as personal trainers, physical therapists, exercise physiologists and others.

Participants gain basic knowledge of the exercise programming adaptations to consider when working with adults with obesity and how to safely begin an exercise program.  Specific goals, considerations and health outcomes to focus in the clinical, home-based, and community settings will be addressed, with an emphasis on developing practical, tailored, everyday approaches to help patients or clients safely and effectively engage in exercise prescriptions.

The workshop is geared towards exercise professionals but is open to members of the public and healthcare professionals. The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6. Click here for more information.

The second program, “Practical Obesity Management Course” is a partnership with the IHL and MetaboLogix, which features intensive instruction from a group of internationally renowned obesity experts.

This first-of-its-kind obesity management course targets practical, applied training of multi-disciplinary teams of providers who work together and/or are part of a referral network because, as a complex disease, obesity management requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Attendees include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and dietitians.

I’m proud to say that, because of the commitment from local healthcare providers who took part in the training, El Paso now has one of the highest obesity provider-to-patient rations in the country. Through the efforts of the IHL and the Health Foundation, El Paso is a model city for medical obesity management training which can revolutionize obesity treatment, not just in the region, but nationally.

If you are an exercise or healthcare professional in the region, who would like to attend the February 6 workshop or if you would like more information about obesity, obesity management and future training courses, contact the Institute for Healthy Living at The University of Texas at El Paso at 915-747-6449.

Author: Jana Renner, Program Officer, Paso del Norte Health Foundation

PDN Health Foundation Awards New Grants, Will Help Engage Youth During ‘Out of School’ Hours

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation awarded four grants totaling more than $313,000 via the Healthy Kids Priority Area – IGNITE initiative.  

According to PDNHF Officials, the goal of the IGNITE Initiative is to “improve a range of health outcomes by engaging disconnected youth in the Paso del Norte region in high quality programs during out of school hours.”

The Health Foundation refers to “disconnected youth” as people between the ages of 7-18, who are not involved in out of school activities or participating in the labor market.

“Evidence indicates that youth who are involved in out of school programs are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, or be involved in criminal activity. Well-designed youth activities increase protective factors needed for youth to lead healthy and productive lives.” officials added.

Newly funded organizations are:

Creative Kids, Inc. – $65,065.00  

Project ABLE (Art Brokers Learning Experiences) 

To maintain the volunteer model, Artists in Residence, for after school and summer visual arts education program in Fabens, Texas. 


Organizacion Popular Independiente, A.C. – $133,006.50 

CulturaArte y DeporteJóvenes en acción 

To provide out of school programming to 500 disconnected youth in 10 communities throughout southwest Ciudad Juárez, MX. 


Patronato del Museo del Niño de Ciudad Juárez, A.C. – $76,852.58 

Rodis Junior: Fortalecimiento de las habilidades para la vida en jóvenes desvinculados de Ciudad Juárez 

To recruit and train 130 disconnected youth from Ciudad Juárez to serve as museum guides at La Rodadora. 


Rio Grande Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging – $38,278.90 

Technology Across Generations: Teens and Seniors Connecting through Technology 

To investigate and develop a plan for delivering the Technology Across Generations project. 

Foundations Announce New Organizational Structures, Relationship for Regional Benefit

The Paso del Norte Foundation (Foundation) and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation) announced a new organizational structure and relationship that will enable both foundations to better meet their individual and joint missions on behalf of the people of the Paso del Norte region.

According to a Sunday morning news release, officials say that the Health Foundation, which was a private foundation, will now serve as a supporting organization to the Paso del Norte Foundation to “grow its assets through philanthropy, increase partnerships with external funders and ultimately increase grant-making to nonprofits in the region, leading to measurable improvements to health.”

For the Paso del Norte Foundation, the new structure bolsters its mission to increase philanthropy in the region offering donors greater choice in their charitable and legacy giving and ensuring excellence in governance, stewardship and accountability paramount to donors.

“This change creates greater operating efficiencies for both foundations sharing executive, program and development staff as well as administrative, financial and investment support,” says Hector Retta, incoming Chair of the Paso del Norte Foundation and immediate past Vice-Chair of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

“It will also create an effective platform from which to grow philanthropy in the region, something we want to do for future generations.”

