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Home | Tag Archives: TTUHSC El Paso

Tag Archives: TTUHSC El Paso

$3M gift by Rick, Ginger Francis to TTUHSC El Paso will be matched by University

On Tuesday, officials with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), along with the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation and Rick and Ginger Francis, announced a $3 million gift to the university.

“We love El Paso and the borderland region and feel it is important to make a difference on our watch,” Rick and Ginger Francis said. “We’ve had success and we want to share that success with the community, leaving it a better place for future generations.”

The Francis’ $3 million gift to TTUHSC El Paso will go to endow four deanships, as well as the endowed chair for the TTUHSC El Paso president, named in their honor.

This gift will be matched by TTUHSC El Paso, doubling its impact.

“Endowed positions allow us to attract and retain talented leadership from across the country who embody our university’s mission. That is what we have done in assembling an exceptional group of deans for our university,” said TTUHSC President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. “Endowed deanships are one of the greatest ways to amplify what we do best here at TTUHSC El Paso: educate the next generation of health care professionals and conduct research on health issues affecting our border population.”

“TTUHSC El Paso has created an institution that will forever impact El Paso with new educational opportunities for future generations,” Rick and Ginger Francis said. “This gift will go toward the next phase of attracting the best and brightest faculty to help propel the university forward.”

Additionally, the Francis have established the Ginger G. and L. Frederick Francis Foundation in the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.

Tracy Yellen, CEO of the PDN Community Foundation, said the gift illustrates the collaboration needed to push the West Texas region forward.

“Rick and Ginger established the Ginger G. and L. Frederick Francis Foundation as a donor advised fund in the Paso del Norte Community Foundation to facilitate their charitable giving and support organizations like TTUHSC El Paso that are essential to the future of our region,” Yellen said. “We are honored to partner with Rick and Ginger and TTUHSC El Paso in this way. It is a testament to Rick and Ginger’s leadership and generosity, and the power of collaboration.”

The gift comes as the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine celebrates its 10-year anniversary. TTUHSC El Paso would not be what it is today without the generous support of many champions, including Rick and Ginger Francis — Texas Tech alumni with a long and meaningful history of leadership and giving.

University officials add that, Rick and Ginger Francis were among the earliest and most ardent supporters of TTUHSC El Paso before shovels even broke ground on what is the campus today.

TTUHSC El Paso will be the only health sciences center in Texas to have all its deanships endowed. The deans lead the four schools that comprise TTUHSC El Paso: the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and – coming in 2021 – the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine.

Minimally invasive procedure that fixes hole in heart now performed at UMC

On Thursday afternoon, officials with Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso announced that their doctors now perform a treatment for a heart birth defect that affects up to 25% of people.

The procedure that closes the defect—known as an atrial septal defect, or ASD; and a smaller defect which causes stroke, called patent foramen ovale, or PFO—takes a much different route than the past use of open-heart surgery.

Doctors open a vein/vessel near the groin and insert a long, thin tube called a catheter. The catheter, loaded with an alloy device called an Amplatzer septal occluder, is guided into the interior of the heart. Once in place, the occluder is released, and it expands into a circular coil that closes the hole.

About 15 years ago, almost 90% of these type of congenital heart defects were repaired through open-heart surgery, said TTP El Paso interventional cardiologist Harsha Nagarajarao, M.D., who serves as co-director of the Cardiovascular Catheterization Laboratory at University Medical Center of El Paso.

Today, the transcatheter coil occlusion procedure is widely used across the world to treat heart holes.

Dr. Nagarajarao and other TTP El Paso interventional cardiologists perform the procedure at UMC. TTP El Paso is the clinical practice of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The doctor said up to 25% of people are born with this kind of hole in the heart. Not all of them will require surgery, but those that present with stroke will need to have the hole closed, he said.

Dr. Nagarajarao, who also serves as an assistant professor in the division of cardiology at TTUHSC El Paso, adds that there is a large, unmet need in the area for treating this type of heart defect. To help increase the numbers of physicians capable of treating the defect, Dr. Nagarajarao is helping train TTP El Paso physicians for certification in the procedure.

Earlier this year, a 36-year-old man who suffered multiple strokes over two years with no indication of a cause was referred by TTP El Paso’s neurology department to Dr. Nagarajarao’s cardiology team.

