Salud y Saludos
Salud y SaludosJanuary 2014
In This Issue
From the Dean's Desk
Exciting Developments in Occupational Therapy
Meet our Alumni: Sue Glover Mottinger, Ph.D.
UTEP Host Centennial Symposium on Resiliency and Hispanic Mental Health
DPT Program Welcomes Dr. Michelle Gutierrez
Centennial Lecture Series in Physical Therapy: Contemporary Topics in Orthopedic Rehabilitation
UTEP Sets Its Sight on Healthy Vision
College of Health Sciences Welcomes MHIRT Class of 2014
Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living Welcomes Executive Director, Leah Whigham, Ph.D
New Building 
Calendar of events

Thursday May 8, 2014
6:00 PM
Magoffin Auditorium: College of Health Sciences, Spring 2014 Graduation Celebration and Hooding Ceremony
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From the Dean's Desk 
Dean Curtis

Happy New Year and welcome back to our faculty and students for our university's centennial year! As mentioned in previous newsletters, UTEP and the College of Health sciences have planned a year of celebration, reaffirmation and outreach to our alumni, friends and our regional community. Check out the latest on the Centennial website. An original Pickaxe Art exhibit was unveiled recently and the Pickaxe art will be exhibited all over El Paso.  Follow the Centennial Calendar throughout 2014.

Read below about all the developments in the College of Health Sciences. We are especially proud to present our alumna, Dr. Sue Glover Mottinger, who recently funded an endowed scholarship for Kinesiology students. Our deepest appreciation to Dr. Glover for her generosity and commitment to helping future students!

Our Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program is off to a fast start with the White Coat Ceremony on January 7, 2014.  The summer research agenda is shaping up nicely with international projects across a variety of community and environmental health topics.

An outstanding event was held earlier this week with the Centennial Symposium on Resiliency and Hispanic Mental Health,featuring an international leader focusing on mental health research in underserved populations, Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at the UC Davis Health System.Featured on the front page of the El Paso Times, the event drew great participation and much interest of our regional community. Many thanks to Dr. Mark Lusk and team for such a great start to our centennial event calendar!

Go Miners!
Kathleen Curtis, PT, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Health Sciences

Exciting Developments in Occupational Therapy

This is an exciting time in the occupational therapy department. We said goodbye to Dr. Stephanie Capshaw who served as Program Director since 2010. Prior to that, she was a UTEP professor and Fieldwork Coordinator since 2004. She was instrumental in coordinating a study abroad experience in Antigua, Guatemala for UTEP students. She has recently moved on to become Educational Director at a pediatric clinic and research foundation in Denver, Colorado which is a great opportunity for her and her family. She will certainly be missed and we wish her the best in Colorado.

We welcome our Interim Program Managing Director Dr. Mark Lusk who joined UTEP in 2007 as professor and chair of the Social Work Department. Dr. Lusk also served from 2008 to 2011 as Associate Dean for the College of Health Sciences. He has a wealth of administrative knowledge. His practice and research experience are in medical social work, drug counseling, and international social work. He has received Fulbright Fellowships and was the recipient of the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rio Grande Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). He is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. We extremely excited to have him in the occupational therapy department and look forward to working with him.

We also welcome Gretchen Kimble, OTR, adjunct professor for the 2014 Spring Semester. She grew up in Wyoming and received her OT degree from the University of Kansas in the year 2000. She has worked in various settings throughout her career from pediatrics to geriatrics, acute care, inpatient rehab, home health, and worked in a vocational rehab setting working with individuals with low vision and blindness. She is also the proud mother of four children ages 10, 8, 4, and 6months old. She enjoys outdoor activities and staying physically active doing yoga, mountain biking, and racquetball. We are pleased to have her as part of our faculty and program. She will certainly bring in a wealth of clinical knowledge and skills.

Meet our Alumni: Sue Glover Mottinger, Ph.D.

I am Sue Glover Mottinger, PhD,1965 graduate of then Texas Western College (UTEP). I arrived on campus from Alamogordo, New Mexico. I wanted to go elsewhere but because of circumstances and friendly persuasion from my daddy who knew best, TWC became my life.

What TWC provided was awesome in that I fell in love with everything it had to offer. As a student, I made lifelong friends as a member of Zeta Tau Alpha (Zetas), was an officer in Zeta, and became a cheerleader for TWC during 1963-64. My leadership skills were honed even further as an officer in the Physical Education Majors Club (PEM) as well as the Student Intramural Director for TWC. My political skills were developed at TWC and remain a vital part of me today. I was awarded the top honor from the PEM Club my senior year as the "Most Outstanding Major". To this day I display the award in my office.

TWC provided the setting and opportunities to develop leadership skills with a variety of experiences. The Physical Education and Health faculty encouraged all students to participate at TWC at the state and national levels.

With the encouragement of the TWC faculty, my first teaching job was in El Paso ISD and my career grew from there. I taught in the public schools of New Mexico and even Head Start in the '60s. I obtained my masters and doctoral degrees in Exercise Physiology and Administration from Texas Woman's University. My higher education teaching career included positions at the Texas Woman's University, the College of Charleston, South Carolina, and the University of Texas-Pan American in the Valley where I eventually retired. I was one of five faculty members in The University of Texas System that developed the first and subsequently awarded the Most Outstanding Online Graduate Degree Program in Kinesiology.