“While the structure is new,” says Sharon Butterworth, Chair of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, “the Health Foundation will maintain its name, mission, purpose and all of the responsibilities that we have today. We look forward to continuing our leadership and grant making in our five priority areas: Healthy Eating and Active Living, Tobacco and Alcohol Control, Mental Health and Emotional Well-being, Healthy Kids and Health Leadership. Our mission is to promote health and prevent disease in the region and we look forward to having greater resources to do this.”

“We created a great legacy with the formation of the Health Foundation 23 years ago. We are building on that legacy with the Paso del Norte Foundation,” says Steve Lauterbach, founding board member of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and founding board member and past Chair of the Paso del Norte Foundation. “The Paso del Norte Foundation is an effective vehicle for donors to support nonprofit organizations in our region and establish their legacy giving for the future.”

The Paso del Norte Foundation will offer opportunities to invest in the needs of the region beyond health. The Foundation manages supporting organizations, donor-advised funds, designated funds and agency funds to support the interests of donors and the needs of nonprofit organizations and charitable causes in the region.

“We look forward to serving our region through the strength of the Paso del Norte Foundation and the philanthropic foundations and funds under our umbrella that support a range of charitable causes,” says Tracy Yellen, who will continue in her role as CEO of the re-structured Paso del Norte Foundation. “We are here to support nonprofit organizations and charitable causes and to work with donors binationally to establish a legacy of giving and investing the future of our region. We are committed now more than ever to our core values of leadership, integrity, inclusion, collaboration and stewardship.

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation) was established in 1995 from the sale of Providence Memorial Hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corporation for $130 million. Since its inception, the Health Foundation has invested more than $164 million in grants and partnerships to improve health while growing assets to $241.7 million as of December 31, 2017.

Governed by an 11-member volunteer Board of Directors, the Health Foundation’s mission is to lead, leverage and invest in initiatives, programs and policies to promote health and prevent disease in the bi-national, tri-state region.

In its 23 year history, the Health Foundation has supported successful efforts to reduce smoking, binge drinking, obesity and stigma associated with mental illness and increase healthy eating, physical activity, health leadership and health insurance enrollment.

The Paso del Norte Foundation (Foundation) was established in 2013 to support the philanthropic goals of individuals, corporations, foundations and nonprofit organizations to improve health, education, economic development and quality of life in the Paso del Norte region.

The Foundation has an additional $5.5 million in assets in 78 funds. It has granted more than $5 million to charitable causes in its five year history. Governed by a 13-member volunteer Board of Directors, the Foundation manages supporting organizations, donor-advised funds, designated funds and agency funds to support the interests of donors and the needs of nonprofit organizations and charitable causes in the region.

The Paso del Norte Foundation and Health Foundation partner with the Fundación Paso del Norte para la Salud y Bienestar (Fundación), a Mexican Asociacion Civil, to inspire and grow philanthropic giving and advance partnerships and initiatives to improve the health and well-being in Cd. Juárez.

Led by an 11-member volunteer Board of Directors, the Fundación has invested over $1 million in nonprofits in Cd. Juárez in partnership with generous donors and partners including the Hunt Family Foundation, FICOSEC and FC Juárez Bravos.

Kelly Memorial Food Pantry’s ‘Fresh Start Program’ Helps Educate on Healthy Lifestyle

Starting with a simple question: ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have someone follow you through a grocery store and help with information and support on how to live a healthy and productive lifestyle?’ two local organizations have started a program to help Borderland residents live that type of life.

“Hunger is not just caused by a lack of food, but also a lack of human capital (including education, employment and income), social support and social capital,” said Mary Beth Harper, Executive Director of Kelly Memorial Food Pantry. “Any attempt to improve long-term food insecurity requires more than just short-term food.”

With support from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Initiative, the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry’s Fresh Start program is doing this and more.

The program is one of its kind in the region and supports individuals by addressing the root causes of hunger and focus on skills of individuals that can be used throughout their life.

“Fresh Start holds promise of addressing root causes of hunger and poor nutrition, while address food insecurity,” says Michael Kelly, Vice President of Programs with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “To put a spin on an old metaphor, we are handing people a fish, while teaching them to fish. Members of the program are understanding the value of healthy eating and active living, which is the goal of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s HEAL Initiative.”

