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Research Faculty

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

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 and health services research. Her current research work focuses on the development of screening interventions to address disparities in colorectal cancer screening, decision making about colorectal cancer screening and prostate cancer screening. Currently, she is funded by a K07 Career Development Award from the National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI), and has been a co-investigator on grants with the UT School of Public Health and UT MD Anderson. In the past she has been a recipient of a BIRCWH (Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health) program award through a K12 NIH/NICHD mechanism and has been funded by the American Cancer Society, as well as other local and national Foundations. She currently serves on national and international committees related to primary care research and cancer prevention. She also serves as a reviewer for numerous primary care, cancer and minority health journal.

Theresa L. Byrd, Dr PH

Theresa Byrd, RN, Dr. P.H. is a Professor of Medical Education and 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-Investigator and Co-Director of the Community Outreach and Dissemination Core on an NIH-funded center grant focused on Hispanic health disparities research. 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 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 Columbia 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 recently began her Masters of Public Health 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 area is cervical cancer screening.


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 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.