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Research Faculty

Navkiran K. Shokar, MD MPH, Vice Chair for Research, Department of Family and Community Medicine; Director Cancer Prevention and Control, Cancer Center of Emphasis.
Navkiran K. Shokar, MD MPH

Navkiran (Kiran) K. Shokar is a Tenure Track Associate Professor at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas. She received her M.A. from Cambridge University Medical School in England in 1989, and her M.D. degree from Oxford University Medical School, England in 1992. She completed her MPH at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston in 2003. She is Board Certified in Family Medicine and is also a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, U.K. Her research interests include cancer prevention and control, health disparities, shared decision making  and health services research. Her current research work focuses on the development of screening interventions to address disparities in screening for colorectal cancer breast cancer and cervical cancer. Currently, she is funded as a PI on an R21 from  the National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI), and on three large Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas grant awards. In the past she has been a recipient of multiple grant awards including a K07 career development  award form the NCI.   She has served as a grant reviewer for the NIH and CDC and also serves as a reviewer for numerous primary care, cancer and minority health journals. She is currently serving  as a Deputy Editor of the Journal  of General Internal Medicine and serves on national and international committees related to primary care research and cancer prevention.

Theresa L. Byrd, Dr PH
Theresa L. Byrd. Dr PH

Theresa Byrd, RN, Dr. P.H. is Associate Dean and Chair of the Department of Public Health at TTUHSC Lubbock, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at TTUHSC-PLFSOM. Dr. Byrd's career has largely been devoted to community-based research with US-Mexico border and migrant populations. She has been involved in projects aimed at understanding the health-related attitudes and beliefs of Hispanics, and in the development of interventions to change health behaviors (e.g., initiation of prenatal care, breast-feeding, environmental risk, and car safety for children.) Currently she is co-PD on three CPRIT projects (Shokar PD) in El Paso. Dr. Byrd was PI of a CDC-funded project to develop a theory-based intervention aimed at increasing cervical cancer screening adherence in Hispanic women (AMIGAS) which has recently been tested for efficacy in three cities (Byrd, PI). She is currently co-investigator on a CDC funded project to understand men's decision-making in prostate cancer treatment and to develop a decision-aid for prostate cancer treatment decisions. In the past she been Co-Investigator on two other CDC-funded projects: one project developed and evaluated prostate cancer screening decision aids for Hispanic men in El Paso, Texas, and African-American men in South Carolina; and, the second developed and evaluated a behavioral intervention for blood pressure control for Hispanics, employing promotoras to deliver the educational messages. As Co-Investigator on Ethnic Variations in Attitudes toward Hysterectomy, funded by the Women's Health initiative and CDC, Dr. Byrd was actively involved in developing culturally relevant vides for English- and Spanish- speaking women on shared decision-making for surgery that were tested in community clinic-based groups led by community health workers.

Eribeth Peñaranda, MD
Eribeth Penaranda, MD

Eribeth Peñaranda is an Assistant Professor at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas.  She received her M.D. at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota, Colombia in 2000. She completed her residency in Family Medicine at the Department of family and Community Medicine at Texas Tech University health Sciences Center in El Paso in 2007, and then joined the department as faculty in 2008. She is also a Masters of Public Health student  at The University of Texas at Houston School of Public Health at the regional campus here in El Paso. She has a strong passion for primary care research and her main research interest areas include cervical cancer screening, health literacy and obesity. She has been funded by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Cancer Society to research  US-Mexico border women’s attitudes towards using self-sampling method to detect infections with the Human Papillomavirus. This method has been proposed as an alternative to Pap smear as primary screening for cervical cancer. Her publications also include the association between cervical cancer cases and the presence of the metabolic syndrome.

Jennifer Molokwu, MD, MPH
 Jennifer Molokwu MD

Jennifer Molokwu is an Assistant Professor at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas. She received her M.D.  from College of Medicine, University of Benin in Edo State, Nigeria.  She obtained an MPH in Maternal and Child health with an emphasis in Epidemiology at the School of Public Health University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is board certified in Family medicine after completing residency training at Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis Minnesota in 2010. Her areas of interest include women’s health, cancer prevention and primary care research. She is currently Co- Investigator on AAFP grant investigating US-Mexico border’s women attitudes towards using self-sampling method to detect cervix/vagina infections with the Human papillomavirus and is currently actively involved in several CIPRIT funded grants.

 

RESEARCH STAFF

Rebekah Salaiz, MS
Rebekah Salaiz, MS

Rebekah Salaiz is a Senior Research Associate for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Science in El Paso Texas. She obtained a BS (2004) in Health Science and MS (2007) in Health Promotion from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Rebekah has previously worked with UTEP College of Health Sciences for two grant funded programs in substance abuse prevention. In addition, she coordinated BASICS-Screening and Brief Intervention for UT El Paso College Students a 3 year grant funded by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). Most recently she was a Health Educator with the El Paso City Public Health Department-WIC Program. She enjoys providing health education to the El Paso community and is excited to be part of the Department of Family Medicine research.

