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Home | Tag Archives: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

Tag Archives: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

TTUHSC El Paso shares celebration of Commencements for Foster School of Medicine, Hunt School of Nursing and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

This year, nearly to 18,000 family and friends across the globe logged onto Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Facebook and YouTube pages to celebrate the graduation of students from the university’s three schools.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of traditional Spring 2020 commencement ceremonies at TTUHSC El Paso, each student was highlighted during virtual ceremonies with an individual photo slide that included their hometown, any honors and distinctions, and post-graduate plans.

The goal was to make the experience memorable for students and their families and expand participation even beyond those who would normally attend to cheer on their graduates.

With social distancing guidelines in place, commencement ceremonies for the Hunt School of Nursing and GSBS were streamed on Facebook on May 9, while the Foster School of Medicine’s ceremony streamed on May 22.

All three ceremonies have been archived and can be viewed on-demand at TTUHSC El Paso‘s virtual commencement website.

Foster School of Medicine

The 88-member class of 2020 includes 16 medical students who matched to residency programs in El Paso; 15 of those matched to programs at TTUHSC 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, fulfilling the Foster School of Medicine’s mission to increase the number of practicing physicians in the El Paso region.

Fifty-three percent of this year’s graduates matched to residencies in Texas, and 57% will enter residencies in primary care specialties.

Servando Rivera is a native El Pasoan and proud graduate of the Foster School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 who will begin a residency in emergency medicine at TTUHSC El Paso. He said it means the world to him to have the opportunity to practice medicine where his family lives.

“Catering to the border community has always been a priority to me, and now the opportunity to stay here has made my dream come true,” said Rivera, who earned a Master of Science from the GSBS prior to enrolling in the Foster School of Medicine.

When the Foster School of Medicine opened its doors in 2009, there was a 75% shortage of physicians in El Paso compared to the national average. Since that time, the medical school has graduated more than 520 students, and the comparative shortage of physicians in El Paso has been reduced to 50%.

From 2009 to 2019, the number of doctors in El Paso grew by 51%, from 1,068 to 1,613, according to the most recent data available.

Hunt School of Nursing

For the second consecutive year, the Hunt School of Nursing’s graduating class received the DAISY In Training Award from the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation for their important roles in local hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DAISY Foundation was created to honor and celebrate the care and compassion of direct care nurses, nursing faculty and nursing students.

The Hunt School of Nursing’s Winter 2019 graduating class received the award after assisting at area hospitals following the Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart.

The nursing school’s commencement honored 75 graduates of the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program and 11 graduates of the R.N. to B.S.N. program. Four students made university history as the first to graduate from the Hunt School of Nursing with a Master of Science in Nursing.

Students in the Accelerated B.S.N. program take up to 17 credit hours per semester for four successive semesters. The rigorous program allows students to graduate in 16 months after working through a curriculum designed for cross-disciplinary collaboration. This is the only accelerated nursing program in the region.

To date, the Hunt School of Nursing has graduated more than 600 students with 90% of those graduates staying in the region. The school of nursing currently has partnerships with every hospital in the El Paso community, which includes both clinical rotation opportunities and job placements post-graduation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse for the vital role they play in providing health services.

TTUHSC El Paso will join the WHO in a year-long effort to celebrate the work of nurses.

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

The GSBS honored 23 graduates of the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program and 10 graduates of the school’s post-baccalaureate certificate program.

The mission of the GSBS is to educate the next generation of scientists and health-related professionals by providing a dynamic research environment. The GSBS is oriented to satisfy the learning needs of a multicultural group of students by fostering creativity and discovery.

Most GSBS graduates attend medical or dental school or pursue their Ph.D. after graduation.

Local COVID-19 survivors encourage plasma donation

Fear of the unknown can make what seems like an insignificant decision turn into an arduous undertaking. The COVID-19 pandemic has been stress-inducing to the collective consciousness of the world, not only because of fear of infection, but fear of what could come next.

For Alan and Patty Russell, community leaders and local supporters of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, a positive result from an antibody test for COVID-19 supplied assurance rather than fear.

“We were relieved to know that we had the virus,” Patty said. They were fortunate – the Russells contracted what seemed like a terrible case of the flu in February and recovered. It was not the flu, but COVID-19; however, they came out of the experience relatively unscathed.

What came next for the Russells was an unknown experience: the donation of plasma. Recently, Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso urged individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to donate convalescent plasma, which can boost the ability of patients with severe cases to fight the virus.

