Salud y Saludos
Salud y SaludosDecember 2014
In This Issue
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From the Dean's Desk
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CLS Program was awarded grant from the Stern Foundation
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Physical Therapy White Coat Ceremony
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Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Commencement
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17 Students Completed MOT Program
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Health Promotion and MPH Graduates
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Pharmacy Faculty and Students attend ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting
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Congratulations to Our Banner Bearers and Student Marshalls
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Calendar of events

January 30, 2015
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From the Dean's Desk 
Dean CurtisAs we approach the end of our Centennial year, we have celebrated the successes of the Class of 2014 and laid the foundation for 2015. Read below about all of our outstanding graduates and the great things that they have accomplished.

For this holiday season, the College of Health Sciences committed to refurbish a bedroom for one of the long-term residents of the Opportunity Center, which is celebrating the 12th anniversary in the Magoffin Avenue SRO. This residence primarily serves homeless older adults, who often live there for the rest of their lives. I am so proud of our faculty, staff and students, who generously contributed over $2500, which will enable the Opportunity Center to completely refurbish a room from top to bottom and also purchase some much needed kitchen appliances for the communal kitchen.
Opportunity Center Director Ray Tullius and Lily Tullius attended our Holiday celebration and we were able to present them with our College gift.

Following the first Paso del Norte State of Homelessness Summit, hosted by our College last month, this support will help to fill in some of the gaps caused by loss of funding. Our partnership with The Opportunity Center serves as a model of how universities can mobilize their intellectual and social capital to advance visibility of the complex issues facing this hidden and under-served population. Dr. Eva Moya, Social Work faculty member, has been instrumental in advancing this partnership, engaging our students in a semester-long course held at The Opportunity Center and promoting the visibility of the issues through the November summit. We plan to expand our partnership and involvement in 2015 to other disciplines and groups of students and faculty and to continue to advance these issues in public forums.
My warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season and healthy 2015! And, of course, Go Miners!

Kathleen Curtis, Dean
UTEP College of Health Sciences
CLS Program was awarded grant from the Stern Foundation

The Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Program was awarded $15,500.00 from the Stern Foundation. The grant was awarded to purchase equipment for the growing CLS Program to update the equipment to address advances in clinical laboratories which is important to adequately prepare CLS graduates to serve the community. UTEP's popular CLS Program is growing rapidly while inspiring excellent graduation and placement rates. The CLS Program attracts students with an interest in becoming laboratory clinicians as well as students hoping to attend medical school. The CLS program will be accepting applications for the 2015-2017 cohort until February 28, 2015.

Physical Therapy White Coat Ceremony

The Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2015 celebrated the beginning of their full time clinical education with a White Coat Ceremony. The White Coat Ceremony marks a rite of passage for the Doctor of Physical Therapy students at the University of Texas at El Paso. At this ceremony, the student officially transitions from the study of preclinical sciences to the practice of clinical health sciences. The event emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for the patient as well as scientific proficiency. The cloaking with the white coat is a hands-on experience that underscores commitment to outstanding clinical practice. The coat is personally placed on each student's shoulders by the Program Director, Dr. Deborah Diaz as she affirms her belief in the student's ability to carry on the noble tradition of Physical Therapy.

Next, the student's faculty advisor places the UTEP Doctor of Physical Therapy pin on the student's lapel signifying the advisor's faith and confidence in the student's future in the Physical Therapy profession. The DPT White Coat Ceremony concludes with the students and faculty reciting an oath that affirms our commitment to clinical education, recognizing the special part that patients and clients play in their education.