Leadership positions included being elected twice President of the Faculty Senate for UT-Pan American. I served on the TAHPERD Board of Directors as well as various leadership positions throughout TAHPERD. My leadership skills influenced by TWC-UTEP continued when I became the Executive Director of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport in Washington, DC.

My life has been and continues to be for the advancement and promotion of girls and women in every endeavor particularly sport and education in our country and throughout the world. While in Washington, DC I worked for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, the Restoration of the Civil Rights Act of 1987, which included Title IX. When Title IX was passed in 1972, Texas was one of the last states to implement equality of sports for girls and women. Yes, I was a public school teacher at the time and on the front lines of lobbying, marching, and achieving equality for girls and women in sport and education in the country as well as Texas.

UTEP -TWC definitely transformed my life. The opportunities to excel were limited only by my imagination and determination. Because of encouragement and influence by the TWC faculty, my leadership skills were sowed. As an alumnae of UTEP, I want to help others sew their seeds to achieve what their imaginations offer. It is the commitment of the university, faculty, administration, and alumnae to provide the opportunities for a student to achieve, to put one's life in gear, and reach far and wide. One is only limited by what one allows. The endowment I establish is designed to help remove an obstacle for a student to achieve. One can achieve any and every thing with a team. I want to be a member of the UTEP team that opens the imagination and determination of UTEP students who want to achieve.

Note: In December, 2013 Dr. Mottinger established the Sue Glover Mottinger, Ph.D. Endowed Scholarship to provide annual scholarships for students majoring in Kinesiology. We look forward to her generous gift making a difference in the lives of our Kinesiology students! Thank you Dr. Mottinger- we are so proud that you are a UTEP Alum!!

UTEP Hosts Centennial Symposium on Resiliency and Hispanic Mental Health

What: Centennial Symposium on Resiliency and Hispanic Mental Health

When: 9 a.m. - Noon, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014

Where: Tomas Rivera Conference Center, Third Floor, Union Building East, University of Texas at El Paso

Mental health experts discussed the role of resiliency in coping with stress and challenges  during the recent Centennial Symposium on Resiliency and Hispanic Mental Health at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Organized by UTEP's College of Health Sciences' Department of Social Work and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the conference will emphasize the strengths of Hispanics in building mental health and wellness.

"This discussion will take a new direction in examining Hispanic mental health," said Mark Lusk, Ed.D., professor of social work at UTEP. "Traditional examinations of mental health among Hispanic-Americans have focused on risk factors and deficits that impede wellness. In contrast, the symposium will emphasize the resilience of Hispanics in adapting to stress and life challenges." Some of the protective factors in Hispanic mental health include culture, family, community, respect, tradition, and faith, Lusk said.

The keynote speaker will be Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally renowned expert on mental health in ethnic populations. He is the director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and a professor of medicine at the University of California at Davis.

Other speakers include Edward Castańeda, Ph.D., professor in UTEP's Department of Psychology; Arthur Islas, M.D., associate professor, and Amelia Leony-Carrete, faculty associate, at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center's Paul L. Foster School of Medicine; and Margie Rodriguez Lesage, Ph.D., LMSW, a former professor at Michigan State University's School of Social Work and at th UTEP Department of Social Work.

The symposium is the first in a series of events planned by the College of Health Sciences to celebrate UTEP's 100th anniversary.

For more information about the conference, contact Mark Lusk at or 915-747-8588.

DPT Program Welcomes Dr. Michelle Gutierrez

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program welcomes Michelle Gutierrez, PT, DSc, our newest Core Faculty Member. Dr. Gutierrez comes to us from from William Beaumont Army Medical Center where she was a senior physical therapist for the past 14 years. Dr. Gutierrez has Bachelor of Science in Health Care Sciences and a Master of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Texas, Medical Branch in Galveston. She earned her Doctor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Her dissertation is titled Development and Content Validity of the Military Concussion Readiness Inventory for Dizziness and Balance for Service Members. Dr. Gutierrez is a well-respected expert in vestibular rehabilitation. She also has expertise in musculoskeletal physical therapy. Dr. Gutierrez is very much involved a leader in the American Physical Therapy Association, in the Neurology Section's Vestibular Special Interest Group and has served the profession in several offices in recent years. The UTEP DPT Program is thrilled to welcome Dr. Gutierrez to our ranks!