The doctors determined he had a PFO which was responsible for his stroke and scheduled him for the coil occlusion procedure.

The surgery, performed by Dr. Nagarajarao, was a success and significantly reduced the risk of stroke for the patient. The surgery took about two hours and required only light anesthesia.


Lawmakers approve funding for Hunt School of Dental Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso

The Texas Legislature has approved a $250.7 billion, two-year state budget that includes an appropriation of $20 million to establish the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The Hunt School of Dental Medicine, expected to welcome its first class of students in 2021, will be the first in Texas in over 50 years and the very first at a health sciences center based on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We are very pleased that our state lawmakers recognized the need to close the gaps of dental health disparities in West Texas and support the creation of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine in El Paso,” said TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. “I applaud our El Paso legislative delegation for their work in pursuing funding for the school, and thank the community for supporting our vision of improved dental health care for the Borderland and West Texas.”

El Paso has a 57 percent shortage of general dentists compared to the national average, and is designated as a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The vision of a dental school for the region became a reality in 2016 when businessman Woody L. Hunt and his wife Gayle gifted $25 million to TTUHSC El Paso through the Hunt Family Foundation to establish the school.

That gift was soon followed by a $6 million grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation to fund the dental school’s curriculum.

The Hunt School of Dental Medicine will be housed in the five-story Medical Sciences Building II, now under construction on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.

The 86th Texas Legislative Session concluded on Monday, May 27. The spending bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature.

TTUHSC El Paso awarded $150K grant, will help finance research on Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Cure SMA recently awarded a $150,000 research grant to Laxman Gangwani, Ph.D., associate professor of Molecular and Translational Medicine, Center of Emphasis in Neurosciences, at TTUHSC El Paso’s Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

The grant will support Gangwani’s research on a genetic disorder known as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

SMA is caused by a gene mutation that stops the production of a protein critical to the nerves that control muscles. Without the protein, the nerve cells die, leading to debilitating, and often fatal, muscle weakness.

There are four types of SMA, and under the most severe form, Type 1, a child cannot hold their neck up or sit, and life expectancy is only approximately two years.

Gangwani’s research project, “Function of Senataxin as a Protective Modifier of Spinal Muscular Atrophy,” will study a human protein called senataxin that in very preliminary work appears to be able to rescue SMA motor neurons and prevent their degeneration.

If the new research can show a positive role for senataxin in a mouse model of SMA, then it would suggest a potential use for senataxin as a therapeutic target in humans, Gangwani said.

Cure SMA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the treatment and cure of SMA. The organization funds research and provides support for families dealing with SMA.

To read more about SMA, click here. To read Cure SMA’s Q&A with Gangwani, click here.

El Paso Electric donates $10,000 to TTUHSC El Paso Initiatives

At the 2019 Community Partner Awards Reception, El Paso Electric donated $10,000 to the Texas Tech Foundation in support of programs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The gift will be split between nursing scholarships, the Medical Student Run Clinic and sponsorship of the university’s Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer community event, which invites the community to the campus to enjoy holiday treats, festive skits and a holiday lights show.

Nursing scholarships are especially important in El Paso to help students who normally could not afford school, helping to ease the nursing shortage in the city.

The Medical Student Run Clinic provides free primary health care screenings to the Sparks community in Far East El Paso County.

Volunteer work at the clinic provides students from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine with an opportunity to work in a real clinical environment while also developing a relationship with the community.

Eddie Gutiérrez, vice president of strategic communications, customer and community engagement, said community partnerships and giving are important to El Paso Electric.

“While providing safe, clean, reliable and sustainable energy for our growing community is at the core of our business, serving as a community partner is part of our mission in moving us all forward. The EPE Community Partner Program is incredibly intentional about who is awarded these donations, ensuring that these organizations are making a positive and local impact.”

El Paso Electric gave out awards to more than 70 community partners at the April 11 event.

New Texas Tech/Silva Partnership gives students early access to nursing degree

Starting next school year, a new partnership with the Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso will pave the way for EPISD students to earn a registered-nurse degree by the time they are 20 years old.

A new agreement with Texas Tech University Health Science Center gives incoming Silva Health Magnet students an opportunity to earn the pre-requisites necessary to enter the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing upon graduating.

