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Home | Tag Archives: TTUHSC El Paso

Tag Archives: 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

On the Fast Track: 19-Year-Old is the Foster School of Medicine’s Youngest Student

Lokesh Nagineni describes himself as someone who never backs down from a challenge.

From becoming a top spelling bee participant in the U.S. to earning a black belt in taekwondo and teaching the martial art, Nagineni’s determination to succeed is evident.

Now, he is tackling his biggest challenge yet – pursuing a medical degree as a member of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s class of 2023. And he’s doing it at 19 years old – the youngest student to matriculate at the Foster School of Medicine in its 10-year history.

He graduated from UT Dallas in December 2018 with a bachelor of science degree in biology.

Nagineni was selected as a Foster Scholar and awarded a prestigious Foster Scholarship that helps pay student tuition costs. El Paso businessman Paul L. Foster’s 2007 gift of $50 million to help create the school of medicine also funded the Foster Scholars program.

“I was actually very intrigued because this is a fairly new school,” Nagineni said, explaining one of the qualities that drew him to the Foster School of Medicine. “It stands at a very unique place because it’s not just on the Mexico border, it’s on multiple borders.”

Nagineni was born in Irving, Texas and grew up in Flower Mound, a suburb of Dallas. He spent his summers in southern India with his grandparents in an area with a climate similar to El Paso’s.

Early on, Nagineni took a natural inclination to learning when he discovered spelling bees.

“I was 6 years old and I said, ‘Hey dad, this looks cool.’ And he said, ‘All right, go for it,'” Nagineni said of his first spelling bee. “I got knocked out in the second round. I don’t even remember what word I missed, but I remember it was a lot of fun.”

Undeterred, he kept studying; his natural curiosity drove him to uncover the origin of words.

“I remember looking at some of these words and thinking, ‘No way that’s part of the English language,'” he said. “And it turns out, I was right. They were taken from other languages. I loved looking at language patterns and seeing how they ended up transforming over the years. Latin and Greek form the basis of a lot of English, and they form the basis of jargon that people use in different professional fields.”

His love for words led him to the semifinals of the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in front of a televised audience on ESPN. His TV appearance was only 30 seconds or so, but it was enough for his friends and classmates in middle school to capture videos of themselves watching and cheering for him.

Nagineni became interested in becoming a doctor around age 8, after his grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and became bedridden.

“I didn’t really like the hospital, and we went for that entire summer,” he said. “The doctors said they really couldn’t do anything for her at a certain point.”

Knowing the doctors couldn’t help her, he reached out to his maternal grandfather – a physician – to help him understand a profession that can lead to such heartbreaking moments.

Nagineni asked his grandfather, “If you have limitations, then why is this your job? What makes it worth it?”

His grandfather, a rural physician, took Nagineni to his clinic.

“I spent a lot of time there, and it was a completely different atmosphere,” Nagineni recalled. “I saw medicine from the provider side. The focus was more on what we can do to make a patient’s quality of life the best it can be, whether that be eradicating their illness, treating just the symptoms or delivering palliative care. There’s an entire range of care and treatment in medicine.”

Nagineni said his grandfather was supportive of his dream of becoming a physician, but made sure he understood the reality of the day-to-day life of a doctor.

“He said, ‘That’s great, but you know there’s a very long path and you have to keep working hard? There’ll be days that nobody might need your help, and there’ll be days where everybody might need your help. There will be times you’ll be exhausted after a full day, and you’ll be woken up in the middle of the night to go and treat somebody. So, will you really stick with it?'”

Nagineni explored the idea even more because that’s the kind of curious kid he was.

“I just kept on going back with him to visit the clinic, kept on asking questions. I bugged the nurses so much I’m sure they must have been tired of me,” Nagineni said. “I talked to everybody I could in health care  and came to the conclusion that as long as you really like your work and the spirit of the profession, you could do it for the rest of your life.”

Now at age 19, he’s taking the first step toward the life of a physician that he first considered as a profession about 10 years ago—right around the time the Foster School of Medicine admitted its first class.

“Nagineni is the type of student that the team from the Foster School of Medicine works to recruit. Someone who has a passion to serve others, determined to pursue a career in medicine and is attracted to our diverse community. Nagineni is the future of health care,” school officials added.