Members of the program receive training in nutrition education, needs assessment and supportive coaching. Upon graduation, they set and achieve goals in areas that include: housing, employment, education, physical and mental health, citizenship and more.

After nine months of hard work, 16 members graduated and participated in the “Sunflower Ceremony” at the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry.

The ceremony is referred as the Sunflower Ceremony because the sunflower is symbolic of the members and their ceaseless commitment to seeing light and hope in their lives, just as a sunflower always faces the sun.

The celebration included dinner, a motivational speaker, member testimonials, certificate presentation and a sunflower pinning.

The Kelly Memorial Food Pantry is a volunteer operated and community supported nonprofit organization located in central El Paso, Texas. It provides a sense of food security and hope to its clients by providing nutritional basics and encouragement to prosper in life. It is the largest food pantry, serving 2,500 families per month.

Testimonials from recent graduates:

“This program not only has the heart and humility of supporting and motivating members to have a “Fresh Start.” Even more, they guide you with love while helping you put your desires and goals of life in order. I feel very happy and thankful that God put Fresh Start in my way to guide me through all the programs I need and they give me the support I need. They connect you with the many services that you need for your own personal growth.”

“I think this program has helped me. It is a motivation to do things I never thought. They have interesting classes like Diabetes Prevention and Nutrition. They motivate you to succeed in school and find work. This program is excellent for me, it has been a great help. I hope the program continues so they can help more people like me.”

“This program is good because it helps me a lot with what to eat. It has taught me how to prevent illnesses. It is good because they teach you what you should eat and to check yourself to prevent against disease. It is also good because you exercise and that is good for my health.”

“It is very interesting and very good. We benefit from it a lot. We try to eat healthier. They encourage us and help us with the help we need. I wish there were more programs like this for the community. For me, it is an excellent program.”

For more information on the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry or the Fresh Start program, call 915-261-7499.

New Teen Dating Violence Prevention Curriculum Shows ‘Significant Effects’ on Students

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation, in partnership with the YWCA, and Health Advocates, developed the Me & You curriculum in an effort to address dating violence in schools.

“Every step along the development process, we gained community input, which makes me confident it is the right fit for our youth,” said Lucy Hernandez, Dating Violence Prevention Project Manager, YWCA El Paso del Norte Region. “After participating in this curriculum, youth will gain skills to resolve conflict and talk out disagreements, and they will increase knowledge in preventing dating violence leading them to build healthy relationships.”

This new dating violence prevention curricula, for middle and high schools, is based on the National Sexuality Education Standards and health education standards for Texas and New Mexico.

The interactive learning experience is designed to increase classroom participation and teach adolescents the value of healthy relationships, warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, ways to prevent and stop dating violence.

Teen dating violence is defined by the physical, sexual, psychological or emotional violence within a dating relationship.

El Paso has higher percentages of physical dating violence among youth than the national average. According to an El Paso Youth Health Behavior Survey in 2015, among high school students who date:

  • 17.1% of female students and 17.6% of male students experienced physical dating violence
  • 17% of female students and 11.3% of male students experienced sexual dating violence
  • 34.3% of sexual minority youth reported physical dating violence compared with 14.8% of heterosexual youth
  • 30% of sexual minority youth reported sexual violence compared with 11.7% of heterosexual youth

Officials add, “Research shows that well designed and implemented teen dating violence prevention curriculum can decrease risks of being in an abusive relationship.”

The YWCA and Health Advocates conducted a pilot test with more than 2,000 students and 31 teachers from seven middle schools and five high schools in El Paso Independent School District and Deming Public Schools that participated in the curriculum.

Results showed that after youth participated in the Me & You curriculum youth indicated:

  • It was wrong to hit other people, say mean things to other people, take anger out using physical force, and say mean things if you’re angry with someone you date.
  • They disagreed that girls sometimes deserve to be hit by the boys they date.
  • They were more confident they could stay out of fights, understand another person’s point of view, and talk out a disagreement.
  • A greater sense of support from an adult they feel comfortable talking about their problems with.

