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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 Excellence.
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.



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.
Norma Nguyen, MPH
Norma Nguyen, MPH Norma D. Nguyen is a Senior Research Associate in 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 received a BS in Biomedical Science at Texas A&M University in 2004 and an MPH at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health (UTSPH) Dallas Regional Campus in 2008. Her expertise is in secondary data analysis of large complex data sets. She has published research papers examining mortality disparity using the NHANES III dataset as well as alcohol behaviors of matriculating college freshman in a multi-college dataset. She has also contributed to a church- based community outreach project in south Dallas County and is eager to contribute to the investigation and elimination of racial disparities in the El Paso border community.
 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.
Christina Rodriguez, BA
 Christina Rodriguez Christina Rodriguez is a Lead Specialist 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. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2009 with a BA in Corporate and Organizational Communication. She has previously worked in the public relations and marketing field taking particular interest in the area of health awareness. Christina has worked on various public relations campaigns to promote ovarian cancer awareness in the community. Being able to expand her scope of knowledge to include working on a variety of programs aimed at raising cancer awareness as well as other diseases and health issues is what she finds most exciting about being part of the research team.
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.
  Jen Duran, BS
 Jen Duran Jennifer Duran has served as a Senior Outreach Worker for the Against Colorectal Cancer In our Neighborhoods (ACCION) program in the department since 2012. She received her BS in Social Work from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2011. Her duties include facilitating the return of all indicated tests and procedures and case management. Jennifer enjoys helping others.


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.
ACCION Promatoras
 ACCION Promatoras The ACCION Promotoras (Community Health Workers)  work at different sites, such as community clinics, churches, health fairs, adult learning centers and food pantries to provide education on colorectal cancer and enroll eligible participants into the ACCION program to receive free screening. Each Promotora has received Community Health Worker accreditation through various institutions, including EPCC, UTEP and NM Dept. of Health.
Marisela Cottrell
 Marisella Cottrel  
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. Heis 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 cnad 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.