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Home | Tag Archives: Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

Tag Archives: Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Students learn where they will go for residency

After four arduous years of medical school, 88 graduating students from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine found out Friday, March 20, where they will serve their medical residencies.

Friday was Match Day 2020, when thousands of graduating medical students across the country found out where they will continue their training. 

Normally, Match Day involves a big gathering with family and friends, but those plans were changed nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foster School of Medicine graduates were notified of their matches via email and honored on social media.

The class of 2020 includes 16 medical students who matched to residency programs in El Paso; 15 of those matched with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. This is just shy of the record 18 Foster School of Medicine students who matched to residencies in El Paso in Spring 2019.

Medical residents often remain in the region in which they are trained, so this is a good sign for fulfilling the Foster School of Medicine’s mission to increase the number of practicing physicians in the El Paso region.

Richard D. Brower, M.D., interim associate dean in the Foster School of Medicine’s Office of Student Affairs, said Foster School of Medicine students are heading into highly competitive specialties and prestigious programs nationwide.

“This year’s residency match outcomes for the Foster School of Medicine are outstanding,” Brower said. “We couldn’t be more proud of this graduating class, and we wish them continued success and happiness. These students are preparing to graduate and advance into residency under extraordinary circumstances related to a global viral pandemic — circumstances fraught with uncertainty and concern. Yet, we are confident in their preparation and know that they will rise to the challenges ahead.” 

Brower said 53% of this year’s graduates matched to residencies in Texas, and 57% will enter residencies in primary care specialties.

For Natalia Luna, who is from El Paso, the opportunity to do her residency at TTUHSC El Paso means the world to her.

“It means that I get to stay home, with my family and pets, where I know I will have lots of support,” said Luna, who will train in a psychiatry residency. “I already know my future coworkers, so I know that I will work very well with them. I also get along with my classmates who matched with me, so I’m excited.”

Jacob Winters, president of the Foster School of Medicine’s class of 2020, matched into the ophthalmology program at the University of Pittsburgh.

“While this is a time of many mixed emotions — nervousness, excitement, pride — we are ultimately humbled to embark on this next adventure and honored to assume the title of ‘physician’ for our patients,” Winters said. “Our class is beyond grateful for the support of the El Paso community that many of us will continue to serve for years to come.”

From 2009 to 2019, the number of doctors in El Paso grew by 51 percent, from 1,068 to 1,613, according to the most recent data available. A major turning point for El Paso’s health care system occurred when the first class of 40 students was admitted into the Foster School of Medicine. The medical school has graduated more than 520 students since its opening.

When the Foster School of Medicine opened, there was a 75% shortage of physicians in El Paso compared to the national average. Since that time, the shortage has been reduced to 50%.

The medical school is named for El Paso businessman Paul L. Foster, who donated $50 million to help create the school. His gift also has funded the tuition of more than 140 medical students, known as the Foster Scholars.

TTUHSC El Paso Raises $775k for Medical Student Scholarships

On Monday,  Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) officials announced that the school has raised more than $775,000 for medical student scholarships as part of its campaign celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

“This effort is unprecedented, and I could not be prouder,” said Andrea Tawney, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for TTUHSC El Paso’s Office of Institutional Advancement. “The entire team at TTUHSC El Paso collaborated to help raise more funds than ever for our students, and they reached this milestone in just nine months. We are so grateful for the outpouring of community support.”

The donations will benefit incoming and current medical students by funding new Foster, Excellence, and Anniversary Scholarships. This is TTUHSC El Paso’s most successful scholarship fundraising drive to date.

The Foster, Excellence, and Anniversary Scholarships are designed to recruit medical students to the Paso del Norte region and give talented young people from the border region the opportunity to attend medical school locally. TTUHSC El Paso created the Anniversary Scholarship in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Foster School of Medicine, which graduated its first class in 2013.

“Together, these scholarships help TTUHSC El Paso remain competitive while also investing in the local workforce and the future of health care in our region,” said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., founding president of TTUHSC El Paso and dean of the Foster School of Medicine. “As one of only two Hispanic-serving medical schools in the country, it’s incredibly important that we recruit and retain talent in our region.”

The anniversary campaign raised scholarship support through many channels, including direct donor gifts, endowed scholarships, matched funds, and sponsorships for the Foster School of Medicine’s 10th anniversary celebration, “A Red Tie Affair for A White Coat Occasion.”

During the event, more than $50,000 was raised, which will be matched by Dr. Carlos and Mrs. Rocio Viesca, and Dr. Richard and Mrs. Bobette Lange.

“Because of the Anniversary Scholarship, I can start medical school this fall focused on becoming a great doctor instead of worrying about how to pay for my studies,” said Andrea McWilliams, an Anniversary Scholarship recipient and incoming medical student. “I was elated to find out I had been awarded a scholarship, and I hope that when I graduate, I will be able to give back to this community that has given so much to me.”

The February 28 celebration was attended by more than 600 community members and featured special honoree Dr. Jesus Guzman, a Foster Scholar and first-generation college and medical student.

Event guests were also able to “shop” and purchase books and tools that first-year medical students need, such as white coats and stethoscopes, at the pop-up shop, “M.D. To Be.”

“Thanks to our community’s generous support, students in El Paso can attend medical school without having to leave town,” said Dr. Lange. “Ten years ago, the medical school set out to improve access to quality health care in our region, and today, with student-run clinics serving low-income residents, residences for recent graduates, and physicians choosing to stay in El Paso to practice, we are doing just that.”

In the last decade, TTUHSC El Paso has graduated 523 doctors and medical residents and contributed $227 million annually to the local economy.

For information about TTUHSC El Paso, the 10-year anniversary of the Foster School of Medicine, the celebration or how to contribute to the scholarship fund, please visit the website.

State Rep. Blanco presents Resolution to Honor Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s 10-Year Anniversary

To commemorate the 10- year anniversary of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, State Rep. César Blanco presented a resolution to Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) president.

“This medical school is not only contributing to the economic activity of our city, but directly serves to improve the physician shortage that West Texas faces,” said Representative Blanco during the presentation.

“Thanks to the Foster School of Medicine, talented students from the Paso del Norte region with a passion for medicine and serving the community have the option to apply for medical school in their hometown.”

Blanco, who represents TTUHSC El Paso in the Texas State House of Representatives, has been a key supporter of the Foster School of Medicine. His resolution comes one month before TTUHSC El Paso holds the medical school’s 10th anniversary celebration, “A Red Tie Affair for a White Coat Occasion,” on February 28.

“We are thankful for Representative Blanco and the entire El Paso delegation for their continued support of the students, faculty, and staff at the Foster School of Medicine,” Dr. Lange said. “This resolution not only recognizes the tremendous work being done at TTUHSC El Paso, but also celebrates the positive impact we are making to the health care and education in our region.”

Opening its doors in 2009 with an inaugural class of 40 students, the Foster School of Medicine became the first medical school located on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Since graduating from the school, more than 500 alumni are either currently practicing physicians or in residency programs throughout the United States.

The Foster School of Medicine has 403 students currently enrolled, most of whom have contributed several thousand hours in community service through its student-run clinics and volunteer programs.

The school continues to be a pioneer in health education through a curriculum focused on training students in simulation labs with high-tech mannequins, beginning clinical rounds within the first year of study, and requiring all students to learn medical Spanish.

TTUHSC El Paso 2019 SARP Symposium winners announced

The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s 2019 Scholarly Activity and Research Program (SARP) Symposium was held late last month, now the winners have been announced.

“We would like to congratulate all of our poster presenters for doing a wonderful job on their SARP requirements and for making this year’s SARP symposium a great success,” said Carolyn D. Mack, D.B.A., associate director for the SARP program in the Department of Medical Education. “Also, a big thank you to all the SARP mentors, faculty reviewers, poster judges and monitors.”

SARP co-directors are Curt Pfarr, Ph.D., college master and professor of cell and molecular biology in the Department of Medical Education, and Marine Coue, Ph.D., college master and professor of cell and molecular biology and genetics in the Department of Medical Education.

Forty-six students presented posters to a panel of faculty judges on November 20-21.

Six students were selected to receive $1,000 travel awards to attend national-level meetings or conferences.

The SARP Symposium $1,000 travel award winners are (in alphabetical order):

  • Liliana Bonilla, MS3, “Early Cardiometabolic Risk: The Prevalence of Compensatory Hyperinsulinemia in U.S. Populations,” mentor: David P. Cistola, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Madison Craft, MS3, “The Use of Hybrid Autograft and Allograft for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Gives Outcomes Equivalent to Autograft Alone,” mentor: William Weiss, M.D.
  • Kristina Flores, MS2, “Nimbolide Inhibits Pancreatic Cancer by Altering the Phosphoproteome,” mentor: Ramadevi Subramani, Ph.D.
  • James Fong, MS3, “Replacing Didactic Lectures with Integrated Case-based Sessions Improves Student Outcomes in an Integrated Pre-clerkship Curriculum,” mentor: Diana Pettit, Ph.D.
  • Nikhil Jaiswal, MS2, “Nanoparticle-Based Delivery of IL-4 pDNA for Counteracting Neuroinflammation,” mentor: Huanyu Dou, M.D.
  • Rose Yeh, MS2, “Combining a Conditional Suicide Gene with CCR5 Knockout for Anti-HIV Gene Therapy,” mentor: Himanshu Garg, Ph.D.

Five additional students rounded out the top poster presenters for the symposium. These students are (in alphabetical order):

  • Madeline Dixon, MS2, “Understanding the Mechanism of Pregnancy Induced Risk Reduction of Breast Cancer,” mentor: Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, Ph.D.
  • Christopher Pastrana, MS2, “Generations of In Vitro Granuloma for Mycobacterium Studies,” mentor: Jorge Cervantes, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Natalie Satterfield, MS2, “Histone Modifications and CXCR4 Chemokine Receptor Signaling in Hyperglycemic DRG Neurons,” mentor: Munmun Chattopadhyay, M.Sc., Ph.D.
  • Kelsey Van-Noy, MS3, “The Process of Prescribing New Medication in Children and Adolescents: How Does Patient Education Regarding Side Effects Affect Adherence?” mentor: Laurel Payne, M.D.
  • Kevin Woods, MS3, “Cardiac Safety and Clinical Efficacy of High Dose Domperidone for Long-Term Treatment of Gastroparesis,” mentor: Richard McCallum, M.D.
Foster School of Medicine students presented their research during the 2019 SARP Symposium.

Author:    – TTUSCH El Paso

TTUHSC El Paso surpasses fundraising goal of $250k for Medical Student Scholarships

On Tuesday, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) announced that more than $350,000 has been raised for scholarships benefiting incoming and current students attending the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. 

Funding for scholarships was raised through sponsorships and gifts in honor of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, “A Red Tie Affair for A White Coat Occasion.” More than a dozen community sponsors have contributed to the event, including sponsors Datamark, Hunt Family Foundation, Robert and Sheri Brown, and El Paso Electric.

“Our 10th anniversary celebration is particularly unique in that all proceeds will fund the education of our students through special anniversary scholarships,” said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., president of TTUHSC El Paso and dean of the Foster School of Medicine. “I am thrilled we have surpassed our original goal of $250,000, and I hope that this success will inspire even more giving in the time leading up to and during our celebration event.”

The scholarship program, which consists of Foster Scholarships, Excellence Scholarships, and Anniversary Scholarships, makes medical school and residency possible for more students, and it provides talented young people from the region the opportunity to attend medical school in their hometown.

With annual tuition and fees for an in-state medical student totaling less than $20,000, the Foster School of Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso has been ranked one of the most affordable public medical schools in the country by U.S News and World Report.

“We will continue to fundraise as the event nears and have exciting, competitive ways for our guests to help our incoming students during the night’s events,” said Andrea Tawney, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement.

“The El Paso community continues to amaze me with their investments in our city’s future well-being.  Thanks to their support, we are able to offer scholarships to students throughout their medical school journey and continue a “grow our own” approach to addressing our region’s physician shortage.”

The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine was established to serve the mission of improving access to quality health care in the Borderland.  It opened its doors to an inaugural class of 40 students in 2009, and since then it has sent 523 aspiring doctors into the medical profession.

Graduates have been matched to residency programs at top national institutions, including The Johns Hopkins University Hospital, George Washington University, Baylor University, New York University, Mayo Clinic, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

TTUHSC El Paso’s “A Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion” event will be held on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in celebration of the Foster School of Medicine’s 10-year anniversary.

All event proceeds will support student scholarships, with a focus on recruiting students from El Paso and West Texas who will go on to practice in the region and serve their local communities.

The celebratory event will include a special black carpet entrance with interactive social media experiences, a guest appearance from the Texas Tech Masked Rider and El Paso’s Thomas Jefferson High School band.

PLFSOM Medical Student Abhishek Dharan shares his research vision at TEDx El Paso

For Abhishek Dharan, a member of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s class of 2022, research on blindness and visual impairment isn’t just a project. It’s personal.

His grandfather suffered from cataracts, and regaining his vision improved his quality of life.

Dharan touched on his journey through this research and his family’s role in it during his Oct. 12 TEDx El Paso presentation, “The Vision of Our Family is a Vision for Our Community.”

TEDx events feature short talks, demonstrations and performances designed to foster learning and inspiration, and provoke conversations on a variety of topics.

In 2018, Dharan received a $10,000 grant from the TEDx El Paso Innovators Program – the first grant offered through the program – to investigate how many El Pasoans are blind or visually impaired and how their conditions can be treated by modern medicine.

Dharan’s goal is to raise awareness about preventable blindness and motivate community leaders to invest in ways for El Pasoans to recover their sight.

“One of the things I’m going to ask you all to do between now and TEDx next year is to go out and think: What do you appreciate? What is it that you really enjoy when you’re in daily life?” Dharan told the audience. “If you were to lose your vision today, and it were to come back in a year, what would be the first thing you’d want to see?

“What I’m doing for my research project as a medical student here is, I’m asking that question,” he said. “I’m going to these communities in El Paso, working with local doctors, and I’m getting them to have their patients say what they find interesting once they get their vision back from surgery.”

Dharan is the second person from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to present at a TEDx El Paso event.

Peter Rotwein, M.D., vice president for research at TTUHSC El Paso, spoke at TEDx El Paso in 2018. Dr. Rotwein’s presentation, “Through the Looking Glass: Reading Our Future from Our Genetic Past,” is available on YouTube at this link.

Author:  – TTUHSC El Paso

National, Community Foundations aid TTUHSC El Paso’s fight against breast cancer

Both faculty and students at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso play critical roles in the fight against breast cancer, from education and prevention, to diagnosis, to the discovery of new treatments.

Students from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine conduct screenings in the clinics where they volunteer, and faculty members carry out research to expand potential treatments.

In their efforts to raise breast cancer awareness and enable early detection, the American Breast Cancer Foundation (ABCF) and the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) have provided ongoing support of the Foster School of Medicine’s Medical Student Run Clinic (MSRC).

The MSRC provides diagnostic, preventive and educational care to residents in the community of Sparks, Texas, just outside El Paso city limits.

In 2019, the NBCF awarded a $10,000 grant, and the ABCF a $7,500 grant, to the MSRC for a combined total of $17,500, which will provide screening and diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds to the uninsured and underserved population in Sparks.

Through these joint efforts, it is expected that 90 to 100 mammograms will be given, and approximately 20% of those screenings will lead to follow-up testing with ultrasound and/or a diagnostic mammogram.

Both the ABCF and the NBCF strive to identify cases of breast cancer as early as possible so patients who test positive can be immediately referred for treatment.

Additionally, funding from both foundations will be used to provide health education to residents on overall breast health, preventive care, important signs and symptoms to watch for and discuss with health care providers, and how to properly conduct a breast self-exam at home.

Health-education discussions and materials are provided in English and Spanish.

Without funding from the ABCF and the NBCF, women in the Sparks community would have had little or no other means for screening, and diagnosed cases could have been missed until the disease progressed further.

Most recently, the Texas Medical Association Foundation awarded a $3,000 grant to the MSRC to increase breast cancer screening in the Agua Dulce colonia in East El Paso.

Volunteer students and physician faculty at the MSRC will provide free breast exams through a mobile mammography unit.

About 50 women will receive bilingual breast health education and 20 will receive free mammograms at the mobile mammography unit operated by Desert Imaging. These breast exam services would normally cost about $260 per patient.

“It’s important to continue our outreach efforts in the underserved areas of West Texas and bring services to those in need in their own communities,” said Maureen Francis, M.D., FACP, assistant dean for medical education at the Foster School of Medicine and a medical director of the MSRC. “Support from partnerships like these are critical in providing potentially lifesaving care to women who would otherwise have little or no access to this type of preventive care.”

The Foster School of Medicine established the MSRC in 2013, and the clinic has served more than 2,000 patients since then.

TTUHSC El Paso Students train community members for bleeding emergencies

Nearly three dozen TTUHSC El Paso students volunteered to offer several free workshops around El Paso in recent weeks to teach community members how to use tourniquets to prevent life-threatening blood loss from injuries.

One of these Lone Star Survival Texas Tourniquet Training events took place at the Fountains at Farah in East-Central El Paso on October 18, a short distance from the Walmart where a mass shooting on Aug. 3 took the lives of 22 people and injured more than two dozen.

“It’s important for me to get the community to know these simple lifesaving techniques like tourniquet placement and CPR, because often the general public doesn’t know what to do,” said Tori Oakes, a second-year medical student at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

This is the second year Oakes has trained community members in bleeding control through the Lone Star Survival program. She said participants, based on what they’ve seen on TV or in movies, often think stopping massive amounts of blood loss is as easy as grabbing a belt and tightening it on an arm or leg.

“You see what’s going on in the movies and it’s completely different,” Oakes said. “If you don’t have a tourniquet, it’s actually more important to place pressure on the wound than to ‘MacGyver it’ with a belt, because a belt actually doesn’t apply enough pressure and just continues to allow it to bleed.”











Tourniquet training includes four basic steps:

  1. Identify heavy bleeding.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Hold direct pressure.
  4. Apply a tourniquet if bleeding doesn’t stop.

A tourniquet can be purchased online for about $10 to $15. They are also included in some first aid and survival kits popular with campers, hikers and others who work and play outdoors.

Aaron Murillo-Ruiz, a first-year Foster School of Medicine student, said knowledge of bleeding control and tourniquet application is needed in urban environments, where car accidents are common, and, unfortunately, mass shootings seem to be on the rise.

The training is also a must for El Pasoans who enjoy hiking in the Franklin Mountains and other wilderness areas in the region, he said. A hiker who slips on a log and is cut by a sharp branch, or who experiences a severe fall resulting in a compound fracture, may need to stop life-threatening bleeding until help arrives.

“Applying a tourniquet is a relatively simple method that can be used any time someone is bleeding and less aggressive approaches (i.e., pressure alone) fail,” Murillo-Ruiz said. “The knowledge we are imparting on our community members is essential, because being prepared for an unexpected crisis can potentially be life-saving.”

To see a list of upcoming bleeding control workshops throughout Texas, visit the Lone Star Survival: Bleeding Control Facebook page at this link.

Author:  – TTUHSC El Paso

Peter Piper Pizza to sponsor Foster School of Medicine’s 10-Year Anniversary Celebration

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and Peter Piper Pizza are teaming up to invest in scholarships for students at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

“Peter Piper Pizza is proud to support Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and their ongoing mission to improve the lives of those in the El Paso community,” said Kirk Robison, chairman and CEO of Pizza Properties.

The local franchise is contributing $25,000 to the Decade Scholarship as a major sponsor of TTUHSC El Paso’s “Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion” celebration on Friday, February 28, 2020.

The event celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Foster School of Medicine, which opened its doors to an inaugural class of 40 students in 2009. With help from community supporters like Peter Piper Pizza, the Foster School of Medicine is educating the future of health care and has graduated 422 students to date.

All event proceeds will go toward medical student scholarships with a focus on recruiting students from El Paso and across West Texas who will remain or return to the region to serve their community. The Foster School of Medicine was established to serve the mission of improving access to quality health care in the Borderland.

Peter Piper Pizza is also one of several local restaurants joining in the celebration by offering discounts for TTUHSC El Paso students and employees.

For information on the “Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion” celebration, visit the 10-year anniversary website. Also on the site is an opportunity for alumni of the Foster School of Medicine to share memories and experiences during their time as medical students.

TTUHSC El Paso disaster training helped prepare Emergency Responders for Mass Shooting

The Department of Emergency Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso plays a major role in preparing physicians and first responders for mass casualty incidents like the August 3 shooting at the Walmart in East-Central El Paso.

The attack killed 22 people and injured more than two dozen others.

Approximately every 18 months, the department conducts large-scale disaster drills as part of its three-year training program for emergency medicine residents. The department’s disaster drill in 2017 was based on an active-shooter scenario.

In April 2019, the department ran a two-day drill featuring a scenario involving trauma and toxicology: a train crash that unleashed a spill of hydrofluoric acid.

The drills typically bring together a wide range of participants, including residents training in other specialties, TTUHSC El Paso medical and nursing students, personnel from the El Paso Fire Department, and first-responder trainees from the community.

Middle and high school students from area schools have also participated in the drills, sometimes role-playing as simulated patients or training as part of their high schools’ first-responder programs.

“Physician residents and TTUHSC El Paso students have some opportunity during their training to see multiple patients, one after the other, in the emergency department, but it’s very rare that it is at the pace of a mass casualty incident,” said TTUHSC El Paso Professor of Emergency Medicine Stephen W. Borron, M.D., M.S., who helps organize the disaster drills.

“Being able to juggle multiple balls—keeping patients alive when you’re taking care of several patients at a time, and their conditions are changing very quickly—is a skill set that almost has to be learned outside the emergency department, because we just fortunately don’t see these kinds of incidents frequently,” Dr. Borron said.

TTUHSC El Paso Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Scott Crawford, M.D., who works with Dr. Borron to organize the drills, said the exercises help emergency responders maintain focus and efficiency in an often-chaotic environment.

“One of the biggest benefits of (the drills) is that in a relatively controlled setting, they allow individuals to experience the challenge with communication and coordination of care between groups,” said Dr. Crawford, who also serves as director for the Training and Educational Center for Healthcare Simulation (TECHS) at TTUHSC El Paso.

Alejandro J. Rios Tovar, M.D., assistant professor and the associate trauma medical director for TTUHSC El Paso’s Department of Surgery, participated in disaster drills while completing his general surgery residency at TTUHSC El Paso from 2011 to 2016.

“I would always take the drills seriously as if they were real. The mass casualty drills help and it showed on the day of the shooting,” said Dr. Rios Tovar, who treated gunshot victims at University Medical Center of El Paso on Aug. 3. “Everybody knew what they were supposed to do.”

Now that the community has tragically experienced a mass-casualty incident that it hoped would never happen, the Department of Emergency Medicine will examine whether it can organize more frequent disaster drills, Dr. Borron said.

Dr. Crawford said the next drill likely won’t be based on an active shooter scenario because it could be emotionally traumatic for those that worked in emergency rooms on the day of the shooting.

Given the drills’ proven benefits, future events will surely include more participants from an array of academic departments, the physicians said.

“There needs to be even more interaction between physician residencies,” Dr. Borron said. “For example, it would be good for us to drill with the surgical department, the trauma residents, the radiology residents and the orthopaedic residents at a minimum; and maybe some of the internal medicine and pediatric residents. Almost every specialty comes into play in some way or other in a disaster situation.”

Author:  – TTUHSC El Paso

Foster Scholar Alumna makes a difference as a Family Medicine Physician

Sarah Sepulveda, M.D., didn’t let small-town roots limit her big dreams.

Dr. Sepulveda grew up in Fabens, Texas, a small community about 30 miles east of El Paso along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I wanted to become a doctor because you can help improve the quality of patients’ lives,” said Dr. Sepulveda, a 2015 graduate of the Foster School of Medicine. “I loved the idea of connecting and helping people when they are at their most challenging moments in life. It is a wonderful feeling to know that the patient has this much trust and faith in you.”

Dr. Sepulveda received a scholarship to attend medical school through the Foster Scholars program.

“Receiving a scholarship meant freedom to me,” Dr. Sepulveda said. “It meant that I was free to pursue the career of my choice. I really wanted to practice family medicine from my first year in medical school. Knowing that I wasn’t going to have a large amount of debt allowed me to choose the career in which I was happiest, helping address a major need for primary care physicians in my community.”

Without scholarship support, Dr. Sepulveda’s dream to pursue a degree in medicine and serve families in her community would not have been possible.

Dr. Sepulveda makes a difference in the community as a family medicine doctor at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso in Northeast El Paso.

Make an investment in the future of health care by joining us as we celebrate the Foster School of Medicine’s 10th anniversary; for more information, visit the school’s 10-year anniversary website.


In 2007, El Paso businessman Paul L. Foster donated $50 million to help create the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. His gift has also funded the tuition of dozens of medical students, known as the Foster Scholars.

This academic year, the Foster Scholars program has awarded 90 students scholarships totaling $1.8 million; 78 students have received $15,000 Foster Scholarships, and 12 students have received $1,000 scholarships along with a non-resident tuition waiver.

Author:  – TTUHSC El Paso

Record Number of Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Students to Serve Residency in El Paso

After four arduous years of medical school, 99 Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) students found out Friday where they will serve their medical residencies.

The class of 2019 included a record 16 medical students who were matched with residencies in El Paso.

“Residents often remain in the region in which they are trained, so this is a good sign for fulfilling the PLFSOM’s mission to increase the number of practicing physicians in the El Paso region,” school officials shared via a news release.

Friday was known as Match Day, and thousands of graduating medical students across the country gathered in similar ceremonies, waiting to simultaneously open their envelopes and find out where they will train.

Jesus Guzman was one of those excited and grateful to find out he will serve his residency in El Paso. Guzman grew up in the Segundo Barrio, graduated from Bowie High School, and will now serve a residency in internal medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

“My family was so nervous because we were all wishing and praying for me to stay in El Paso,” Guzman said. “We’re so blessed. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Guzman hadn’t considered a career in medicine until a chance encounter after graduating with an accounting degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. He started working at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso and happened to witness the inaugural PLFSOM White Coat Ceremony at the Chamizal Theater.

The ceremony welcomes first-year medical students into the profession by cloaking them with their first white coats.

“I was so inspired by the ceremony and by what the field of medicine meant — I just knew then and there that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Guzman said. “Now I get to be a resident here and help the community where I grew up.”

Jake Wilson, PLFSOM class of 2019 president, correctly predicted before the Match Day ceremony that there would be many students matching in El Paso. Wilson was matched to the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, in internal medicine.

“This is going to be a really interesting year, because I think we are going to have more people stay in El Paso,” Wilson said. “More people want to stay, or at least come back to El Paso, because we’ve fallen in love with El Paso. Regardless of where we end up, we’re taking what we learned in El Paso and spreading it across the country, and eventually I think we’re going to bring it back. This class has really embraced the patients and the community of El Paso. We’ve really loved it here.”

Roberto Solis and Roxana Mohhebali are engaged, and both graduated in the class of 2019. So, they were delighted to both be matched to the University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. Solis will be training in otolaryngology and Mohhebali in obstetrics-gynecology.

“We’re very excited,” Solis said. “There was a lot of anxiety and nervousness, because the unknown was scary, but now we’re very, very happy.”

El Paso businessman Paul L. Foster attended the ceremony for the first time Friday and afterward had lunch with 22 Foster Scholars who were matched to residencies. Foster donated $50 million to help create the PLFSOM, and his gift also has funded the tuition of more than 140 medical students, known as the Foster Scholars. The PLFSOM, which seated its first class in July 2009, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year.

Match Day comes after the students have spent the past six months applying to residencies, interviewing and deciding the order in which to rank programs they hope to be matched to, said Herb Janssen, Ph.D., interim associate dean of student affairs.

“Though the moments leading up to 10 a.m. on Match Day can be filled with tension, the moments right after are usually filled with joy,” Janssen said. “It’s always exciting to learn where our students will be going to continue their careers.”

Photo gallery courtesy PLFSOM

TTUHSC El Paso’s School of Medicine Reaccredited for 8-Year Term

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s (TTUHSC) medical education program has been granted full accreditation for eight years without citations by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME),

According to TTUHSC officials the announcement is the “best possible outcome of an application for continuing accreditation.”

The LCME is the U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting body for programs leading to the M.D. degree. There are three stages of accreditation: preliminary, provisional and full. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine has been fully accredited since 2013.

Richard Brower, M.D., associate dean for medical education, said the LCME’s survey team was impressed by the school’s educational resources, committed faculty, and well-documented philosophy and theoretical basis for its curriculum.