Centennial Lecture Series in Physical Therapy: Contemporary Topics in Orthopedic Rehabilitation

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program enthusiastically invites all physical therapists to join us on February 20, March 6, and March 20 from 6:00 to 8:00pm in the Campbell Building, Room 234 for six hour of continuing competency education in orthopedic physical therapy. The three-part series covers topics related to the care of people with low back pain, anterior cruciate injury management and an update on shoulder pain. The courses are taught by Eric Robertson, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT who is an assistant professor of physical therapy at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. He is board-certified in orthopedics and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists. Dr. Robertson teaches musculoskeletal, pharmacology, and radiology courses in the DPT program at Regis University, in addition to serving as faculty in their Fellowship in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy. Dr. Robertson currently serves as the public relations chair for APTA's Orthopaedic Section. He has authored several web-based continuing education courses for entry-level and post-professional physical therapy residency and fellowship programs. In addition to his research related to lower back pain, he explores innovative teaching strategies using technology to maximize learning among physical therapy students. Dr. Robertson has several peer-reviewed publications and contributes to popular health websites. He is the founder of 2 websites,, a popular blog devoted to critical observations of health, science, and the physical therapy profession as well as, an open-source repository of peer-reviewed physical therapy educational content.

UTEP Sets Its Sight on Healthy Vision

The College of Health Sciences of the University of Texas at El Paso welcomed the National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) on January 11 for a lively workshop on preventing vision loss in people with diabetes. The four-hour workshop was well attended by more than 35 participants, including community health workers, physicians, program managers, and community members.

NEHEP Director Neyal Ammary-Risch said, "Most people with diabetes know they should get their blood glucose checked regularly, but many don't know they should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. People often wait until they notice vision problems to see an eye care professional, but many eye diseases have no symptoms in their early stages. An eye exam can detect them early, when they are most treatable. That's where NEHEP comes in."

NEHEP, a program of the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health, works to increase awareness among healthcare professionals and the public of scientifically-based health information that can be applied to preserving sight and preventing blindness.

The UTEP workshop was conducted in Spanish and introduced participants to NEHEP's Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit. Participants had the opportunity to learn about diabetes, eye complications of diabetes, and the importance of regular dilated eye exams. They also had the opportunity to practice using the resources and discuss how to use the materials in community and clinic settings.

The workshop featured Dr. Michael Maldonado, an Optometric Glaucoma Specialist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and a member of the NEHEP Planning Committee. Dr. Maldonado helped deliver the workshop and answered questions about vision problems.

Part of a national training effort, this workshop has taught more than 380 people to deliver educational sessions about diabetic eye disease in their communities. Diabetic eye disease includes cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Everyone who has diabetes is at risk of getting diabetic eye disease.

Dr. Eva Moya, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Silvia Chávez Baray, Lecturer of the Department of Social Work at UTEP coordinated the workshop. Moya said: "The workshop was engaging, productive, and insightful. We had excellent attendance and representation from various sectors."

By working with institutions such as UTEP, NEHEP hopes to decrease the rising prevalence of vision loss from diabetic eye disease and increase the quality of life for people with diabetes.

To learn more about diabetic eye disease or to download the Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit, visit

College of Health Sciences Welcomes MHIRT Class of 2014

Congratulations to the Minority Health Interdisciplinary Research Training (MHIRT) 2014 students! Selected to participate in the MHIRT 2014 class are Lydia Carranco (Clinical Laboratory Science), Stephanie Chavez (Nursing), Homero Dominguez (Biochemistry), Ana Garcia (Biology), Natalie Gaytan (Biology), Sarah Jallard (Biology), Diana Lechuga (Nursing), Daniela Marquez (Public Health Sciences), Susana Portillo (Microbiology), and Adam Vera (Biology). These students will be engaged in international research projects and sponsored activities through the $1.34 million  National Institutes of Health multi-year grant award (2014-2018) to the UTEP College of Health Sciences.   

Back Row: Diana Lechuga, Natalie Gaytan, Sarah Jallad, Daniela Marquez, & Adam Vera. Front Row: Homero Dominguez, Lydia Carranco, Stephanie Chavez, Ana Garcia & Susana Portillo

The College of Health Sciences, through the grant entitled Hispanic Health Disparities across Cultures in Latin America: Collaborative Research for the 21st Century collaborates in international research with Universidad de Costa Rica San Jose (San Jose, Costa Rica), Universidad Central del Ecuador (Quito Ecuador), Instituto de Investigaciones Cientificas y Servicios de Alta Tecnologia (Panama City, Panama) and Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud (Panama City, Panama). Students and family members were hosted at the MHIRT Orientation held on January 7, 2014 where students also participated in the white coat ceremony. Welcome to each new member of our MHIRT family.

Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living Welcomes Executive Director, Leah Whigham, Ph.D

Welcome to Leah Whigham, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director of the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (PDNIHL).Relocating to El Paso over the holiday break, Whigham began 2014 as the leader of the new Institute.  She was most recently research nutritionist in the Healthy Body Weight Research Unit of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in North Dakota.

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP); The University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, School of Public Health (UTSPH); Texas Tech Health Science Center-Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (TTUHSC-PLFSOM); and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PdNHF) have established a four-institutional partnership to foster the development of the PDNIHL. The Institute will foster region-wide approaches to healthy eating and active living, with a special focus on youth.

Dr. Whigham has focused on getting to know the region and participated in a Community Tour organized by UTEP's Community Academic Partnership for Health Science Research including agencies supporting our community's health, including Texas A& M Colonias Program, Centro San Vicente familiar de Salud and the Consulate General of Mexico, Ventanilla de Salud Program.The tour ended with a reception at the Café Mayapan.