Incoming Silva students enrolled in the program can take up to 60 college credit hours to earn an associate’s degree through El Paso Community College. Upon successful completion, they can receive admission into the accelerated nursing program and earn their RN in 16 months.

“The beauty of this program is that Texas Tech has agreed to extend all of those credits and allow them to enter the bachelor’s of science in nursing program right after high school,” said Patty Benitez, a facilitator in the EPISD Office of Transformation. “It’s a great opportunity for our students. We foresee a high interest.”

Benitez worked closely with Texas Tech while serving as an assistant principal at the campus.

Beyond the educational opportunities, she touts the financial savings for students.

“It’s free of charge for students,” she said. “Silva will offer the whole 60 hours which includes tuition and books. EPCC also offers tutoring resources for our students.”

Dr. Manuel Santa Cruz, Texas Tech assistant dean and chair of the undergraduate program, joined with Benitez and Silva to announce the new partnership and explained the program’s widespread impact for the community.

“We are contributing to the need for nurses in the workforce,” he said. “There’s a huge nursing shortage right now in the community. If we look at the state of Texas, in the year 2022, we will be needing 20,000 nurses needed in state and in West Texas 3,000 to 4,000 nurses and that number continues to grow.”

The program begins in the fall with the incoming class of 2023. Texas Tech has agreed to reserve 10 percent of the admission class each year to students meeting all of the requirements.

Senior Disha Ganjegunte, a student leader involved with the development of the program, looks forward to the opportunities it brings to future Silva students.

“Texas Tech is just a huge part of us coming to Silva Health Magnet,” Ganjegunte said. “This is setting the foundation of not only excelling in academics but also getting that exposure to the medical fields with Texas Tech mentors. It’s a great opportunity that you now have a pathway to get to Texas Tech and actually graduate as a nurse.”

The future neonatologist sees the program as a solid pathway to many healthcare careers.

“Even if our students don’t want to be a nurse, just having that exposure and building up all those prereqs and going through the program, graduating as an RN, is a great resume builder,” she said. “It’s great for just building up all those skills you actually need to be a physician.”

Sophomore Emmanuel Ortega is considering pursuing a nursing degree at Texas Tech after he graduates. He sees the edge this new program gives students interested in a healthcare career.

“This is a huge opportunity and will open lots of doors,” he said. “A lot of students want to be doctors or nurses but they don’t know what it looks like. This is going to be hands-on, which is what you need to get into a medical field. And Silva, just its name, opens doors and I think this is going to so beneficial for the future.”

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photo by Erika Reyes – EPISD

$1.5 Million Will Fund Jim and Julie Cardwell Endowed Chair in Neurology

Thanks to a generous $750,000 gift from the Jim and Julie Cardwell Fund and the Cardwell Family Foundation, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) announced Wednesday that they would establish an endowed chair in the department of neurology.

“We have a serious physician shortage in El Paso and Southern New Mexico,” El Paso businessman Jim Cardwell said. “This is an opportunity to bring TTUHSC El Paso to the forefront in the training of physicians. Hopefully some of them will stay here in El Paso, but if not, at least we’re training more, so there are more doctors. We need more access to medical providers so that families do not have to leave our region to receive specialty care.”

“The inspiration for this gift was to help the future generations of this region,” Cardwell said. “This is a building block of many things to come.”

TTUHSC El Paso is matching the gift, establishing the Jim and Julie Cardwell Endowed Chair in Neurology. The chair will be supported by a $1.5 million fund thanks to the combined gift and match.

The gift and endowed chair are part of a long-term effort to increase the number of neurologists available to treat the El Paso community.  The Cardwell Family Foundation is an affiliate of the El Paso Community Foundation.

Matching funds are being leveraged by TTUHSC El Paso to recruit and attract physicians in specialty areas that are underserved in our region. The goal is to build upon these specialties so that both patient care and research expertise expand over time.

There are additional matching funds for endowed chairs and professorships in several areas, such as psychiatry, emergency medicine, orthopedics, surgery and internal medicine.

There is a shortage of neurologists nationwide, leading to a “neurology desert” in areas with no neurologists.

Though El Paso is not in that situation, with about 20 practicing neurologists, there are too few for a city this size, and El Paso patients are faced with waiting lists, said Dr. Salvador Cruz-Flores, professor and chair of TTUHSC El Paso’s department of neurology.