The Russells had not donated blood or plasma in the past and had many questions.

Would it hurt? Would there be side effects? Would it be a long process?

In a search of answers, the Russells contacted TTUHSC El Paso. Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, helped by walking the couple through the process of donating plasma.

This included completing the donor-evaluation physician information after reviewing their antibody test, then answering their questions regarding the importance of donating plasma.

The entire process was completed electronically.

Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D.

“Since there is no proven effective therapy for COVID-19, convalescent plasma may make a difference between survival or mortality in severely ill patients,” Dr. Mukherjee said.

“Convalescent plasma remains in short supply and donations would help to treat more patients admitted to hospitals in our community.”

After help from Dr. Mukherjee, the donation was then processed and administered by Vitalant, one of the blood service providers available to El Pasoans.

“Donating plasma was truly a nonevent. It took about an hour in the chair,” Patty said of her first experience donating. “During the process, they give you your own red blood cells back; it is different than donating blood alone. It did not hurt, and the staff at the Vitalant blood bank were so professional that it was calming. When we left their facility, we virtually had no side effects.”

Patty sees donating plasma as a way to help the communities she and her husband love – El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.

“The use of plasma by researchers is critical. We have personally lost friends to the virus, which brings it closer to home for us,” she said. “If everyone who has recovered from the virus in the El Paso region would donate their plasma, we could maybe save the lives of people in a vulnerable state.  I dream of even being able to help our friends across the border in Juárez.”

  • Currently, Vitalant is seeking convalescent plasma donors to help patients. Eligibility criteria are:
  • Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test.
  • Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days.
  • Meet all other current U.S. Food and Drug Administration donor eligibility requirements to donate plasma.

The Russells and Dr. Mukherjee want to encourage local COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma, as it will help others in the region.

“With the help of TTUHSC El Paso in spreading the word, we are certain more people will come forward to donate!” the Russells said.

Those who meet the criteria and want to donate plasma are encouraged to apply through the Vitalant website. For more information, please call 866-CV-PLSMA (866-287-5762).

Patty Russell
Alan Russell

El Paso Electric Donates $5k to TTUHSC El Paso’s Student Frontline Emergency Fund

On Tuesday, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso announced a $5,000 contribution from El Paso Electric to the university’s Student Frontline Emergency Fund.

“We are truly grateful for the commitment to our community from students at TTUHSC El Paso, who are on the front lines as part of this fight,” said El Paso Electric Vice President of Community Engagement Eddie Gutierrez. “We hope that our contribution to the Student Frontline Emergency Fund will help provide the basic needs for these students so they can stay focused on the mission at hand.”

The Student Frontline Emergency Fund was created to assist TTUHSC El Paso students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses due to temporary hardship or unforeseen emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund provides needed relief to address the current and future needs of students who are already serving in our local hospitals during their clinical rotations.

TTUHSC El Paso students rely heavily on service industry jobs to augment their income, support their families and get through school.

“The current financial crisis is threatening their ability to successfully complete courses and clinical rotations, enter the workforce and ultimately, address the needs of area hospitals, clinics and physician offices,” TTUHSC El Paso officials shared. “This financial contribution will make the difference between a student graduating on time or dropping out due to unexpected financial burdens.”

El Paso Electric has been a strong supporter in helping students succeed. Hunt School of Nursing Student Kathryne Aguilar is one of the students who has benefited from past financial assistance from El Paso Electric.

“When I was little, I used to go to the hospital a lot because I had asthma attacks,” Aguilar said. “One day, my dad was working the night shift. I had no one. I had a nightmare and one nurse stayed with me the whole night and comforted me. Nursing means passion, comfort, caring. It means being a family member when no one else can be there.”

The financial hardships that TTUHSC El Paso students are experiencing now will not diminish once the region begins to slow the spread of COVID-19.

It will be critical to have various emergency funding sources available for the next six months to ensure students complete their education and enter the workforce.

Contributions to the TTUHSC El Paso Student Frontline Emergency Fund can be made by clicking on this link.

Community Donates to TTUHSC El Paso RaiderAid Food Pantry During COVID-19 Pandemic

Community members and businesses are contributing to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s RaiderAid Food Pantry to ensure students in need are receiving essential food items and pantry staples.

The RaiderAid Food Pantry has seen an increase in demand since the COVID-19 pandemic hit El Paso.