Each year the cohort invites a faculty member to share an inspirational message. This year, Dr. Loretta Dillon encouraged the students to make a difference in healthcare and in the Physical Therapy Profession by becoming Agents of Change. Also in attendance were Dean Kathleen Curtis, the Core DPT Faculty, selected adjunct faculty and leaders in the local PT Community. This event is student directed. Students who led this effort were Kristy Reilly the Class President, Ashly White, and Lam Le. Music before and after the event was performed by DPT Student and El Paso Symphony musician, Sander Schiller, his wife (El Paso Symphony musician) Brigid McCarthy and his father, Steven Schiller.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Commencement

This year at Commencement, the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program congratulated twenty graduates. During the 31-month program, the graduates spent 1740 hours in didactic, laboratory, and online education with an additional 1520 hours in clinical education. They studied foundational sciences, clinically focused courses in acute care, pediatrics, neurology, orthopedics and wound care. During the final semester, they developed a Capstone Project with faculty mentoring which focus either on a patient case report or systematic review of a topic relevant to physical therapy practice. The Capstone culminated in poster presentations judged by the DPT Core Faculty, and open to the UTEP and surrounding community. At the Graduation Banquet held the night before commencement, four students were recipients of three awards. The DPT Outstanding Scholar award is given to the student or students with the highest grade point average throughout the program. This year there was a tie for this award with Joseph Cole and Evelyn Rodela the recipients of the Outstanding Student Scholar Award, which is funded by Las Palmas/Del Sol Health Network.

Josť Ponce received the Most Valuable PT award (MVPT), an award that is funded by the Greater El Paso District of the American Physical Therapy Association. The individual who receives this award is selected by his/her peers and exudes the utmost professionalism, believes in building relationships, fosters learning and non-competiveness, values ethical, responsible and honest behavior and is a role model to the class and the community.

This year's twenty new graduate Doctors of Physical Therapy look forward to the national licensure examination on January 28, 2015. About a quarter have accepted employment offers. Another quarter are contemplating offers and the rest have firm leads on employment. The employment market for physical therapists is good and all 20 expect to be employed within the month after graduation. The Program faculty wish the members of the DPT Class of 2014 the very best success on their licensure exams and careers!

17 Students Completed MOT Program

During the December commencement ceremonies, 17 students celebrated the successful completion of their coursework and fieldwork, and graduated from UTEP MOT program, moving into the next chapter of their lives. This is an exceptionally strong class.  Lindsay Pace, Mario Carrasco, Monika Remiszewski, and Noah Munoz received Clinical Excellence Awards. They were each nominated by their Clinical Educator(s) and confirmed by the MOT faculty.

Noah Munoz was selected as Graduate Student Marshall during the Hooding and Commencement ceremonies. He also received the "Academic Excellence Award". Born and raised in El Paso and having received a BS from UTEP, Noah is not only academically strong (a 4.0 GPA), but also a true leader. He has contributed greatly to his class and the university: as the OT class representative, SOTA fundraising chair, Vice President of Pi Theta Epsilon Honor Society, an RA for the OT Program and presenting the UTEP MOT Program at the Texas Occupational Therapy Association Conference. In addition, he was a team member of the Guatemala Rehabilitation and Global Heath Team and had served underprivileged children and children with disabilities.

Cristina Balderrama, recipient of the "Outstanding Graduate Student Award", has both excelled academically,  (4.0 GPA), and  also demonstrated a strong commitment to service.  She was actively involved in research, participated and led her classmates in multiple class initiatives and served the community on both the local and global level, as a team member on the Guatemala Rehabilitation and Global Heath Team as well). "My UTEP experience gives me the confidence to not only become a skillful OT, but one that enacts change at the level of the community," said Cristine upon receiving the award.

Congratulations to the OT Class 2014!

Health Promotion and MPH Graduates

The Department of Public Health Sciences is proud to announce the graduation of 11 students. On December 13, 2014 at the UTEP Fall Commencement 7 students were awarded their BS degree in Health Promotion and 4 graduate students received their Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. Health Promotion graduates are prepared to address population health issues through innovative interventions. They are qualified to provide the information and skills necessary to help individuals and communities to make informed decisions about lifestyle and personal health behaviors and to play an important role in preventing and controlling non-communicable and communicable diseases.

Our unique MPH program prepares students for public health practice, research, and leadership positions in Hispanic and border communities in the U.S. and elsewhere. Our program places special emphasis on the promotion of health equity in Hispanic and border communities through the use of evidence-based approaches and the preparation of Hispanic health professionals. Our close partnerships with public health agencies and community-based organizations strengthens the link between theory and practice for students.

Our graduates are transforming communities as they become advocates and leaders in the public health arena. Congratulations to all of our graduates.