Clinical integration is key to the PLFSOM’s curriculum. Unlike many traditional medical schools, PLFSOM students are immersed in diagnostic reasoning and clinical skill-building from the very start of their medical education. They learn the scientific foundations of medicine and related diagnostic skills based on common clinical presentations throughout the first and second years.

During this phase they also participate in community explorations and assessments, as well as a unique program of fully integrated Spanish language instruction.

“The LCME is very interested in the modernization of medical education,” Dr. Brower said. “And we were well-prepared to emphasize how the development and evolution of the PLFSOM curriculum has been deliberately based on settled principles of adult learning and educational psychology — this definitely worked in our favor.”

From the first day of medical school, PLFSOM students are taught to think like a doctor. Active learning is encouraged through simulation exercises in the school’s Center for Advanced Teaching and Assessment in Clinical Simulation. ATACS uses high-fidelity manikins that simulate everything from cardiac arrest to a vaginal birth.

Students also interact with “standardized patients,” real people trained to act out symptoms of medical conditions. These simulation activities help students learn to recognize conditions while developing their people skills and bedside manner.

In the final two years of medical school, students interact with actual patients in a wide range of clinical settings, and gain knowledge in ways that no textbook or simulation could ever teach. These experiences provide students with the background to lead the nation in medical care and prevention upon graduation.

With accreditation through 2026, PLFSOM leaders are looking at ways the school can continue to evolve.

“The great thing about the school’s definitively positive accreditation outcome is that we know we’re on an eight-year cycle, and this establishes an advantageous timeline for educational program enhancement and growth” Dr. Brower said.

With TTUHSC El Paso’s Medical Sciences Building II slated for completion in 2019, TTUHSC El Paso’s priority now will be to align its physical planning with its educational planning and enrollment goals.

The PLFSOM’s LCME accreditation is the third accreditation to be awarded to TTUHSC El Paso in 2018. Previously accredited under Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, TTUHSC El Paso was granted separate institutional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in June.

Also in June, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing earned its 10-year programmatic accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

More information about the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine may be found at online.

TTUHSC El Paso President Elected to Chair FDA Advisory Board

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., has been appointed as panel chair for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Circulatory Systems Devices Panel.

“I look forward to working with the FDA to accomplish those goals, to bring these devices to the public earlier and as quickly as possible, while still ensuring their safety,” Dr. Lange said.

Dr. Lange, who is also dean of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso, is a practicing cardiologist and has served on the FDA Circulatory Systems Devices Panel since 2010.

His term as chair will last four years, at a time when the FDA is going through important changes, including efforts to move drugs and devices through the approval process faster, especially for breakthrough drugs and devices.

The panel reviews and evaluates data about the safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational medical devices for use in the circulatory and vascular systems.

They then make appropriate recommendations to the FDA commissioner.

Medical Students to Host Free Health Fair, Hands-Only CPR Training

Students in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) will host two events Saturday to help keep El Pasoans healthy.

The SUNS Health Fair, running from 9 a.m. to noon at Dolphin Terrace Elementary School in Northeast El Paso, is free to the public and will offer blood pressure readings, blood sugar tests, EKGs, dental screenings, and more.

This will be the third year PLFSOM students have participated in the Texas Two-Step: Save a Life Campaign, said Kelcy Steffen, a PLFSOM student. The campaign began in Texas in 2016 and expanded nationwide to seven states this year.

“Since heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, we knew it was important to help the medical students and our great partners bring this lifesaving event to our communities again this year,” Steffen said.

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso medical students will also offer classes in hands-only CPR. During five-minute training sessions, El Pasoans will learn how to react quickly to cardiac emergencies in two steps: 1. Call 911. 2. Initiate hands-only CPR.

The Texas Two-Step CPR classes will be offered during the SUNS Health Fair, and at two other sites on Saturday.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Fountains at Farah

8889 Gateway Blvd. West

8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sun Metro Downtown Transfer Center

601 S. Santa Fe Street


For more information, visit the Texas Two-Step: Save a Life Campaign website, or follow @TX2StepCPR on Twitter.

What: SUNS Health Fair and Texas Two-Step CPR Training

When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 24

Where: Dolphin Terrace Elementary School, 9790 Pickerel Drive

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