To learn more about the curriculum or to get your school involved, contact Lucy Hernandez, Dating Violence Prevention Project Manager, YWCA El Paso del Norte Region at 915-519-0002 or

PDN Health Foundation Awards $2m Grants to Support Mental Health, Emotional Well-Being

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PDNHF) recently awarded 10 grants totaling more than $2 million under the Mental Health and Emotional Well-being Priority Area – Think.Change Initiative.

Via a news release, PDNHF Officials stated, “The purpose of the Think.Change Initiative is to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, increase training for mental health providers and explore structural changes in the region’s behavioral health treatment system.”

The area organizations that were funded, and the amounts granted are as follows:

City of El Paso Housing Authority – $49,094.10
Think Change Housing
To conduct a review of housing policies and practices, identify strengths and gaps, and develop an action plan with recommendations to build a mental health supportive environment for residents and applicants, and to provide training in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to sixty (60) Housing Authority employees who have frequent contact with residents and applicants.

Comision de Salud Fronteriza Mexico-Estados Unidos – $98,721.78
Strengthen Mental Healthcare and Reduce the Stigma Associated with Mental Illness in Ciudad Juárez, Phase 2: Carry “ROTMENAS” to Action
To strengthen the recently developed behavioral health system of care collaborative (ROTMENAS), and provide “Program of action to overcome gaps in mental health (mhGAP)” trainings for professionals and lay health workers in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

County of El Paso – $71,500.00
Regional Mental Health Stigma Reduction Campaign
To continue providing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for over 250 patrol officers, detention officers and civilian staff with inmate contact, and to explore changes in detention standards of practice to promote a Think.Change culture.

El Paso Child Guidance Center – $146,400.00
Trauma Informed Care: Create and Implement an Education and Contact-Based Trauma Informed Care Model to Reduce Mental Health Stigma Amongst Professionals
To reduce stigma associated with mental illness among professionals who have frequent contact with consumers by developing the El Paso Child Guidance Center into a trauma informed care resource center, increasing the number of mental health providers who are trained in evidence-based therapeutic approaches and providing trauma informed care trainings to El Paso County organizations that serve children and adolescents.

Emergence Health Network – $166,049.38
Project Emerge
To provide Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings for at least 1,000 individuals in El Paso County, hold a MHFA Instructor summit and expand MHFA training to areas in Hudspeth County.

Family Service of El Paso, Inc. – $273,688.62
People Empower El Paso (PEEP)
To provide National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) evidence-based programs including Family to Family, NAMI Basics, Parents and Teachers as Allies, NAMI Provider Training and In Our Own Voice in El Paso County and to strengthen NAMI – El Paso as a central mental health advocacy and education provider in the region.

Techo Comunitario, A.C. – $42,900.00
Triple P – Positive Parenting Program: Change the Stigma to Ask for Help in Parenting and Continue Building Healthy Communities
To implement the Triple P evidence-based program in eight at risk neighborhoods in Ciudad Juárez.

The Regents of New Mexico State University- $74,970.72
Foster Community Partnerships and Education to Reduce Mental Illness Stigma in Otero County
To strengthen a mental health system of care collaborative, provide crisis intervention team training (CIT), and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings for officers and other professionals to promote a Think.Change culture in Otero County.

The University of Texas at El Paso – $1,131,311.00
Promote Mental and Emotional Well-being in the Paso del Norte region
To create a backbone organization (BBO) that will help lead mental health and emotional well-being priority area programs. The BBO will provide both leadership and expertise to catalyze efforts to reduce stigma and negative bias associated with mental illness and explore structural changes in the behavioral health systems in the Paso del Norte border region.

UTEP Awarded Grant to Improve Mental Health in Region

A new mental health and emotional wellness initiative at The University of Texas at El Paso will bring together experts in psychology, social work, educational psychology, counseling and rehabilitation counseling to improve behavioral health systems in El Paso, Juárez, and southern New Mexico.

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PDNHF) has granted UTEP $1.1 million over two years to create Empower Change: The Paso del Norte Center for Mental and Emotional Well-being. The center will be the backbone organization for the PDNHF’s Mental Health and Emotional Well-being priority area.

“The center will lead and support this interdisciplinary, cross-organizational effort to build the mental health infrastructure of the Paso del Norte region,” said UTEP Vice Provost John Wiebe, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator. “There’s a lot of great work happening in the community in mental health. We plan to leverage the resources of the area’s academic institutions and community partners to coordinate this work and develop a strategic plan for the future of mental health and emotional well-being in the region.”

The center will promote collaboration among expert faculty and mental health professionals at UTEP, New Mexico State University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, William Beaumont Army Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It also will provide professional development opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

“The foundation’s ‘Backbone Organization’ grant to UTEP will leverage the team’s extensive technical expertise and professional networks to build upon existing community partnerships and support a collaborative approach to transforming behavioral health systems in the region,” said PDNHF CEO Tracy Yellen.

“With UTEP’s leadership and support, we will continue the collaborative work necessary to decrease the negative bias associated with mental illness; take advantage of new funding sources made possible by the Texas legislature this past session; and achieve the goals that local leaders have developed to improve access to and quality of mental and behavioral health services in El Paso, southern New Mexico and Ciudad Juárez.”

Among the center’s objectives, investigators plan to develop an expertise portal that can be used to search and identify mental health experts in the community. They also intend to create an interactive database of comprehensive mental health services, including substance abuse and community reintegration programs and affordable or free treatment services.

Other priorities include developing a comprehensive workforce development plan to increase the number of mental health professionals specializing in behavioral and mental health in the region; establishing leadership councils to provide up-to-date advanced best practices and research; identifying funding sources and grant development opportunities to promote interdisciplinary mental health research; designing legislative policy recommendations to advance mental health services; and developing a communications and public relations infrastructure to educate stakeholders about mental health and emotional well-being.

“We have set many goals to complete over the course of two years and will be actively creating multiple partnerships with important community stakeholders,” said Eden Hernandez Robles, Ph.D., the center’s director. “Everything we do will be in the spirit of excellent service to our community through the strategic use of our wealth of knowledge, expertise and resources for the good of our region.”

Mental Health Support, Treatment Options Offered by ‘Family-to-Family’ Program

Thanks to a nationally-recognized program, El Paso families and care givers are making connections and learning that support and treatment options do exist to help loved ones with mental health conditions.

The program, known as Family-to-Family, teaches concise, empathetic communication with a family member who has a mental health condition. Participants learn how the brain and medications work and learn how to be advocates for their loved one at different levels.

Through Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Think.Change initiative, the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) signature program is available in El Paso.   According to the PdNF’s program website, “the goal of Think.Change is to reduce stigma and negative bias associated with mental illness. Increasing availability of NAMI’s Family-to-Family courses is a leading effort to accomplish the goal.”

Nellie Mendoza, Family-to-Family Coordinator for NAMI El Paso, explains that after attending the classes, “Many of the family members see that there is hope in whatever situation they may be in at that moment in time,” said Mendoza. “There is a common ground at the end of each course, and they start seeing and saying that ‘there is hope’ and that they are ‘not alone.’”

The curriculum helps family members to not only learn about the myths and facts of serious and persistent mental illnesses, but also to understand how the experience of these conditions and the associated negative bias affects their relative.

“The course helps family members deal with the trauma of coping with life and family crises,” Mendoza says. “Families also learn how to reinstate their own life plan as an essential element of self-care, and take collective action to advocate for better treatment and recovery-oriented services for their loved one.”

Enrique Mata, Paso del Norte Health Foundation senior program officer and program lead for the Think.Change initiative, says the Family-to-Family program has consistently demonstrated an ability to reduce stigmas associated with mental illness. The other big success of the program, says Mata, is participants coming out of the classes advocating for the program and helping spread its messages to other families who can use the help and support.

“I have seen families and individuals face anxiety, despair, and hopelessness. I see families in shock, sidetracked by an unfair, relentless, and undiscriminating force. I also see victories, progress, and resolve,” says Mendoza.

Mendoza adds, “There are so many complexities with each story. Thanks to the efforts of NAMI teachers, facilitators, presenters, and staff I see dedicated people performing extraordinary work with kindness, dedication, and compassion. El Paso is truly fortunate to have NAMI programs.”

Since the inception of the Think.Change initiative in 2013, NAMI El Paso has held 27 Family-to-Family classes. Each class has between 15 and 25 participants, with up to three different class groups going on in a single month.

For more information, visit the NAMI El Paso website or call NAMI El Paso directly online or via phone at 915-778-5726, 915-534-5476 or 915-534-5478.

PdN’s Institute for Healthy Living: Food Insecurity Remains a Challenge in Area

With the holidays drawing to a close and a new year virtually upon us, food insecurity and the need for donations – especially to area food banks and pantries – remains high throughout the Borderland.

The Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL), in partnership with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, is working to address food insecurity in our region.

According to a recent report by the IHL, although economic times seem to have improved since the Great Recession, many people still struggle to make ends meet.

One measure of this is food insecurity – limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.

Nationally, food insecurity has come down in the past 2 years. Data from 2014 show food insecurity in the US at 15.4%. El Paso fared better at 11%. However, if data from households with children is included, food insecurity rates in El Paso climb to 25.5%, well above the US rate of 20.9%.

Officials the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living say “To think that more than 1 in 4 of the children living in our county does not have enough food to eat is heartbreaking, but it also means they are at greater risk of many health problems. When children live in a food insecure environment, they are more likely to be hospitalized and have a higher risk of obesity, asthma, and behavioral and social issues such as fighting, hyperactivity, anxiety, and bullying.”

“We have a unique environment here along the border,” Miriam Manon from The Food Trust says, “It is important to take into consideration the culture of the border as it relates to how people purchase and access food. The border dynamic can present challenges, but also great opportunities. We look forward to working with the IHL and other stakeholders in the region to discuss the state of access to healthy food and the role that public policy and philanthropic efforts can play in helping to address these issues.”

Manon and the Food Trust are studying the border dynamics and how they affect food access in our region

The Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL), and the PdNHF say among their outreach and assistance programs are:

  • A project in partnership with The Food Trust, a national non-profit organization that specializes in assessing the food access landscape, convening stakeholders to develop recommendations, and providing training to build local capacity to implement healthy food access programming.
  • Re-establishment of the Food Policy Council in El Paso in partnership with Margaux Dalbin from United Way and Gary Williams from El Paso Community Foundation.
  • A program called Fresh Start at Kelly Memorial Food Pantry.
  • A project called Growing Food Connections out of Doña Ana County in partnership with the Mesilla Valley Food Policy Council and La Semilla Food Center.
  • Many community-based organizations in Juárez working to provide food to food-insecure children and families including Ciudadanos Comprometidos con La Paz (CCOMPAZ), Centro de Asesoria y Promoción Juvenil (CASA), and Arbol de Vida.
  • Working with local school lunch programs to help increase participation.

A recent partnership with UTEP for the “UTEP Grand Challenge” event that challenged teams of students and faculty to “create innovative public/private policies or programs that will increase fruit and vegetable access to food insecure people.


In addition to the partnerships and outreach programs, officials say that residents can help as well.

IHL Officials suggest that, parents “encourage your children and others to participate in the school lunch program. These lunches are regulated through the USDA and provide low or no-cost nutritious meals for school children…(and) volunteer their time or give a financial donation to a local food pantry or food bank  here in El Paso or Las Cruces.

For more information about the projects and programs described here, contact the Institute for Healthy Living at

Town of Anthony, Texas Adopts Smoke-Free Ordinance

On Wednesday, a Smoke Free Paso del Norte congratulated the Mayor and Council of the Town of Anthony, Texas for adopting an ordinance that protects its’ residents from the negative consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Monday evening, under the direction of Mayor Martin Lerma and Alderman Shawn Weeks, the Anthony Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will prohibit the smoking of both commercial and electronic cigarettes in restaurants, bars, parks, and playgrounds.

José O. Rivera, Founding Dean of The University of Texas at El Paso’s School of Pharmacy and Principal Investigator of the Smoke Free Initiative issued this statement:

“Those who work in public health, and especially tobacco control, know that through policy adoptions, such as this one, we move closer to achieving a level of health equity in our region. The A Smoke Free Paso del Norte initiative applauds the Town of Anthony for their efforts.”

Alderman Weeks recognized both the council and the community effort toward the adoption of the ordinance after the vote.

“This happened for a few reasons, one of which is that this Council recognized that change, not just any change but healthy change, is good for the community. But also the support of the community, as shown by the people who spoke after the passage.”