“Recent donations for the food pantry are greatly appreciated, as they go directly to supporting our students,” said Javier Calzadillas, senior analyst at TTUHSC El Paso’s Foster School of Medicine.

“Our institution is heavily focused on the holistic well-being of each and every one of our students, and food security supports the most basic physical wellness needs. By having access to this resource, our students are better able to focus on their academic and extracurricular success rather than where their next meal is coming from.”

Contributions in recent weeks include:

  • The donation of instant ramen, canned pinto beans, cookies, bottled water, pasta, chips and tomato sauce from Paul and Suzanne Dipp, owners of Economy Cash & Carry.
  • An Albertsons grocery gift card from Stephen Peterson, owner of 3Pete Logistics, LLC.
  • 100 pounds of pinto beans from Food City Supermarkets. The pinto beans were separated into four-pound bags to be distributed to 25 students.

The pantry is open to all TTUHSC El Paso students and can be accessed any day of the week. Nonperishable items for breakfast, lunch and dinner are available, as well as some cold items and drinks.

The pantry was started by the Gold Humanism Honor Society in partnership with TTUHSC El Paso’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Global Health. The university’s Student Government Association has provided support for the pantry and allocated funds to assist in maintaining its food resources.

To donate to the TTUHSC El Paso RaiderAid Food Pantry, contact Valerie A. Garcia, Director of Development for Institutional Advancement, at

Photo courtesy TTUHSC EP

Helene Fuld Health Trust gift to fund Accelerated B.S.N. Scholarships at Hunt School of Nursing

As the country honors nurses during National Nurses Week, on Monday TTUHSC El Paso officials announced a $650,000 grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust that will establish the first endowment for the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing.

Just as we study how a students GPA and scores on exams can predict risk for failure, we must also study socioeconomic factors that impact a students success,” said Stephanie Woods, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the Hunt School of Nursing at TTUHSC El Paso. We know that unmet financial need is high for our students. We also know that when students work during our rigorous program their risk for academic failure increases. The Helene Fuld endowment allows us to extend students a financial lifeline. This endowment secures the future of scholarships for nursing. The Fuld endowment becomes the cornerstone to creating a safety net for our students to ensure they enter the workforce where they are critically needed. 

Funds from the grant will be used to support scholarships for students enrolled in the Hunt School of Nursings Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program.

The $650,000 grant is highly competitive amongst nursing schools across the U.S. The Hunt School of Nursing offers the only accelerated B.S.N. program in the Paso del Norte region and is the only recipient in the region to have ever received a grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust.

The grant includes $520,000 to establish the first scholarship endowment for students in the accelerated program and $35,000 in current use funds to support students with immediate financial needs.

A majority of students rely on financial aid to complete nursing school, including Rachel Silver, a Hunt School of Nursing student in the Accelerated B.S.N. program, who received several scholarships throughout the program as well as an emergency grant at one point to help her stay on track toward graduating in May 2020.

“It would have been much more difficult for me to continue my studies without the funding because I would have had to find a job just to make ends meet,” Silver said. Thanks to scholarships and grants, I am on track to graduate this May. I hope to make a difference as a nurse by bringing a little bit of light in someone’s day, just a small impact that can make them feel better and give hope when needed.”

The state of Texas is projected to face a shortfall of nearly 16,000 registered nurses by 2030, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

An aging baby boomer population, increasing rates of health issues such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes, as well as the recent COVID-19 pandemic are some of the major drivers of the nationwide demand for nursing professionals.

The Helene Fuld Health Trust is the largest charitable trust in the nation devoted exclusively to supporting student nurses and nursing education. The trust was established in 1951 and awards grants to leading nursing schools and other organizations with innovative programs that develop and expand professional and leadership skills of nursing students, faculty and administration.

Child Psychiatry Access Network Hotline created for Primary Care Providers

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s psychiatry department is launching a telephone hotline May 18 as part of the newly created Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN).

Primary care providers will be able to call the CPAN hotline to get advice about child and adolescent patients with psychiatric symptoms.

Primary care providers, including pediatricians, family medicine physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, can call the hotline with questions about diagnosis, therapy, medication and referrals to other sources. The hotline will be staffed by TTUHSC El Paso psychiatry department faculty members and staff.

CPAN is a statewide program that is one component of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium (TCMHCC) created by Texas Senate Bill 11 and signed into law in June 2019.

