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WHEN 10 am to 3:30 pm April 5 WHERE NMSU, 1290 Frenger Mall, Science Hall, Las Cruces MORE or (575) 646-3728 Toxicology review “Pills and Thrills that Kill” will review new approaches to toxicological problems and changes in management of the poisoned patient. WHEN April 10-12 WHERE El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center, One Civic Center Plaza, El Paso MORE (915) 783-6204 Chagas Vaccine Presenting is Igor Almeida, PhD, a UTEP biological sciences professor who developed the breakthrough Chagas Vaccine. WHEN noon to 1 pm April 23 WHERE TTUHSC, Clinic Science Building, 3500 A, 4801 Alberta Ave., El Paso MORE (915) 783-6204 Perinatal conference 6th Annual “Spectrum of Healthcare from Mother to Baby” conference. WHEN April 25 WHERE El Paso

Announcements Horses and Humans Foundation issues a call for research on the therapeutic effects of horses on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury. Grants averaging $50,000 each will be awarded. Deadline: May 15 Little Giraffe Foundation is accepting letters of intent for 2014 Neonatal Research. Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded for research related to long-term and immediate health needs caused by premature birth as well as identifying causes of premature birth and ways to prevent it. Deadline: May 16 American Psychological Foundation will award one grant of $10,000 to an early-career psychologist in support of his/her research on and career orientation toward treatment of serious emotional disturbance in children. Deadline: May 15 The Howard Hughes Medical Institute seeks to appoint up to 25 new biomedical researchers through a national open competition. The initiative represents an investment of approximately $150 million in basic biomedical research over the next five years. Deadline: June 3

American Psychological Foundation Brain injury medicine is accepting applications for its 2014 Visionary Grants of $20,000. Grants Mentis El Paso hosts its 2nd “Brain will support research, education, and Injury Medicine” Conference. It provides a look at the management of a interventions that use psychology range of issues faced by persons with to solve social problems. Deadline: April 1 acquired brain injuries and provides insight into the impact of these proThe Arnold P. Gold Foundation and cedures at multiple stages along the the Schwartz Center for Compascontinuum of care. sionate Healthcare issues a request WHEN 7 am to 5 pm April 26 WHERE Centennial Club, Fort Bliss MORE Synapse Founding Editor Noemi Rojas 201 E. Main, Ste. 1514, El Paso, TX 79901 More at (915) 613-2478 ext. 2

for abstracts in association with the “Advancing Compassionate Care Through Interprofessional Education For Collaborative Practice” conference that will be held in Atlanta Oct. 30 through Nov. 1, 2014. Deadline: May 30 Learn more at Recent Job Openings • Speech Language Pathologist Mentis Neuro Rehabilitation (El Paso) • Pediatric Cardiologist - Pediatrix Medical Group (El Paso) • Business Office Supervisor - Peak Behavioral Health Services (Santa Teresa, NM) • Chief Medical Officer - San Vicente Centro Familiar de Salud (El Paso) • Recreational Therapist - Geriatric Behavioral Unit, Providence Memorial Hospital (El Paso) More at

Synapse® is a publication of the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The foundation works to advance development of the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) campus and the Paso del Norte community research agenda. The vision is to position the region as the global leader of health care delivery, education and research concentrating on issues unique to Hispanic, border and military populations. The MCA campus is an integrated complex of medical facilities anchored by University Medical Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, and El Paso Children’s Hospital. It is site to the future Cardwell Collaborative, a biomedical innovation center being developed by the MCA Foundation.


March/April 2014

Issue 4, Vol. 4

Subscribe at Pediatric Inpatient Dermatology Arturo R. Dominguez, MD, Director of Dermatology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. WHEN 8 am March 5 WHERE TTHUSC Paul L. Foster School of Medicine MORE UMC Construction Fair Construction and FFE trades are invited to a informational fair about upcoming construction projects associated with UMC’s $152 million bond initiative. WHEN 8:30 to 11:30 am March 6 WHERE Marriott Hotel, El Paso Milagro Gala Maya Angelou will be the featured speaker at this year’s Milagro Gala, which raises funds for El Paso Children’s Hospital. WHEN March 7 WHERE El Paso Convention Center MORE (915) 521-7229 Cultural Competence Seminar 3rd Cultural Competence Seminar in Healthcare. WHEN 8 am to 5 pm March 28 WHERE DoubleTree Hotel, 600 N. El Paso, downtown El Paso Workshop: STEM for young girls The aim is to influence girls in 5th to 10th grades to take more math, computing, engineering and science courses. continue calendar on back

SPHN opens ER in Northeast and unveils expanded ER on Eastside Sierra Providence Health Network (SPHN) has converted its existing urgent care center in Northeast El Paso into a fully equipped emergency room (pictured). The facility, 11380 Gateway North, will be open 24/7. Meanwhile, east El Paso now has a larger emergency department at Sierra Providence East Medical Center. The expansion is part of the $67 million construction project at the five-year-old hospital, and takes the number of treatment rooms from 20 to 38. It includes seven fast-track rooms, three trauma/shock rooms, and two negative-pressure isolation rooms. See more pictures at Student-run medical clinic opens in the Sparks community Four students from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine have opened a free clinic on the far eastern edge of El Paso County. The clinic opened with a ribbon cutting in late January. It is the first and only clinic run by students from the medical school. It is located in the Socorro Ramirez Health Center in the Sparks Colonia. RedSky opens marketing manager position The Biomedical Institute of the Americas, also known as RedSky, is looking to hire a Brand and Digital Marketing Manager. RedSky is a new company formed by the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation in 2012. RedSky has ambitions to be known globally as a premier innovation partner for inventors and early stage healthcare innovation organizations. The person hired for the position will manage and fundamentally contribute to a different approach to branding and marketing a company within the healthcare innovation industry. This is a ground floor opportunity to help shape a visionary company. For more information, go to Military medical personnel practice trauma at UMC In December 2013, Fort Bliss military medical personnel began working alongside staff at University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC). The partnership was made official on Jan. 7 when an agreement was signed between Fort Bliss Hospital Commander Colonel Peter Lehning and James N. Valenti, president and CEO of UMC. This new affiliation helps to ensure that military caregiver skills remain sharp during periods of non-deployment. UMC is El