According to the American Academy of Neurology, a city should have three to five neurologists for every 100,000 inhabitants – a minimum of 35 if there are 700,000 people in El Paso County. El Paso neurologists serve patients from the entire Paso del Norte region, Dr. Cruz-Flores said.

About 45 percent of the care provided by neurologists at TTUHSC El Paso is uncompensated care for the uninsured or underinsured. Though part of their mission, Dr. Cruz-Flores said this adds to the need for more neurologists.

“This endowment is meant to grow the activities of the department of neurology, perhaps creating more residency opportunities and clinical lines of service such as a multiple sclerosis clinic, or growing an epilepsy service,” Dr. Cruz-Flores said.

“In general, this will expand the services of the neurology department with the idea of providing more access to neurological care for our community.”

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

TTUHSC El Paso Accredited for Area’s First Geriatric Psychiatry Training Program

After recently gaining accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, along with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will soon begin offering the first training program in the El Paso area for geriatric psychiatry.

“We have a health care emergency with the aging of our population,” said Peter Thompson, M.D., professor and department chair of TTUHSC El Paso’s department of psychiatry. “Ten thousand baby boomers are retiring a day. Our geriatric population is just exploding and we need people who are experts to treat these individuals.”

The training program for resident physicians is desperately needed in El Paso because of a shortage of medical care for the elderly, both locally and nationally, Dr. Thompson said.

The fellowship in geriatric psychiatry will be a combined program with the VA, with most of the funding coming from the VA. The VA’s site director is Deborah L. Dallam, M.D., who is board certified in geriatric psychiatry. The accreditation allows for two residents to take part in the fellowship.

The yearlong training will be split between working in TTUHSC El Paso’s clinical rotation and facilities of the El Paso VA health care system.

Another important part of the training will be the use of the national Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) as the model of service, said Ricardo Salazar, M.D. Dr. Salazar is an associate professor in TTUHSC El Paso’s department of psychiatry, chief of the division of geriatric psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and head of the new training program.

The residents will spend time at El Paso’s Bienvivir, one of the pioneer programs in the nation for all-inclusive care of the elderly.

“We will be exposing the residents to this interdisciplinary model of care, where they have social workers, psychologists, physicians in primary care, etc.,” said Dr. Salazar. “They’ll also have rotations in palliative care medicine and end-of-life issues.

“We’re also going to be working very closely with the University Medical Center where the trainees will be exposed to different psychopathologies through the psychiatry consult service, and they will be rotating through the geriatric acute care for the elderly unit that we have at UMC,” said Dr. Salazar. “So, it’s going to be a very diverse program.”

The long-term hope is that, after the fellowship, the residents will stay in the El Paso region, helping to care for the elderly.

“We are the only training site in the nation that will be concentrating on serving the elderly population on the U.S.-Mexico border and joining the few accredited programs in the Southwest,” said Dr. Salazar. “Our fellows will receive unparalleled academic and clinical training in a multicultural and vibrant city.”

TTUHSC El Paso Professor Awarded $50,000 Grant for Sepsis Research

Wendy Walker, Ph.D., assistant professor in Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Center of Emphasis in Infectious Diseases, recently received a $50,000 grant to study how the immune system plays a role during the life-threatening infectious process termed sepsis.

The 2019 Society of Critical Care Medicine Weil Research Grant will allow Walker to continue research that focuses on how different immune cells contribute to the body’s response during this life-threatening disorder, which has a mortality rate of up to 50 percent.

“The immune system is a double-edged sword in this context, because it is essential in fighting the infection, but over-activation of some of its parts can contribute to a worse outcome,” Walker said.

Each year, at least 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2017, 4,268 Texans died as a result of septicemia, a bacterial infection that spreads into the bloodstream, triggering sepsis. Texas’ death rate was seventh-highest in the United States.

Using a mouse model of sepsis, Walker is working toward understanding the different roles in sepsis of two populations of immune cells, known as macrophages and monocytes, with a long-term goal of manipulating their actions to improve clinical outcomes.

“This grant will allow me to define the functions of these cells as sepsis develops,” Walker said. “I hope that the new insights that we learn will give us an idea of how we might target them to reduce mortality and, ultimately, to cure this serious disorder.”

The Weil Research Trust was created in 2015 to fund research grants. Named for the Society’s founder and first president, Dr. Max Harry Weil, the Weil Research Trust represents the Critical Care Medicine Society’s commitment to the discovery and innovation needed to improve medical care.