 Silvia Flores, PhD
 Silvia Flores

Silvia Flores is a Research Associate for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Science in El Paso Texas. She obtained her Medical degree (MD) from the University School of Medicine in Monterrey, Mexico with a specialty in Pediatrics. She obtained a Master of Environmental Sciences in the National Institute of Public Health (MSc) and, PhD (2013) in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Silvia worked previously as a research associate for the department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at UTEP. She has worked on a bi-national study, examining the air pollution effect in children in both El Paso, TX and Cuidad. Juarez. She has collaborated in publishing articles about asthma research in the border area. She enjoys integrating the roles of clinical practice, teaching, and collaborating in research projects to the El Paso community.

Maria Chaparro, MPH
Maria Chaparro 

Maria Chaparro is a Research Associate and project coordinator for the ACCION program. Previously she has worked  on an NIH funded study on brief interventions in the Emergency Department and directed the ENLACES project, a CDC project funded to build capacity and strengthen effective and meaningful participation of minority populations in the HIV Prevention Community Planning process. She began her career in AIDS Prevention in 1993 with Families & Youth, Inc. (FYI) as the Hispanic/Latino Outreach Specialist for South Central New Mexico. Through a Hispanic Fellowship offered by the Joseph M. Mailman School of Public Health, Ms. Chaparro earned a Master's in Public Health from Columbia University in New York and worked extensively with Latino communities in Washington Heights promoting HIV testing and peer education among women and adolescents. She received the 2001 John and Kathleen Gorman Public Health Humanitarian Award for her AIDS Prevention efforts along the US-Mexico Border.  Maria is a proud mother of her 6 year old son, Andres Jose and is happily married and living in her dream home near La Union, New Mexico.

  Adam Alomari, MPH
 Adam Alomari

Adam Alomari is a Research Associate for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Science in El Paso Texas. He completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at El Paso, with a focus in Sociology and Health Promotion (2011), while earning an MPH (Health Promotion and Behavioral Science Division) and a Certificate in Public Health Informatics (2014) from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.  Throughout his academic career he has held numerous research positions at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the Paso Del Norte Institute for Healthy Living, all of which have been grant funded projects and diverse in focus.  His research background and passion has allowed him to better understand the needs of the community; he is thankful and eager to be part of the research team at the Department of Family Medicine. 

 

Brenda Quintanar
Brenda Quintanar 

Brenda Quintanar joined the department as a Senior Outreach Worker with the Against Colorectal Cancer In our Neighborhoods (ACCION) program in May of 2013. Brenda has six years of experience as a community health worker and educator particularly in the colonias to help improve the health and lives of the people who have limited resources and access to healthcare and health issues. She feels passionate about serving the community by informing those she works with about the prevention of colon/ rectal cancer and saving lives. 

Marisela Cottrell, MA
Senior Outreach Worker Marisela Cottrell

Marisela Cottrell is a Senior Outreach Worker for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Science in El Paso Texas.  She obtained a MA in Counseling through Webster University in El Paso and a Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology. Marisela has worked with HealthTrust, LLC conducted chronic pain management program sessions for clients, conducted assessment, and testing for clients needing services in psychotherapy and work hardening program. 

Promatoras
 ACCION Promatoras

The Promotoras (Community Health Workers) work at different sites, such as community clinics, churches, health fairs, adult learning centers and food pantries to provide education and enroll eligible participants into various cancer prevention programs to receive free screenings. Each Promotora has received Community Health Worker accreditation through various institutions, including EPCC, UTEP and NM Dept. of Health.

Mark Medrano
 Mark Medrano

Mark Medrano is a Specialist IV in data entry for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso. He is responsible for the creation and management of large databases for research personnel and the organization and maintenance of secure datasets in accordance with project and institutional guidelines. He has eight years of working experience in hospital medical records and is currently studying Health Care Administration.

Eunise Morales
Eunise Morales 

Eunise H. Morales is a Specialist IV who recently joined the department To serve as data entry specialist for two new programs for breast and cervical cancer screening. Having her father as a cancer survivor makes her be all that more appreciative of any programs and efforts that are being made to help the community and their loved ones be more educated about their health.

Laura Gutierrez, BS

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Laura Gutierrez is an Analyst II who recently joined the department of Family and Community Medicine at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso.  She is a University of Texas at El Paso alumni, and obtained her BS in business administration with a concentration in Accounting.  She has worked for CPA Firms that gave her the opportunity to expand her career and became able not only to continue enjoying the complexity of Accounting but also sharing the knowledge with others at the college level while she was teaching the subject.

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