“Breaking ‘caminos’ or trails has been challenging, rewarding and inspiring. This award represents a celebration of those caminos where many have acted as advocates and guides. The time has come for Hispanics from all walks of life to thrive, flourish and bring as many along as one can,”
Eva Moya, Ph.D., associate professor of social work at The University of Texas at El Paso, has been recognized with the regional 2020 Ohtli Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Mexican government to individuals who have aided, empowered or positively affected the lives of Mexican nationals in the United States and other countries.
The Ohtli, which means “road” in the Aztec Nahuatl language, acknowledges individuals outside of Mexico who have helped open a path for others.
“Receiving the Othli award from the Mexican Consulate in El Paso is indeed a humbling experience,” said Moya, a UTEP College of Health Sciences faculty member since 2010. “Breaking ‘caminos’ or trails has been challenging, rewarding and inspiring. This award represents a celebration of those caminos where many have acted as advocates and guides. The time has come for Hispanics from all walks of life to thrive, flourish and bring as many along as one can,” she added.
Born in El Paso and raised in Ciudad Juárez, Moya has dedicated her career to advancing border health and social justice along the U.S.-Mexico border for more than 35 years.
She has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several research and service projects focused on tuberculosis, intimate partner violence and sexual assault, homelessness, human papilloma virus education and immigrant health.
“We are extremely proud of this prestigious honor bestowed upon Dr. Moya,” said College of Health Sciences Dean Shafik Dharamsi, Ph.D. “It is a testament to her untiring efforts to help chart a path forward for our college toward improving the conditions of life in the region we serve.”
Moya’s efforts to improve the health and quality of life of Mexican immigrants in the Texas border region have resulted in major collaborations between UTEP and the Mexican Consulate in El Paso such as the Ventanilla de Salud program. Launched in 2013, the program provides health-related resources to the Hispanic and Mexican communities in El Paso.
A 2019 El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame inductee, Moya hopes to pave the way for other women to emerge as strong leaders who will make a positive impact in their communities.
“This year’s award theme is ‘Empowerment of Girls and Women,’” Moya said. “This is a fundamental human right and a foundation for a peaceful, flourishing and sustainable community. Despite gains in education, health and leadership, multiple challenges remain. In addition, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could regress the gains. We need to put girls and women at the center of the response and continue to build a more just and resilient society.”
The award, which is given annually by individual consulates, was presented Sept. 16, 2020, at the General Consulate of Mexico in El Paso as part of its virtual Mexico Independence Day celebrations.