 Congratulations to all of our graduates.

Shown in the picture from left to right: Ivan Ulises Sarmiento, Marianee Melissa Frias, Assistant Professor Dr. Thenral Mangadu, Daniela Marquez, and Isabella Marie Corona.
Pharmacy Faculty and Students attend ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting is the largest gathering of pharmacists in the world. With its focus on improving patient care, the meeting is attended by more than 20,000 pharmacy professionals. This year's meeting and exhibition took place in Anaheim, California where pharmacists and pharmacy students were able to network with colleagues, enhance their skills, and learn about the latest products and technologies. Four students and faculty from the UTEP/UT Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program  presented at this year's exhibition.

Stacy Evans, PharmD Candidate 2015, and Amanda Loya, PharmD showcased a poster presentation, Medication use patterns in Hispanic elderly adults with a history of falls residing on the U.S.-Mexico border. Falls are a major health concern for older adults with 30% of this population falling one or more time per year. To conduct this study, a pharmacist and pharmacy student  obtained a comprehensive medication review for each participant during a home visit. The study concluded that pharmacists can play a key role in fall prevention by monitoring for adverse drug events and ensuring patients are only using medications that are properly indicated.

Andrea Ramos, PharmD Candidate 2015, Melissa Carrillo, PharmD Candidate 2015, Margie Padilla, PharmD, Julia Lechuga, PhD, and Jose Rivera, PharmD presented their study, Assessing social determinants and barriers to receiving the influenza vaccine in efforts to develop education materials and increase rates in an underserved Hispanic population. Patients often do not get the flu shot because of common misconceptions that can be addressed by pharmacists. This study allowed for exploration of various beliefs, attitudes and potential barriers. The study concluded that pharmacists have the special privilege and opportunity of educating patients about the benefits as well as the side effects of the flu vaccine.

Tony Hidalgo, PharmD Candidate 2017, Jeri Sias, PharmD, Grecia Heredia, PharmD, and Amador Loya, MD presented their research that explored cultural beliefs about asthma in a U.S./Mexico border town population. This qualitative pilot research study was performed to better understand the perceptions and beliefs regarding the causes and treatment of asthma in a primarily Hispanic population on the border. By identifying these beliefs, pharmacists and providers can better counsel patients to increase adherence.

In attending this meeting annually, the pharmacy students and faculty are able to showcase their hard work and research, as well as network within the pharmacy community.

Congratulations to Our Banner Bearers and Student Marshalls

Four College of Health Sciences students graduated with distinguished honors at the December 13, 2014 Commencement. These students were George Nunez (Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology), Noah Munoz (Master of Occupational Therapy), Chelsea Villa (Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology) and Liliana Jimenez (Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology).

George Nunez served as our Undergraduate Student Marshal and was selected based on his academic achievement. George is graduating Summa Cum Laude. His future plans are to apply for admission to Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs. George was a member of the UTEP Kinesiology Club and Miners Helping Miners Scholarship Committee.

Noah Munoz served as our Graduate Student Marshal. Noah was selected for this honor based on academic achievement, leadership, and campus involvement. Noah graduated with a 4.0 GPA which he maintained throughout the Master of Occupational Therapy Program. Noah's leadership was illustrated as the Vice President of Pi Theta Epsilon and serving as the Student Representative and Fundraising Chair for the Student Occupational Therapy Association. Noah's future plans are to apply the knowledge he gained by practicing as an Occupational Therapist.

Chelsea Villa, served as our College's Banner. The College Banner Bearer is selected based on academic achievement. As an undergraduate student Chelsea volunteered more than 300 hours of her time to our community, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Chelsea was been actively involved in several campus organizations, including the Medical Professions Organization and The Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

Liliana Jimenez was honored by serving as the University Banner Bearer. Liliana graduated Summa Cum Laude. During her studies, she received scholarships from Sierra Providence and Las Palmas/Del Sol Hospitals. She was a member of the University Honors Program. Liliana served in multiple voluntary roles, assisting faculty in the UTEP Physical Therapy Program with research and volunteering in the Neuroscience laboratory in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Skeletal Muscle Metabolism Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology.