Past Announcements

TTUHSC El Paso Receives $1.5 Million Grant to Prevent Cervical Cancer in West Texas 

Navkiran Shokar, M.A., M.P.H, M.D., has received nearly $1.5 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in West Texas.

“Hispanic women in our region have a 30 percent higher risk of dying from cervical cancer,” says Dr. Shokar, a physician and professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). “They also have a higher incidence of cervical cancer and are typically diagnosed at later stages.”

Dr. Shokar will use the grant to expand De Casa en Casa, a program that helps uninsured or underinsured Latinas access free cervical cancer screenings, or pap smears. Since its establishment in 2013, De Casa En Casa has provided more than 1,500 pap smears to women in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties.

The new CPRIT funds will help the program expand its service area to 105 additional rural U.S.-Mexico border counties in Texas, stretching from as far away as Big Bend country to the Panhandle plains. Cervical cancer test rates in the region lag far behind the national average of 82 percent; only 63 to 71 percent of qualifying residents in these counties have been screened.

“This area we’ve targeted has a population of about 2.8 million,” says Dr. Shokar. “The region has high rates of poverty, low education, and low rates of health care coverage — making it the ideal location for health education and free diagnostic screenings to save more lives.”

Dr. Shokar and her team will begin the effort by organizing a convoy to visit a 19-county area between now and December. The TTUHSC El Paso team will offer cervical cancer prevention education, including a bilingual educational video, and free cervical cancer screenings to qualifying residents. During the visit, the team will also provide training for local nurses and community health workers to increase awareness of cervical cancer, its symptoms, and common barriers that women in these communities face to get access to cancer screening and care.

Dr. Shokar’s ultimate goal is not only to have more women screened, but also to educate Hispanics about the importance of regular pap smears for early diagnosis — when cervical cancer is most curable — and thus, saving more lives.

De Casa en Casa’s reach is possible thanks to a community-wide partnership that consists of over 150 organizations, including TTUHSC El Paso, the West Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC), the Texas Department of State Health Services, and multiple food pantries and community centers across the region.

This is Dr. Shokar’s fifth award from CPRIT as a principal investigator. Her grants have brought nearly $8 million to the El Paso community for cancer prevention and early detection services.

TTUHSC El Paso Awarded Grant to Implement Unique Training Experiences for Medical Students

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso was awarded $330,923 from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop and implement its Primary Care Innovation Program – the Longitudinal Primary Care Track (LPCT). "This grant focuses on increasing student leadership skills, mentoring and professional development and patient advocacy," said Charmaine Martin, M.D., associate professor and director of medical student education in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. "It is exciting to be able to offer medical students who are interested in primary care additional experiences to enhance their abilities."

The LPCT is an interdisciplinary, innovative, complementary curriculum that will provide 20 first-year Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) students with unique training experiences and credentials during medical school. The program will capitalize on early exposure to broad aspects of primary care, which has been demonstrated to be effective at improving students' attitudes towards primary care. Exposure to working with underserved populations and in rural areas is also a predictor of interest in primary care that will be emphasized in this curriculum.

Martin is the primary investigator on this grant. Eribeth Penaranda, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, provided key mentorship throughout the grant process. Harry Davis, M.D., from the Department of Internal Medicine, and Lyn Hernan, M.D., from the Department of Pediatics, will partner with Martin to implement the project.

Research team awarded four major grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)

Congratulations to our research division, its investigators have had a prolific year! Over this past year the division has been funded on 4 major CPRIT prevention grants that are large multicomponent interventions that will provide services to thousands of people in El Paso County. Congratulations go to Dr. Penaranda and Molokwu who received almost $1.5 million in funding for Es Tiempo De Vacunarte, an HPV immunization intervention that is currently being developed and will be implemented in El Paso County.   Dr. Navkiran Shokar, Vice Chair for Research, has been funded by CPRIT for $1.1 million for The El Paso and Hudspeth County Breast Cancer Education, Screening and NavigaTion Program (BEST) program and another $1.1 million for De Casa En Casa: Preventing Cervical Cancer in El Paso County and Hudspeth County. 

Based on the outstanding success of the ACCION Intervention (Against Colorectal Cancer In Our Neighborhoods) which resulted in an over 75% test completion rate, Dr. Shokar was also funded for a further $1.5 million for ACCION 2 to both continue colorectal cancer screening screening in El Paso County and to expand this intervention to surrounding counties. In addition, recent CPRIT funding will allow adaptation and dissemination of the ACCION intervention throughout West Texas through close collaborations with Dr. Theresa Byrd at TTUHSC and Dr. Subhasis Misra at TTUHSC Amarillo.