TTUHSC El Paso was chosen as the West Texas hub and is receiving a little over $2 million to implement CPAN in an area along the Texas-Mexico border from El Paso to Eagle Pass. The hotline will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Sarah Martin, M.D., assistant professor and chief of TTUHSC El Paso’s Child and Adolescent Division, said the hotline will decrease the amount of time it takes for young patients to receive mental health assistance. It offers a big improvement over the traditional specialist referral process, where a patient may wait weeks, if not months, for an appointment with a psychiatrist.

Through this hotline, children can be treated at the onset of their problems, instead of spending months on a waiting list as their illness becomes more severe,” said Dr. Martin, who is a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, TTUHSC El Paso’s clinical practice.

In the CPAN, TTUHSC El Paso is responsible for a 16-county area that goes east all the way to Winkler, Ward and Crockett Counties and south until all the way to Maverick County in the Eagle Pass area. The vast geographic area includes approximately 200,000 children between the ages of 5 and 18.

“We lobbied to get this area as we wanted to continue the TTUHSC El Paso mission of serving the border community,” Dr. Martin said. “There are very few child and adolescent psychiatrists in the counties in our region, so this program will be the best way to reach those children that do not even have one child and adolescent psychiatrist in their county.”

The one-two punch of the Aug. 3 tragedy followed by the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to strain on the mental health of children and adolescents.

“Whenever there are tragedies in a population, rates of trauma related mental health problems increase,” Dr. Martin said. “The recovery of our community in relation to the August 3 shooting will likely have two phases- acute phase where the fear of another shooting is intense- this is a phase where many people seek short periods of therapy services.  The second phase is delayed and longer lasting. In studies done in other communities that have had tragedies, the effects peak as late as three years after the incident.

“These delayed and long-lasting symptoms are the ones that require significant mental health treatment,” Dr. Martin continued. “The COVID 19 pandemic has also caused fear in our community, but the social isolation and unemployment that are effects of the stay at home orders and social distancing will also likely put stress on our community and may increase the incidence of mental health problems.  Seeing as there was already a shortage of mental health professionals before these two events, makes it more important than ever to improve access to mental health treatment.”

Dr. Martin is co-chair of the Texas CPAN working group, which is implementing the program state-wide. Dr. Martin also is director of TTUHSC El Paso’s Senate Bill 11 projects.

Primary care providers are invited to participate in CPAN by completing the Texas CPAN Practice Participation Agreement.

TTUHSC El Paso announces Virtual Commencement Ceremonies for Medical, Nursing and Graduate Schools

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of traditional commencement ceremonies for universities across the nation and at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

Although social distancing guidelines are in place, TTUHSC El Paso already has plans in the works to host virtual ceremonies to honor graduates from the Foster School of Medicine, Hunt School of Nursing and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

The virtual ceremonies will follow traditional ceremony programs, with remarks from Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., president of TTUHSC El Paso and dean of the Foster School of Medicine, each of the deans for the Hunt School of Nursing and Graduate School, and a class representative, as well as the conferral of degrees.

As each name is read, a photo of each graduate will be shown on screen. Students also had an opportunity to submit photos throughout their journey to be included in a slideshow that will play during the virtual ceremony.

“While I recognize that a virtual ceremony cannot replace a traditional ceremony, I have worked closely with leadership across our campus to ensure that graduates are still given a moment that honors the hard work and achievements that have come from their time at TTUHSC El Paso and serving our community,” said Dr. Lange.

Graduates from the class of 2020, their friends, family members and loved ones are invited to gather via Facebook Live and recognize the many accomplishments of these students.

Students were invited to participate in the planning of virtual commencement and they emphasized keeping the formality of the ceremony but personalizing the program to remember their experiences.

The livestream can be accessed on TTUHSC El Paso’s Facebook page. Viewers will be able to comment and engage with one another during the live broadcast.

“As always, my main priority is the health and well-being of our entire TTUHSC El Paso community. Once we can safely gather to celebrate again, graduates from the class of 2020 are welcome to join our next series of physical commencement ceremonies,” said Dr. Lange.

Loved ones who wish to send a special message to their graduates, and students who wish to share their favorite memories from their time at TTUHSC El Paso, can send short video clips to the Office of Institutional Advancement at by Monday, May 11.

The video clips will be used to create a montage, which will be posted on the university’s social media channels.

Each school’s ceremony will still be held at its previously scheduled date and time; and can be seen via Facebook Live

  • Hunt School of Nursing  |  10 a.m. Saturday, May 9
  • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences  |  2 p.m. Saturday, May 9
  • Foster School of Medicine  |  6 p.m. Friday, May 22

Following each ceremony, the broadcasts will be made available for all to view and revisit on the university’s Facebook page.

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.

UTEP, TTUHSC El Paso Increase Opportunities for Collaborative Research, Education

On Monday, University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso officials renewed their commitment to work collaboratively and expand opportunities for biomedical and health science research between both institutions. 

UTEP President Heather Wilson and TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., recently signed an agreement in which research-oriented faculty at both universities will engage in joint research projects that involve neuroscience, drug therapies, cancer prevention, and health disparities to advance health-related research, education and health care practices in the Paso del Norte region.

To facilitate these projects, each institution has taken steps to streamline their institutional review board (IRB) process, which reviews research proposals and provides oversight of research studies involving human subjects. 

“Our faculty identified some barriers to working together and showed us how to fix them,” UTEP President Heather Wilson said. “Rick Lange and I each believe UTEP and TTUHSC El Paso should be close partners in research and teaching. This is a good step toward deepening our partnership.”

“TTUHSC El Paso and UTEP share a mission of eliminating health care disparities in the Paso del Norte region while researching treatments for diseases that affect our border population,” said TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange. “Collaborative research helps open the door for discoveries that will benefit the health of our community, and we look forward to a strong partnership between our universities.”

UTEP and TTUHSC El Paso each will appoint a faculty or staff member to serve on the IRB of the other institution. Following guidelines implemented by The University of Texas System, one institution’s IRB can serve as the IRB of record. IRB administrators will meet regularly to share information and address and solve problems. They also will participate in preparatory sessions to determine which institution’s IRB will be used for each research project.

Both universities plan to conduct joint educational campaigns to raise awareness among faculty and researchers on how to collaborate and secure IRB review on joint projects.

TTU System Chancellor to Honor TTUHSC El Paso Associate Professor With Distinguished Teaching Award

Texas Tech University System Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., will present the annual Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching Award to Thwe Htay, M.D., an associate professor in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

“I am very grateful to be a recipient of the Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching Award,” Dr. Htay said. “This award is a great honor. It raised me to another level with being included in a very distinguished group of educators. This moment is the highlight of my career as a physician and educator. It also motivates me to do better for our learners and also for the institution.”

The awards are made possible through philanthropic gifts to the Chancellor’s Council. Award recipients each receive a $5,000 stipend and an engraved medallion.

Dr. Htay has taught medical students and internal medicine residents at TTUHSC El Paso for four years. Prior to arriving at TTUHSC El Paso, Dr. Htay was a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where she taught medical students and residents, and mentored junior faculty for 10 years.

She also served as a clinical faculty member of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Odessa in the early 2000s.

“I’ve learned so much practicing medicine in the last two decades,” Dr. Htay said. “I have a motivation to share those experiences with the future generation of physicians and medical students. Some of those experiences cannot be fully described in textbooks or medical journals. All patients I have seen over the past two decades taught me many lessons to be passed along to our students.

“After all those years, teaching became my passion,” Dr. Htay said. “It is a very stimulating experience. I love the school environment because it is very intellectual, diverse and motivating. I love working with medical students because they are energetic and full of endless possibilities. They are our future. They will be saving thousands of lives in the years to come, where I could only save a few.”

Dr. Htay stays clinically active by seeing patients at the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso internal medicine outpatient clinic with residents. She also serves as director of the clinical skills course for first- and second-year medical students.

As clinical skills course director, she is responsible for curriculum design, course development, grading, and training standardized patients and faculty. Dr. Htay also provides mentoring and career counseling to students and residents.

The Chancellor’s Council is a giving society that supports Chancellor Mitchell’s priorities of impacting student lives through scholarships, recognizing faculty achievement, and encouraging excellence across the TTU System and its four component institutions: Texas Tech UniversityTexas Tech University Health Sciences CenterAngelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

More on Dr. Htay

Medical School: Institute of Medicine 1, Yangon, Myanmar – 1994

Residency: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Odessa Internal Medicine Residency Program – 2000

American Board of Medical Specialties: American Board of Internal Medicine

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.

Gift by El Pasoans Ed and Margie Escudero to support Hunt School of Nursing Scholarships

During a special event on campus earlier this month, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso announced a gift from El Pasoans Ed and Margie Escudero in support of scholarships for students of the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing.

The Escuderos have strong ties to the Texas Tech University System and the El Paso community. Margie Escudero is a proud graduate of the TTUHSC School of Nursing in Lubbock and a member of the President’s Development Council for TTUHSC El Paso.

Ed Escudero is the president and CEO of High Desert Capital LLC. He and his wife Margie raised their two children in El Paso.

The gift announcement event was held during new-student orientation for the Hunt School of Nursing.

“Ed and I are very excited to be able to give back,” Margie said, speaking to the gathering of students taking the first steps of their nursing careers. “I grew up in El Paso, I went to the TTUHSC School of Nursing, and I love being a nurse.”

Margie started her career as a critical care nurse and also worked as a school nurse for the El Paso Independent School District.

“Nursing for me was so fulfilling, and I am so happy to see that you have chosen this career,” Margie said, addressing the incoming students. “What you are going to experience will be amazing.”

Margie thanked her husband for supporting her love of nursing and her love for the Texas Tech community.

Speaking to the students, Ed shared his and Margie’s background as first-generation U.S. citizens and first-generation high school and college graduates.

“I will tell you that this is the game changer for us — education,” Ed said. “I promise you in the future that you will be here giving the donations, and you’ll be able to give back to your community — but it starts with an amazing education.”

Hunt School of Nursing Dean Stephanie Woods, Ph.D., R.N., thanked the Escuderos for their support. She said the school’s nursing students’ success would not be possible without support from community leaders like the Escuderos.

“Scholarships mean everything. It is one thing to be academically qualified to get into the nursing program, but it is another thing to have the financial resources to finish the program,” Dr. Woods said.

Author:  – TTUHSC El Paso

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 invites El Pasoans to annual Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer Event

To kick off the holiday season, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s fifth annual Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer celebration will offer free treats, a light show and health care information for families.

All activities will be free, including parking in campus lots, thanks to a sponsorship by El Paso Electric.

This year, 93.1 KISS FM radio hosts Mike Martinez and Tricia Martinez of the “Mike and Tricia Mornings” show will emcee the event.

For the first time, this year’s festivities will include a mascot dance-off featuring a few local favorites, including the U.S. Border Patrol’s Agent F.I.N.O., El Paso Electric’s Power Pack, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Blue Bear, Peter Piper Pizza’s Rocky and GECU’s Dru Blue.

The light show is presented by the same team previously behind the famous Fred Loya holiday light show. Shortly after, TTUHSC El Paso’s seasonal campus lights will be turned on for the first time.

Attendees can visit our selfie station throughout the evening and post their festive photos using the hashtag #ttuhscep.

Special guests will include Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, Belle and the Snowflake Princesses. Photo booths will provide free photos with Santa Claus and other special guests.

In addition to a performance from special holiday guests, the Jefferson High School Silver Fox marching band will take the stage.

TTUHSC El Paso’s student organizations will offer blood pressure screenings and representatives from the Texas Medicaid Waiver program will provide free cancer screening vouchers and vaccine vouchers for those who qualify.

Cookies, hot cocoa and other treats will be provided by Crave Catering, and the first 250 guests will receive reusable TTUHSC El Paso totes.

When: 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Light show will begin at approximately 7 p.m.

Where: TTUHSC El Paso campus, Medical Education Building (MEB) lawn, 5001 El Paso Drive

WestStar announced as Decade Scholarship Sponsor for Foster School of Medicine’s 10-Year Anniversary Celebration

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and WestStar announced Wednesday their $25,000 scholarship contribution for recruiting local students back to El Paso or who are from the area and want to pursue a degree at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

The local bank is contributing the amount to the Decade Scholarship as a major sponsor of TTUHSC El Paso’s “Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion” celebration on Friday, Feb. 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 WestStar, the Foster School of Medicine is educating the future of health care and has graduated 422 students to date.

“Supporting educational opportunities at the Paul L. Foster School of Medline provides medical students a path to success that will impact future generations,” said WestStar Chairman and CEO Rick Francis.

WestStar joins Peter Piper Pizza and GECU as premiere sponsors of the February celebration.

WestStar is a Borderplex bank that is not only an active economic driver serving our Paso del Norte region but is deeply committed to community involvement. WestStar’s officers serve on over 75 boards and committees and team members contribute over 3,000 volunteer hours in numerous and varied community development efforts and philanthropic causes.

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.

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.


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