TTUHSC El Paso hosts annual Red Raider Reels

Residents are once again invited to attend Red Raider Reels, a free movie series hosted by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

Red Raider Reels will kick off at sundown Friday, September 20, with a screening of “Toy Story 4.” The movie screenings will continue every Friday evening until the final showing on October 4.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets, picnic chairs, snacks and drinks.

Glass containers, alcohol and pets are prohibited. Parking is available at the lot east of the lawn.

For more information, call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 915-215-4850.

What: Free outdoor movie series (see schedule below for details)

When: Fridays at sundown, Sept. 20 – Oct. 4

Where: 5001 El Paso Drive (lawn between the Medical Education and Medical Sciences Buildings)


2019 Red Raider Reels Schedule

Friday, Sept. 20

“Toy Story 4”

Friday, Sept. 27

“The Secret Life of Pets”

Friday, Oct. 4

“Men in Black: International”

TTUHSC El Paso welcomes students back; 1st sponsor of Foster School of Medicine 10-Year Celebration announced

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso celebrated the start of the new school year with a Welcome Back Lunch for faculty, students and staff.

Students from the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences began classes on Monday. Students from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine returned to classes earlier this summer.

Along with the celebration of a new school year, the Welcome Back Lunch kicked off the 10-year anniversary of the Foster School of Medicine, which opened its doors to an inaugural class of 40 students in 2009.

The Foster School of Medicine has produced more than 400 graduates to date.

The 10-year anniversary’s official celebration, a “Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion,” will be held on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.  All event proceeds will go toward medical student scholarships.

“The Foster School of Medicine recruits students from El Paso and across West Texas, with a mission of improving access to quality health care in the Borderland,” school officials shared. “These scholarships will assist both students from El Paso and students who have returned to the Sun City to attend the Foster School of Medicine after completing their undergraduate studies elsewhere.”

One of the first major sponsors of the “Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion,” Electronic Caregiver, was announced at the Welcome Back Lunch. The company has pledged $10,000 for medical student scholarships.

Las Cruces-based Electronic Caregiver, which employs more than 100 people, is one of the fastest-growing health and safety monitoring tech companies in the country.

“We want to try to contribute the best that we can to provide medical school scholarships and set an example for local companies,” said Electronic Caregiver CEO Anthony Dohrmann. “We’re happy to be supporting the programs that support these students, the local economy, and most importantly, health care.”

Along with Electronic Caregiver’s celebration sponsorship, TTUHSC El Paso also announced that several El Paso-area restaurants are joining in on the 10-year anniversary celebration by offering discounts to TTUHSC El Paso students and employees who show a valid identification badge.

Participating restaurants and their discount promotions include:

  • Pan y Agua Group restaurants Crave, Hillside Coffee & Donut Co., Cantina Malolam, El Cuartito, Electric Cactus and Independent Burger: 10% off, excluding alcohol, from Aug. 28 to Sept. 28 and Jan. 28 to Feb. 28.
  • L&J Cafe: 15% off, excluding alcohol, from Aug. 28 to Feb. 28.
  • Salt + Honey Bakery Cafe: 15% off, excluding alcohol, from Aug. 28 to Feb. 28.
  • Rulis’ International Kitchen: “Tech Tuesdays”—every Tuesday from Aug. 28 to Feb. 28, 10% of proceeds will be donated to Foster School of Medicine scholarships.
  • J&K Present at Lost &Found: Lost & Found will host a happy hour event on Oct. 24, with 10 percent of the proceeds going toward Foster School of Medicine scholarships.
  • Ita Kitchen: During the Lost & Found happy hour event on Oct. 24, 10% of proceeds will go to Foster School of Medicine scholarships.
  • Electric Cactus: Happy hour fundraising event, TBD, with 10% of proceeds going toward Foster School of Medicine scholarships.

For ticket and sponsorship information on the “Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion” celebration, click here.

Alumni of the Foster School of Medicine can share memories and experiences during their time as medical students on the 10-year anniversary’s website.

TTP El Paso Mental Health Professionals offer tips,resources for overcoming emotional trauma after mass shooting

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso mental health professionals, who help patients recover from emotional trauma, are sharing tips and urging community members to seek help in the wake of the August 3rd Walmart shooting.

“Whether directly or indirectly affected by the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart on August 3, some residents of our community may experience significant emotional issues,” TTP El Paso officials shared via an email.

