• November 28, 2020
 UTEP College of Health Sciences attracts Top Research Faculty

UTEP College of Health Sciences | Photo courtesy UTEP

UTEP College of Health Sciences attracts Top Research Faculty

The University of Texas at El Paso’s R1 designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education has raised UTEP’s national research profile and attracted highly competitive research faculty to the University.

“We find ourselves in an enviable position of being able to recruit top talent to UTEP,” said College of Health Sciences Dean Shafik Dharamsi, Ph.D., who has led the college since 2017. The college’s research expenditures topped $5.2 million in 2019 compared with $3.3 million in 2016.

“Our recent designation as a top tier doctoral university with very high research activity enables us to attract some of the best and brightest students, staff and faculty nationwide,” he said.

In the College of Health Sciences alone there are 10 new top-notch research faculty whose expertise is helping to identify solutions to critical health challenges in public health, kinesiology, rehabilitation sciences and Hispanic health disparities.

They include Anita Bialunska, Ph.D., Beatrice Lee, Mei-Ling Lin, Ph.D., William Roberts, Ph.D., and Gregory Schober, Ph.D., in rehabilitation sciences; Jeffrey Eggleston, Ph.D., Kisuk Min, Ph.D., and Cory Smith, Ph.D., in kinesiology; Bruce Friedman, Ph.D., in social work; and Julia Lechuga, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, who was awarded a prestigious policy fellowship with The Network: Towards Unity for Health in February 2020.

“Our recent hires within health sciences come from high-impact, top tier universities – they bring a strong work ethic, a deep desire to succeed, and to make a significant difference in this region through their research, teaching and service activities,” Dean Dharamsi added.

“We are a community-centric, mission-driven university and we have a long history of research that focuses on the challenges that our communities face. We are also among the top U.S. universities for student upward mobility, providing outstanding education at an affordable tuition. What more could you ask for? This is really a great time to be at UTEP.”

New Faculty

Anita Bialunska, Ph.D., assistant professor in rehabilitation sciences

Research interests: Cognitive and motor impairments after brain injury, timing processes in motor disorders, and neurodegenerative effects in Latinos/Hispanics.

Beatrice Lee will join the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences in fall 2020.

Research interests: Protective factors that can buffer the negative effects of stress in people with disabilities.

Mei-Ling Lin, Ph.D., assistant professor in rehabilitation sciences

Research interests: Mental health in school-aged children, and 3D printing in rehabilitation sciences.

William Roberts, Ph.D., assistant professor in occupational therapy

Research interests: How occupational therapy (OT) education integrates local culture and context into curricula, particularly in places where there are fewer resources, and where OT is an emerging profession.

Gregory Schober, Ph.D., assistant professor in rehabilitation sciences

Research interests: health policy, political and civic behavior, and global health politics.

Jeffrey Eggleston, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology

Research interests: Lower extremity function during locomotor activities in individuals with chronic disorders and diseases, specifically autism spectrum disorders.

Kisuk Min, Ph.D., assistant professor in kinesiology

Research interest: To improve understanding of the mechanisms that protect cardiac and skeletal muscle against myopathy, a disease of the muscle that results in muscular weakness and dysfunction.

Cory Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor in kinesiology

Research interests: Strength and conditioning, electromechanical delay, mechanisms of fatigue, and prosthetic control.

Bruce Friedman, Ph.D., will serve as chair of the Department of Social Work starting in fall 2020. He previously discussed his research during a presentation titled “Community-Based Participatory Research: Integrating Research and Practice for Social Change” at UTEP during the 2019 spring semester.

Julia Lechuga, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences

Research interests: Cultural, contextual and familial factors that influence the risk of infectious disease and adoption of preventive sexual and reproductive health behaviors.

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