TTUHSC El Paso Students Offer Free CPR Training

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso students will offer free CPR training Saturday and Monday as part of the nationwide Texas Two Step CPR: Save a Life Campaign.

This is the fourth year TTUHSC El Paso students have participated in the campaign, co-sponsored by the nonprofits HealthCorps and First Impact.

The event was created by a group of medical students and the Texas College of Emergency Physicians in 2016 after recognizing the need to train more Texans in lifesaving, hands-only CPR.

Last year, the event trained more than 7,892 individuals at 60 sites across the country.

During five-minute training sessions, El Pasoans will learn how to quickly react to cardiac emergencies in two steps:

  1. Call 911.
  2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest until help arrives.

The free training will be offered from:

Noon – 4 p.m. Saturday at the El Paso Baptist Clinic, 2700 N. Piedras St.

2 – 6 p.m. Saturday at The Fountains at Farah, 8889 Gateway Blvd. West.

4 – 8 p.m. Monday at Kilo Lift Barbell and Sports Club, 4316 Rosa Ave.

To learn more about the National Texas Two Step CPR: Save a Life Campaign, visit or follow @TX2StepCPR on Twitter.

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

Texas Tech University System Chancellor Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell and TTUHSC El Paso president Richard Lange, M.D., will present the annual Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching Award to Charmaine Martin, M.D., an associate professor in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor, and I share it with many great people I have worked with over the years: patients, mentors, colleagues, partners in the community and, of course, my family and friends,” Dr. Martin said.

Dr. Martin teaches medical students at the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Family Medicine Clinic in Northeast El Paso. She also participates in free community health care events around the city throughout the year.

“When I first came to El Paso and began working with students, I quickly realized that teaching is rewarding on many levels,” Dr. Martin said. “The students consistently help keep me motivated and patients encouraged about the future of health care in El Paso and Texas.”

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. Martin is an associate professor and assistant dean of student affairs at TTUHSC El Paso’s Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. She has taught at TTUHSC El Paso since 2005.

Dr. Martin created a program called Scholars in Primary Care, which encourages student interest in primary care by providing opportunities for leadership, patient advocacy and clinical experience. Program participants work with Dr. Martin at a free clinic for migrant farm workers, allowing students to gain hands-on clinical training while serving the community.

The clinic received 120 office visits from migrants last year.

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

More on Dr. Martin

Medical School: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston – 1996

Residency: St. Claire’s Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program – 2000

Fellowships: Teaching and Learning Fellowship, USC Keck School of Medicine – 2005; Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Pre-Doctoral Fellowship – 2008

American Board of Medical Specialties: Certified American Board of Family Medicine

Research Interests: Medical education

TTUHSC El Paso Faculty To Use $1.3M Grant to Help El Pasoans Live Healthier

As El Pasoans start to work on their New Year’s resolutions, a faculty member in Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Center of Emphasis in Cancer is taking on the challenge of rising obesity rates and obesity-related cancers in our community.

On Tuesday officials announced that Assistant Professor Jennifer Salinas, Ph.D., had been awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to fund an innovative obesity-related cancer prevention program.

Via a news release, TTUHSC El Paso officials shared that obesity-related cancer is a major health problem in El Paso County, where 69 percent of the population is considered overweight or obese — a situation they called “a troubling percentage that shows no sign of decreasing.”

Titled Pasos Para Prevenir Cancer, officials say the program combines lifestyle education and fun physical activities to help El Pasoans achieve healthy weights and lessen their risk of cancer.

TTUHSC El Paso officials added, “Being overweight or obese can lead to health issues such as Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. And carrying too much body fat appears to increase the risk of certain cancers, including esophageal, colon, pancreatic, breast, uterine, kidney and thyroid cancers.”

On Thursday, January 10th, Dr. Salinas talks about Pasos Para Prevenir Cancer and the efforts the program will be making in 2019 to help El Pasoans have a healthier new year.

What: Fighting Obesity-Related Cancer

When: 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 10

Where: Texas Tech Family Medicine Center in Northeast El Paso, 9849 Kenworthy Street

TTUHSC El Paso Fires Up Holiday Celebration Friday Night

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer celebration gets the holiday season underway for the fourth consecutive year.