Post-traumatic symptoms can affect victims and their loved ones, first responders, medical personnel, criminal investigators and others involved in traumatic incidents.

“People are going to know people who were in the store or know someone who was affected. There were a lot of folks who were witnesses, like first responders, even members of the media, and members of our TTUHSC El Paso and TTP El Paso community who treated the wounded,” said Melanie Longhurst, Ph.D., M.Ed., a TTUHSC El Paso assistant professor and clinical psychologist who works with veterans with PTSD in the El Paso Veterans Affairs health care system.

Resulting mental health disorders can include acute stress disorder (ASD), which occurs immediately after a traumatic incident, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is a long-term condition.

Affected individuals may experience a myriad of emotional and physical symptoms, including:

  • Depression, anxiety, anger and fear.
  • Nightmares.
  • Intrusive thoughts.
  • Flashbacks.
  • Negative thoughts about the future.
  • Poor appetite or overeating.
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Social isolation.
  • Avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event.

Moataz M. Ragheb, M.D., Ph.D., a TTUHSC El Paso associate professor and practicing psychiatrist with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, said most people will recover with gradual resolution of symptoms over the following days, weeks, and sometimes months.

Only a minority will go on to develop long-term psychiatric conditions such as PTSD, he said.

With recovery being the rule rather than the exception, Dr. Ragheb and Dr. Longhurst said there are tools that can help people cope with trauma, including social and psychological interventions and medications, if necessary.

“You do not have  to suffer in silence until recovery is achieved,” Dr. Longhurst said.

Dr. Ragheb and Dr. Longhurst said another important tool is practicing self-care. There are things a person can do—and others things to avoid—to achieve recovery:

  • Refrain from using alcohol as a coping tool.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Stick to a nutritious diet and get regular exercise—even a brisk walk is helpful.
  • Minimize exposure to non-stop media coverage of the tragedy. Put down your phone or tablet—there is no need to constantly check social media for updates; it will just make you feel more stressed.
  • Practice relaxation exercises, mindfulness, meditation and/or yoga.
  • Do not suppress normal emotions.
  • Be aware of your brain’s patterns of response to the trauma. Don’t let negative thoughts take you into darker places. Pause, ponder and examine your train of thought. Challenge painful—often illogical—assumptions and conclusions. You are more resilient than you probably think.
  • There is no shame in reaching out for help.
  • This is not a one-size-fits-all list of recommendations; self-care will be different for different people.

As a community, we can help each other by checking in on friends and family and be there to listen to their concerns and worries. This is a time for both grieving and healing, and it works better together, Dr. Longhurst said.

As individuals, we should make an effort to reach out to our social networks of friends and family and stay connected.

“As the dust settles and acute stress starts to wind down, individuals will notice whether or not they will be exhibiting ongoing stress,” Dr. Longhurst said. “Is it impacting their day-to-day functioning? Are they struggling at work, struggling to get things done at home? Those are indicators to seek ongoing help.”

Those who feel they need counseling, guidance or simply want to talk to someone, can contact the organizations listed below for free, confidential consultation services.

  • Emergence Health Network’s 24-hour Crisis Line at 915-779-1800.
  • MetLife Grief Counseling Service at 1-866-885-6540.
  • Magellan Health Counseling Services at 1-800-327-7451.

TTUHSC El Paso kicks off new school year, 10-Year Anniversary of Foster School of Medicine

As a new school year begins, officials with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso announced a Welcome Back Lunch for faculty, students and staff and events for the school’s 10th anniversary.

Along with the celebration of a new school year, the Welcome Back Lunch will also kick off the 10-year anniversary of the Foster School of Medicine, which opened its doors to an inaugural class of 40 students in 2009.

The luncheon’s first 400 attendees will receive commemorative 10-year anniversary T-shirts.

The 10-year anniversary’s official celebration, a “Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion,” will be held on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.  All event proceeds will support scholarships awarded to medical students attending the Foster School of Medicine.

A major sponsor for the celebration will be announced at the Welcome Back Lunch, along with the announcement of TTUHSC El Paso community partners and store and restaurant discount locations for TTUHSC El Paso students and employees.

For ticket and sponsorship information on the “Red Tie Affair For A White Coat Occasion” celebration, visit this website.

Alumni of the Foster School of Medicine can now share memories and experiences during their time as medical students on the 10-year anniversary’s website.

Students from the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will begin classes on Monday, August 26.

Students from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine returned to classes earlier this summer.

What: TTUHSC El Paso Welcome Back Lunch

When: Noon Wednesday, Aug. 28

Where: TTUHSC El Paso Lawn, 5001 El Paso Drive

TTUHSC El Paso Researcher’s Gene Therapy Technology wins 2019 TechConnect Innovation Award

An improved method of gene therapy developed by TTUHSC El Paso Associate Professor Huanyu Dou, M.D., has been selected for a 2019 TechConnect Innovation Award.

Dr. Dou, a researcher in the Department of Molecular and Translational Medicine’s Center of Emphasis in Infectious Diseases, received the award at the annual TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo, held in Boston June 17-19.

She is the first TTUHSC El Paso faculty member to win the award at the World Innovation Conference.

Two other TTUHSC El Paso faculty have won Innovation awards in the past two years at the Defense TechConnect Summit: Robert Stump, M.D., Ph.D., and Mingtao Zeng, Ph.D.

TechConnect brings together the creators of breakthrough innovations with companies and government agencies looking to commercialize, adopt or invest in those technologies. The National Innovation Awards identify and recognize the top 15% of submitted technologies as ranked by the TechConnect Corporate and Investment Partner Committee.

Thousands of innovations are submitted from global academic technology transfer offices, early-stage companies, small business innovative research awardees, and government and corporate research laboratories.

Dr. Dou’s research focuses on targeted gene therapy, a field that holds great promise for treatment of inherited genetic diseases and disorders, as well as cancers caused by random genetic mutations or environmental exposure.

Her award-winning invention is a blend of biodegradable nanoscale polymers that is used to deliver genetic material to cells. Researchers have investigated these kinds of gene-delivery “nanocomplexes” for years, but have struggled to find a mix that effectively delivers genes without being too toxic for the targeted cells or the delivered genetic material itself.

Dr. Dou said she has developed a unique polymer formula that hits the sweet spot: Her “tunable nanocomplex,” as she calls it, has been proven to carry genes to targeted cells, with very low levels of cell toxicity.

David E. Snow, Ph.D., CLP, patent agent and senior managing director of the Office of Research Commercialization at the Texas Tech University System, said Dr. Dou’s innovation is expected to catch the attention of life-sciences and pharmaceutical companies seeking new ways to treat a wide array of genetic disorders and diseases.

“You’re talking about potentially having a completely new mechanism for therapeutics—all kinds of therapeutics—not just one,” Snow said.

He said the next step for the patent-pending technology is to have a large community of researchers test it, each trying a separate application, such as cancer drug therapy or other drugs used for diseases and illnesses.

“Any one of those that takes off begins to validate the technology and its creation,” Snow said.

Snow said Dr. Dou’s award helps put TTUHSC El Paso on the map for life-sciences companies interested in new and emerging medical innovations and technologies.

Author:  – TTUHSC El Paso

Helen of Troy CEO shares success stories with TTUHSC El Paso Students, Young Professionals

Julien Mininberg, CEO of Helen of Troy, a leading global consumer products company with U.S. headquarters in El Paso, spoke to members of the community at TTUHSC El Paso and shared insights about Helen of Troy, his extensive global business career, and life lessons that have made a difference along the way.

Mininberg was joined by his wife, Dr. Emeshe Juhasz-Mininberg, who fielded some questions along with her husband following the presentation.

One of the life lessons the Mininbergs discussed was to make sure to get out of your comfort zone.

“When you get out of your comfort zone, you end up growing much faster and more meaningfully,” said Mininberg, who has been CEO of Helen of Troy since 2014.

Mininberg also encouraged the audience to visualize a bold, bright future for themselves, resisting the natural tendency toward incrementalism.

“I am motivated by discovering, learning and envisioning a very bold future,” Mininberg said. “I’m encouraging you to do the same. Not out of arrogance, not out of over-ambitiousness, but out of the concept that the sky’s the limit once you set your mind to something. And if you think that is of interest to you, pursue it. Who knows what path it’ll take you?”

Guests included TTUHSC El Paso nursing, medical and biomedical students, Helen of Troy employees and interns, and members of Progress321, a nonprofit organization that aims to make the Paso del Norte region the next “best place to live and work.”