These projects will continue to support the department’s goal of cancer prevention in our community over the next three years. 

Introducing our New Chief Residents 2014

A successful residency program has one major attribute: dynamic and effective leadership. The Chief Residents are a critical part of the leadership team. Each chief resident is nominated and selected by his/her peers and faculty. Once selected, the chief resident is in a position of high responsibility and great prestige. He/she has taken a very important step in his/her professional lives, making a commitment to ensuring smooth residency functioning which may require additional personal sacrifices.

This year, residents and faculty have selected two strong and mature young physicians, full of energy and vigor to enhance our residency and "raise the bar" to a higher academic level in scholastics, patient care, and clinical education - they are Wei Cheng, MD and Dhiekson Silva, MD. Both share qualities that demonstrate strong leadership and organizational skills, extra-curricular and community outreach experiences, strong academic standing, dedication to teaching, and provide exemplary patient care. Their interpersonal skills are well recognized by their peers, faculty, and staff.

Wei Cheng, MD joined us from Texas Tech University Health Science Center. His medical topics of interest include preventative care, palliative care, hospital medicine, and evidence-based medicine. When he's not practicing medicine, Dr. Cheng's interests include anything that runs on electricity and can connect to the web.

Dhiekson Silva, MD joined us from Central America Health Sciences University. His medical topics of interest include preventive care, infectious disease, global health, aesthetics, and anti-aging medicine. Dr. Silva also enjoys playing video games (PS3), working out at the gym, watching anime, and singing.

Research team awarded two grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)

Congratulations to Dr. Navkiran Shokar our Vice Chair for Research and her outstanding team who have just had two more grants funded from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). Both grants have been funded for $1.1 million each and will continue to support the department’s goal of cancer prevention in our community over the next three years. A brief description of each project is available below:

The El Paso and Hudspeth County Breast Cancer Education, Screening and NavigaTion Program (BEST) program has been funded by CPRIT for $1.1 million. The long term goal of BEST is to reduce the burden of breast cancer through early diagnosis and access to treatment in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties.  In total 4,000 eligible women will be offered no-cost mammography screening and diagnostic follow up, navigation and education services. 1,000 women ineligible for no cost screening will be offered education and partial navigation services.

De Casa En Casa: Preventing Cervical Cancer in El Paso County and Hudspeth County is a multi-component evidence based cervical cancer screening program designed to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties through facilitating early diagnosis and access to treatment in El Paso and Hudspeth Counties. This is an innovative program that combines proven educational strategies, no cost pap and colposcopy services, navigation services and incorporates capacity building for colposcopy through enhanced faculty and resident training. The program will enroll 3,200 women in total.

Introducing our New Chief Residents 2013

A successful residency program has one major attribute:  dynamic and effective leadership.  The Chief Residents are a critical part of the leadership team. The chief resident needs to be nominated and selected by his/her peers and faculty. Once selected the chief resident is in a position of high responsibility and great prestige. He/she has taken a very important step in his/her professional lives. 

This year, residents and faculty have selected two strong and mature young physicians, full of energy and vigor to enhance our residency and “raise the bar” to a higher academic level in scholastics, patient care, and clinical education - they are Lina Cardona, MD and Amir Hendiani, MD.

Both share qualities that demonstrate strong leadership and organizational skills, extra-curricular and community outreach experiences, strong academic standing, dedication to teaching, and provide exemplary patient care. Their interpersonal skills are well recognized by their peers, faculty, and staff. Lina Cardona, MD joined us from Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia. Some of Dr. Cardona’s medical topics of interests include clinical research, public, international and women’s health. Her interests include spending time with family and outdoor activities.

Amir Hendiani, MD joined us from Ross University, Dominica. He was born in El Paso, grew up in Iran, and traveled in Europe to study classical cultures prior to attending Lamar University in Texas. He currently serves as president of the House Staff Association at our institution. His medical topics of interests include medical management of musculoskeletal conditions, prevention of exercise-induced injuries, psycho-medicine of non-adherence, and the business of medicine.  He enjoys spending time with family and friends, BBQ and hosting parties, hiking, soccer, winter sports, traveling, movies, and volunteerism.

As incoming Chief Residents and in the role of “Junior Faculty”, they will lead and participate in endeavors that will continue to improve and enhance our residency curriculum, recruitment, PCMH development, and clinical teaching. My deepest and personal congratulations to both.  With your support, they will serve us well as the new Chief Residents for the 2013-2014 academic year. 