The annual event will offer a free light show, food and health care information for El Paso families. The light show is presented by the same team behind the Fred Loya holiday light show.

After the show, TTUHSC El Paso’s seasonal campus lights will be turned on for the first time. After snapping some pictures of the lights, attendees can visit the selfie station and are encouraged to share via the hashtag (#TTUHSCEP).

Special guests will include Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, Belle, and the Snowflake Princesses from the movie “Frozen.”

Photo booths will provide free photos with Santa Claus and the other special guests. In addition to a performance from the holiday special guests, the Jefferson/Silva High School Drumline will take the stage.

For the first time, this year’s festivities will include a health fair. TTUHSC El Paso students will offer blood pressure readings, the United Way will give out discount prescription cards, and representatives from several TTUHSC El Paso departments and clinics will be on hand with information.

Treats and apple cider will be catered by Crave Kitchen and Bar, with hot cocoa generously provided by Price’s Creameries. Also, the first 1,000 guests will receive a TTUHSC El Paso drawstring backpack.

Sponsored by El Paso Electric, all activities will be free, including parking in campus lots.

What: Cookies, Cocoa and Holiday Cheer

When: 6 p.m. Friday, November 30  |  Light show will begin about 7 p.m.

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

TTUHSC El Paso Staff Senate Promotes a Candy-Free Halloween

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Staff Senate is continuing its tradition of collecting non-candy items to give to children receiving treatment at El Paso Children’s Hospital.

“In terms of your teeth, anytime that you take in a sugar and/or a fermentable carbohydrate like a fruit, fruit juice, honey—any of those items—the bacteria in your mouth break those foods down into an acid, and that acid eats away at the enamel of your teeth,” said Wendy Woodall, D.D.S., professor and associate dean of academic affairs for the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso.

“We know that you can’t regrow enamel. So anytime you can redirect your child away from sugar, it’s best for your teeth, and it’s best for your body in general.”

Staff Senate officials thought that TTUHSC El Paso, a health sciences center with a dental school in development, should send a message of a healthy approach to Halloween, with gifts of non-candy items that would still offer plenty of fun for youngsters.

Because of the damage sugar does to teeth, some parents go the non-candy route for Halloween—a strategy that dentists wholeheartedly support.

Pens, pencils, erasers, notebooks and coloring books were among the items collected this fall that will be delivered in 35 goodie bags on Halloween.

Dr. Woodall said some options for non-candy items to give out include simple, safe toys or party favors—items that will give longer enjoyment than candy.

But if you’re going to let your child have candy, there are ways to reduce the risk of damage to teeth.

“Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste or using a fluoride mouth rinse is best because the fluoride is going to work to replace the calcium that came out of your teeth,” Dr. Woodall said.  “If you can’t do that, you should rinse your mouth with water, and it would lower the amount of sugar that’s attacking your teeth.”

GSBS Dean Named to Texas Graduate Education Advisory Committee

Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, Ph.D., dean of TTUHSC El Paso’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), has been appointed to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Graduate Education Advisory Committee.

The 24-member committee, which meets up to four times a year, reviews issues relating to graduate education at public universities and health-related institutions in Texas.

In addition to his role as dean of the GSBS, Lakshmanaswamy is scientific director of TTUHSC El Paso’s Center of Emphasis in Cancer.

The center aims to “apply novel concepts, methodologies, and technologies to cancer research, prevention, and intervention. The center’s focus is to perform basic, clinical, and translational research to study endocrine-related cancers and cancers prevalent in the local population, and to identify molecular mechanisms using cutting-edge technologies.”

The TTUHSC El Paso GSBS first opened its doors in 2013 as an expansion of the GSBS at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. In August 2014, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) officially acknowledged the creation of a freestanding, independent TTUHSC El Paso GSBS.

On January 22, 2016, the THECB approved the addition of the Master of Science (M.S.) in Biomedical Sciences to TTUHSC El Paso’s program inventory. Following the addition to the M.S. program, on September 1, 2016 the post-baccalaureate certificate program in Biomedical Sciences was officially added to TTUHSC El Paso’s program inventory.

As the Dean, Lakshmanaswamy shares that  TTUHSC El Paso GSBS’s formula for success includes “comprehensive coursework, sustained laboratory experiences, and training in scholarship and inter-professional teamwork while in school, so that our students are prepared for their professional futures.”

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