TTUHSC El Paso’s conservation efforts yield double-digit energy reduction

With a growing campus, energy consumption at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso could easily eat up a larger and larger portion of the university’s budget.

However, efforts by the team in TTUHSC El Paso’s Physical Plant and Support Services have led to a 14.6% reduction in energy use during the past three years, despite the campus’ square footage growing by 11.5%.

The energy savings have been part of a long-term effort to improve equipment and gain more control of cooling and heating in university buildings, said Leopoldo Pereyra, managing director of Physical Plant and Support Services.

The effort began back in 2010, as the university slowly began to fill buildings that had not been at capacity.

“We identified some issues in how the energy was managed,” Pereyra said. “There were several infrastructure upgrades that needed to be done to prepare the university for the future. We needed updates on the controls and mechanical systems. Because energy costs are a significant amount of the university’s budget, that’s where we need to concentrate if we want to find savings.”

The upgrades began paying off in 2015, Pereyra said, with annual energy savings of about 6%. Those savings have continued to be put back into upgrades to gain further energy consumption reductions.

One ongoing upgrade effort that can be seen around campus is the upgrade to LED lighting, which consumes less energy.

“We’ve already upgraded all main hallways of the Medical Education Building, numerous areas in the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso clinics, the Academic Education Center and the Medical Sciences Building I,” Pereyra said. “And just recently, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing invested their own funding into upgrading the lighting of their building. So that building is top of the line in mechanical equipment and lighting fixtures. We are in excellent shape for the future, especially with the conservation culture we have developed at TTUHSC El Paso.”

“TTUHSC El Paso employees play a big role in helping the university consume less energy and help empower the campus community to be good stewards of private and public funding,” Pereyra added.

“One very important thing is to turn off the lights,” Pereyra said. “Once they leave their offices, turn off everything that is drawing electrical current: the computers, the lights. That’s a big help. The campus can help us obtain our goals. It may seem like a small thing, but if you have staff and students doing the same thing, it can add up to big savings.”

The energy use reductions helped the university save more than $500,000 from 2015 to 2018.

TTUHSC El Paso Professor Named Editor-In-Chief of Journal of Investigative Medicine

Richard W. McCallum, M.D., FACP, FRACP (AUST), FACG, AGAF, professor and founding chair of the department of internal medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), has been appointed editor-in-chief of the Journal of Investigative Medicine (JIM), the official publication of the American Federation for Medical Research, in collaboration with the British Medical Journal.

Dr. McCallum is also an honorary professor at the University of Queensland Medical School in Brisbane, Australia.

Dr. McCallum, a gastroenterology specialist who currently directs the Center for Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility, enters this prestigious position with years of editorial experience with numerous medical research journals. He is currently the editor-in-chief of Gastrointestinal Disorders, an online medical journal based in Basel, Switzerland.

The Journal of Investigative Medicine covers all topics and specialty areas related to laboratory, translational and clinical biomedical research.

“The journal is the kind of publication that all junior faculty aspire to publish in,” Dr. McCallum said. “I am mentoring my young faculty to submit their abstracts and go to the appropriate medical meetings and conferences with one of the goals being to–hopefully–publish in this journal.”

As editor-in-chief, Dr. McCallum plans to implement some new ideas for the publication.

“One of my goals for the journal is to be more personable and hands-on while continuing to produce quality articles and improve impact factor,” he said. Dr. McCallum also wants to use his role to assist faculty with mentoring, career development and academic advancement.

Dr. McCallum said another plus for the university is the association with the American Federation for Medical Research. The federation is an international, multidisciplinary association of scientists with a history that reaches back to 1940.

TTUHSC El Paso is “at the national level now,” Dr. McCallum said. “We’re competing with more established medical schools around the nation, and being associated with this journal is an incentive for our university to aspire to achieve higher standards and maintain national recognition.”

TTUHSC El Paso Professor Recognized by the National Board of Medical Examiners

Herbert F. Janssen, Ph.D., M.Ed, professor of physiology in medical education and interim associate dean for student affairs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, has been nominated by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) to serve on the United States Medical Licensing Examination Test Material Development Committee.

In addition to his nomination for the committee, Dr. Janssen has also been appointed to the physiology and cell biology subject test committee.

In this position, Dr. Janssen will work with individuals around the nation to write and review examination questions for medical licensure exams.

“Each test question passes through the hands of many individuals before it is finally included as a viable test item on an actual examination,” Dr. Janssen said. “Care is taken to ensure that each question, not only addresses pertinent information, but is also fair and free of bias.”

Even after potential exam questions are deemed acceptable by the NBME staff, they are still put through various comparisons before being approved for licensure exams.

With this position, Dr. Janssen will have the unique opportunity to represent TTUHSC El Paso while gaining valuable insight into the procedures used to ensure that all medical students nationwide achieve necessary standards of excellence.

“I look forward to this experience, as I am certain I will learn a tremendous amount from the National Board of Medical Examiner’s staff and other professionals involved in the test development process,” Dr. Janssen said.

TTUHSC El Paso Professor Emeritus receives inaugural APSA Surgical Humanitarian Award

Donald Meier, M.D., professor emeritus at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), has been awarded the first American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) Surgical Humanitarian Award.

“I saw the great need in El Paso,” Dr. Meier said. “As I toured the city, I saw it was truly an unserved pediatric surgical area. I went back to my wife and told her, ‘I think God is calling us to El Paso.’”

The award, meant for surgeons who have dedicated a significant portion of their careers to humanitarian efforts, was given to Dr. Meier in recognition of his 17 years of missionary surgery work in Nigeria, followed by his years serving underserved populations in El Paso, Juárez and other areas of the world.

Dr. Meier came to El Paso in 2003 at a time when there was no pediatric surgeon in the city, he said. For almost three years, he was the only pediatric surgeon on call in the West Texas area.

Dr. Meier became a full-time professor in TTUHSC El Paso’s department of surgery in 2005 and became a professor emeritus in 2015 with plans to continue his international humanitarian work. However, his humanitarian work unfortunately came to a stop after he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage shortly after a humanitarian trip to Cameroon in 2016.

Dr. Meier said his focus while practicing humanitarian surgeries was always on educating surgeons around the world. He has completed short-term teaching trips to areas of surgical need, such as Kosovo, Albania, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mongolia, among others. He is an honorary professor of pediatric surgery at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“My emphasis has always been on not only practicing high-quality surgery, but teaching high-quality surgery,” he said.

Tamara Fitzgerald, M.D., Ph.D., and Doruk Ozgediz, M.D., M.Sc., wrote an introduction about Dr. Meier for the award ceremony in Boston, Mass. They wrote, “Dr. Meier remains an icon in global surgery and pediatric surgery. He is a man of faith and has been a role model and mentor for generations of doctors and surgeons.”

Donald Meier, M.D. (left), speaks with a medical resident (right) and patients in a hospital in Ethiopia in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Donald Meier)

Their introduction goes on to say, “He exemplifies the highest ideals of humanitarianism to which we all strive: love for humanity, passion for service, empathy and a drive to alleviate the suffering for those in greatest need, and a lifelong commitment to tackle local and global inequities. His expertise, integrity and unwavering focus on the needs of clinicians and communities in low-income settings are a true inspiration. He has lobbied, cajoled and catalyzed interest in voluntarism globally – and he has done it with a witty sense of humor and zest for life. He is the rare surgeon whose career has established sustainable institutions both at home and abroad to reduce health disparities.”

Dr. Meier currently lives in Dallas with his wife of 50 years, Patsy. Patsy Meier worked as an operating room nurse with Dr. Meier during their years in Nigeria.

New services offered by Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso ease surgery for breast cancer patients

Officials at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso announced on Tuesday that Karinn Chambers, M.D., assistant professor at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s department of surgery, is now certified in Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery.

Dr. Chambers is a surgeon at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso and medical director of the TTP El Paso Breast Care Center.

With the Hidden Scar approach to surgery, certified physicians use different techniques to hide surgical scars associated with breast cancer procedures, while allowing for the best oncological outcomes.

“Becoming certified in Hidden Scar surgery has allowed me to perfect the use of tools in the operating room that allow me to better visualize the internal structures of the breast, so that I can do more work on the inside and have a less-invasive scar on the outside,” Dr. Chambers said.

Dr. Chambers is one of only a few surgeons in West Texas certified in Hidden Scar surgery. She said the scar issue is important to her, even if patients don’t express it as their biggest worry at the time.

“For me, it’s a concern, because this is the scar they’re going to spend the rest of their lives with,” Dr. Chambers said. “It’s a delicate part of the anatomy to deal with. And though women at that time may not feel that the scar is their main concern, in the future it will matter to them. There are a lot of emotional ties to breast health, so if we can maintain our oncological outcomes with a minimal amount of cosmetic effect, that is something we’ll continue to strive to do.”

Dr. Chambers and her team at the Breast Care Center are now offering wireless breast lesion localization, a service that makes the day of the procedure more comfortable for the patient.

Traditionally, surgery teams attach guide wires to patients’ breasts so the surgeon can pinpoint the lesion’s location.

“In a lot of institutions across the United States, and what we were doing up until recently, standard of care was to place a clip at the time of biopsy, so we would know where that lesion was no matter how distorted the tissue became after biopsy,” Dr. Chambers said. “We would place a wire to that lesion, so that would be our arrow pointing us in the right direction. Wireless localization allows us to not have patients waiting in the pre-operative area with wires protruding from their breasts.”

With wireless localization, a tiny “seed” is placed within the breast cancer lesion during preoperative planning. On the day of surgery, sonar is used to locate the seed and the area to be removed.

The combination of wireless localization and Hidden Scar techniques can lead to a very positive outlook for the patient.

“Wireless localization shows me where the lesion is, and the Hidden Scar techniques help me strategically place my incision, so the cosmetic outcomes are better,” Dr. Chambers said. “This sonar seed that we’re placing might help me take less tissue as well, helping cosmetic outcomes.”

All treatment at the Breast Care Center is individualized and done to care for the patient in the least traumatic way possible, Dr. Chambers said.

“Not every woman needs a mastectomy; not every woman needs chemotherapy,” Dr. Chambers said. “Every breast cancer treatment is tailored to that person and to that type of cancer, so we can best mesh our patients’ needs with what we need to do to cure their cancer.”

$1.5M Establishes Robinson & Furman Family Endowed Chair in Radiology at TTUHSC EP

On Monday, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, along with El Pasoans Tony and Robin Furman, announced a major gift to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology.

The Furman family is giving $540,000 to establish an endowed chair for the department in honor of Robin Furman’s parents Arvin Robinson, M.D. and his wife, Beverly.

TTUHSC El Paso will match the gift, and the Robinsons will direct $420,000 from a previously established fund in their name to create the $1.5 million Dr. Arvin and Beverly Robinson-Furman Family Endowed Chair in Radiology.

Dr. Robinson, who attended today’s announcement event with Beverly Robinson, retired from TTUHSC El Paso in 2015. He joined the university’s radiology department in 2004, part of a remarkable 50-year career in medicine.

In addition to launching the department’s residency program, he served as department chair from 2006 to 2013 and is chairman emeritus.

“Ending up as chairman of the department and starting a residency program in radiology really has him so proud,” Robin Furman said of her father. “We’re happy that we can now help celebrate that success.”

“We thought it would be a fitting and lasting tribute to Arvin and Beverly to fund an endowed chair,” Tony Furman said. “It’s something that lasts forever and hopefully inspires other people to consider gifts of a perpetual nature.”

The endowment will support the new chairman of the radiology department, Thomas M. Dykes, M.D. Dr. Dykes will start his new role at TTUHSC El Paso on July 1.

Prior to TTUHSC El Paso, he served as professor of radiology and vice-chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Radiology at Penn State Health’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

“We hope that this endowment will first and foremost help the radiology department and Dr. Thomas Dykes with income to do the things that Dr. Dykes and future chairs think are important for the department, the school and, most importantly, the medical students,” Tony Furman said.

Tony grew up in El Paso and, together with Robin, moved back to El Paso 26 years ago and raised their two boys here.

Tony co-founded Interstate Capital, a homegrown company that grew into a $100 million enterprise. The couple found success here and made it their mission to share that success by giving back to their community.

Endowed faculty positions are critical to the mission of TTUHSC El Paso. They allow the university to attract and retain world-class talent, which benefits our students and the future of health care.

Endowed chairs are considered a prestigious honor in academia, and give department leaders the ability to invest in their vision for the department by supporting scholarships and fellowships for talented students and residents, and funding research activities.

For more information on how to make an investment in the future of health care in the Paso del Norte region and take advantage of matching funds, contact Andrea Tawney, associate vice chancellor of TTUHSC El Paso’s Office of Institutional Advancement, at

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