 

Dr. Eribeth Peñaranda receives a career development award from the American Cancer Society

The Department of Family and Community Medicine is delighted to announce that Eribeth Peñaranda MD, Assistant Professor, recently was awarded a career development award from the American Cancer Society. Career development awards from the American Cancer Society are highly competitive, and her mentor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Dr Navkiran Shokar said, “It is a great achievement to be funded on your first submission to the American Cancer Society and a reflection of the superb effort she has put into her research career. This award will enable Dr. Penaranda to undergo a period of intense mentored research and training so that she can develop into an independent scientist in cancer prevention and control.” Dr Peñaranda completed her Family Medicine residency training at TTUHSC El Paso in 2007, and joined the Department as assistant professor a year later. Her project, “Self-sampling for high risk HPV infection among low-income Hispanic women,” has been funded for $300,000 over 3 years. 

Residency Leadership Team awarded grant for procedure clinic

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Drs. Michael Watson and Oscar Noriega were recently awarded a $50K grant by the Coldwell Foundation to increase available procedural clinic training within the Family Medicine Center. The procedure clinic’s goal is to reduce skin cancer incidence by educating our patients about skin cancer risk and training our resident physicians to perform necessary procedures without referrals out of the Family Medicine Center.  According to the latest statistics available from the American Cancer Society and the CDC: In the U.S. alone, more than 2 million Americans will be diagnosed in 2013 with non-melanoma skin cancer, and about 76,690 will be diagnosed with melanoma. The procedure clinics will be available on Wednesday afternoons.

Dr. Navkiran Shokar selected for the Future Directions Workgroup for CPRIT

The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has announced that 15 prominent Texans engaged in the fight against cancer have agreed to help spearhead four regional stakeholder meetings as part of CPRIT's Future Directions initiative. The group will help distill participant insights and recommendations from the meetings into actionable recommendations that will be presented at CPRIT's 2012 annual conference, to be held October 24-26 in Austin. For more information on this workgroup, please see CPRIT article.

Dr. Kathryn Horn Selected to Attend Prestigious ELAM Program

Kathryn Horn, M.D., associate professor of family and community medicine, and associate dean for Student Affairs, TTUHSC Paul L. Foster School of Medicine has been selected to attend the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) Program for Women at Drexel University College of Medicine. The 18th incoming class for ELAM®, is the only program in the U.S. dedicated to preparing senior women faculty for positions of leadership at academic health centers, where they can ultimately play a role in academic health organizations becoming more inclusive of different perspectives and responsive to societal needs and expectations.  ELAM also aims to increase the diversity of women in leadership positions, and to continue to expand its reach beyond the U.S. The class includes women from around the world with various backgrounds and experiences, and from 48 different institutions. Dr. Horn joins 54 other fellows for the 2012-2013 class.

Introducing our New Chief Residents

This year, residents and faculty have selected two strong and mature young  physicians, full of energy and vigor to enhance our residency and “raise the bar” to a higher academic level in scholastics, patient care, and clinical education - they are Kacie Cassaday DO and Alba Nidia Nevarez MD.   Both share qualities that demonstrate strong leadership and organizational skills, extra-curricular and community outreach experiences, strong academic standing, dedication to teaching, and provide exemplary patient care.  Their interpersonal skills are well recognized by their peers, faculty, and staff.

Kacie Cassaday DO joined us from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.  Her interests include watching OU football and basketball, and she also enjoys cooking.  She has good company with her cats (Hazel and Stitch) and her husband who is doing his surgical residency at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. 

Alba Nidia Nevarez MD is a “home grown” native from El Paso who attended UTEP and graduated from the School of Medicine at TTUHSC.  Her hobbies include dancing, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.  As incoming Chief Residents and in the role of “Junior Faculty” they will lead and participate in endeavors that will continue to improve and enhance our residency curriculum, recruitment, PCMH development, and clinical teaching. They will serve us well as the new Chief Residents for the 2012-2013 academic year. 

Highlight on Sports Medicine  

Our Sports Medicine Clinic staffed by Dr. Arthur (Tony) Islas and Dr. Justin Wright was recently highlighted in the El Paso Times. The Sports Medicine Clinic focuses on a number of topics, including exercise physiology, sports nutrition, sports psychology and neurophysiology of head injuries. Please click on the link for more information on the article: El Paso Times