“I quit over six years ago for my family and for my own good health,” said Amanda Crawford, Anthony resident. “For my health and others, I am glad that this ordinance was approved.”

The Public and Workplace Smoking Restrictions ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed properties, open spaces within or between enclosed facilities, outside areas within 20 feet of a doorway, and all properties owned or leased by the Town of Anthony.

It also offers protection to youth and families that utilize the city’s parks, baseball fields, and skate park.

In 2015, the Clean Air Coalition and Paso del Norte Tobacco Control Network members conducted a survey during school registration week for the Anthony Independent School District.

The survey of over 250 residents showed that over 90% support a policy protecting youth and families from secondhand smoke in parks and playgrounds.

The results of the survey were presented to the Council in January 2017. The ordinance was introduced in September and the Council took immediate action to ensure its passage.

According to officials, the Town of Anthony and the City of El Paso Department of Public Health will work together to educate the community and enforce the new ordinance.

A Smoke Free Paso del Norte will provide technical assistance as needed to the Town of Anthony.

Via a news release, A Smoke Free Paso del Norte shared, “(We) applaud the Town of Anthony’s leadership for adopting a clean air ordinance and joining the over 80 Texas communities who are creating an air of respect for their residents and the Paso del Norte region.”

ASFPdN is an initiative of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

Foundation Awards $1.2m in New Grants to Support Healthy Eating, Active Living

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation recently awarded 10 grants totaling more than $1.2 million under the Healthy Eating and Active Living Priority Area – HEAL Initiative.

According to PdnHF Officials, “The purpose of the HEAL initiative is to make healthy eating and active living the easy choice for youth and their families.”

Via their website, the foundation explains, “Nutrition and physical activity have well documented effects on health. Regardless of weight, a high quality diet can combat many chronic diseases. Active living involves two important and distinct components: being physically active and minimizing sedentary time. The HEAL initiative places emphasis on program and policy interventions that positively impact large numbers of residents, are sustainable, can potentially be scaled, and have measurable results.”

The Funded organizations are:

Arbol de Vida – $142,973.88

HEAL To promote physical fitness and nutrition among children in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Border Partners – $78672.00

Healthy Eating and Active Living in the Binational Border Region of Luna County, New Mexico and Puerto Palomas de Villa, Chihuahua, MX To offer promotora-led nutrition classes, home gardening and the creation of facilities for physical activity to increase fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity opportunities for 1,400 children and their families in Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Children at Risk – $6,000.00

El Paso Legislativa Update To provide a legislative debrief in El Paso, Texas.

Ciudadanos Comprometidos con la Paz, A.C. – $176,722.44  |  Movimiento Saluable

To provide healthy meals, teach portion control and preparation of healthy foods and offer physical activities for 250 children ages 6-16 across six community centers in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México over 12 months.

Counseling Center Inc. – $31,328.00  |  Eat Well Otero

A partnership with Otero County Community Health Council to implement the Eat Well Otero program, which helps restaurants offer h

ealthier options and standardized appropriate portion sizes in Otero County, New Mexico over 12 months.

Kelly Memorial Food Pantry – $143,535.00  |  FreshStart @Kelly, Phase 2

To pilot test sustainability of the Fresh Place model to assist pantry clients in achieving self-sufficiency in El Paso, Texas.

New Mexico State University Foundation, Inc. – $212,602.50  |  Aggie Play

To encourages young girls after-school to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity through mentorship by female volunteer role-models (i.e., NMSU female student-athletes) over 24 months in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

New Mexico State University Foundation, Inc. – $96,197.20  |  NMSU Dietetics Intern Program

To increase the annual graduation of Registered Dietitian (RDs) from 6 to 12 per year and prepare additional qualified professionals to fill open RDs positions in the Paso del Norte region.

Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center – $262,101.62  |  Off to a Good Start Eating Our Way to a Healthy Life

To introduce, implement and sustain the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding Program® in the Paso del Norte region. The SOS helps children with special needs eat healthy.

Texans Care for Children – $25,000.00

General purpose grant in support of policy and advocacy programs to improve the health and wellness of Texas children and families To provide a legislative debrief in El Paso, Texas.


For more information on these grants, call Michael Kelly, Vice President of Programs at 915-544-7636 or

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