March/April 2014 RESEARCH

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Paso’s only Level I Trauma Center. William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Fort Bliss is a Level III. This agreement is the second partnership UMC has implemented with Fort Bliss. Texas Tech researchers publish in JAMA, make headway on disorder In a recent study authored by physicians from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in El Paso, it was found that the use of antidepressant nortriptyline compared with placebo does not improve symptoms of gastroparesis, a mysterious disorder that paralyses the stomach muscles. While the medication did not much improve patients’ conditions, there are still some findings that can be useful to researchers. The study was published in the Dec. 25th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). NMSU nursing professor awarded grant for patient-driven research New Mexico State University (NMSU) School of Nursing Associate Professor Becky Keele is the lead investigator for a $15,000 funding award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Keele’s project will take a community-driven approach, with the Anthony, NM community serving as the project’s focus. Members of the community work group will be recruited from the education and health care systems, business and policy-making sectors and families. The group will work to discover strategies to promote healthy eating and physical activity to reduce health disparities related to overweight and obesity issues. The project runs through Oct. 14, 2014. CPRIT awards $2.2M to El Paso researcher The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) will award almost $2.2 million to two projects that address cervical and breast cancer screening in the region. Both projects are led by Navkiran Shokar,


MD, MPH, associate professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at TTUHSC El Paso Center of Excellence in Cancer. One project provides free education, mammograms, further testing and navigation services for women qualifying for breast cancer screenings. The other project provides free education, pap smears, colposcopy testing and navigation services for women qualifying for cervical cancer screenings. The new funding for these projects will provide access to testing and support for women who otherwise may not get screened. Air Force selects young scientist from UTEP to receive funding An investigator from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has been selected by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to be part of its Young Investigator Research Program. Forty-two scientists and engineers from 32 research institutions were selected from across the U.S. The UTEP engineer is David Robertson, PhD, for his project titled Synthesis of 3D-printable Polymer Matrix Composites. Robertson is part of an elite company who will receive a portion of $15.5 million in research funding over a three-year period. US–Mexico field office in El Paso closes after seven decades The Pan American Health Organization, a subdivision of the World Health Organization, has informed the governments of Mexico and the U.S. that its 72-year-old field office in El Paso will close. PAHO/WHO said it will maintain ongoing technical cooperation in the border area between the two U.S./Mexico states. More than 200 experts and partner organizations were consulted in the process. The decision was taken jointly by the two member states. The El Paso office was established in 1942 as PAHO/WHO’s first field office.

REAL ESTATE Foundation starts ‘Challenge Fund’ to spur giving to health programs The Paso del Norte Foundation has launched the Challenge Fund, a pilot program established with a grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. The program aims to inspire charitable giving for health-related programs in the region. In that vein, the Paso del Norte Foundation will match up to 50 cents for each dollar raised by select nonprofits through existing sponsored events in 2014 up to a certain dollar amount. UMC announces new clinical coordinator for ICU Dustin Bierman, MSN, RN, is the new clinical coordinator for University Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit. As Clinical Coordinator, he is responsible for the unit’s clinical resources and participates in the development, implementation and evaluation of unit-specific systems/activities. NMSU’s new Fulton Chair aims to create health disparities center NMSU’s College of Health and Social Services has appointed Jill McDonald as its first-ever Stan Fulton Endowed Chair in Health Disparities Research. As director of the Southwest Institute for Health Disparities Research, McDonald is preparing the researchbased facility to respond to the health challenges found in southern New Mexico and border counties. “We would like to be a major health disparities center in the region,” said McDonald. Prior to NMSU, she served 18 years with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Reproductive Health. Mena appointed to EPA Science Advisory Board Kristina Mena, MSPH, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health in El Paso has been appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chartered Science Advisory Board. The EPA’s Science Advisory Board is identi-

MCA NEWS fied as a scientific/technical advisory committee created to provide independent advice and peer review to EPA’s administrator on environmental issues. Mena’s appointment goes through Dec. 2, 2016. Memorial Medical Center names Steve Ruwoldt as COO Memorial Medical Center (MMC) has named Steve Ruwoldt as its new chief operating officer. Ruwoldt assumes this leadership role at the hospital following his role as interim chief executive officer last fall. He has more than 20 years of healthcare and hospital administration experience. He served as president/CEO of Salem Community Hospital in Salem, Ohio. Prior to Salem, he served as president of Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, New York. Read more at Del Sol Medical Center names new COO from San Antonio Del Sol Medical Center has named Gary Purushotham as its new chief operating officer. He had been director of management engineering at Methodist Healthcare System, also an HCA entity. In 2007, he was accepted into HCA’s executive accelerated market program, and worked as an associate COO at Methodist Texsan Hospital in San Antonio. Read more at Medical Society inducts officers The El Paso County Medical Society installed their 2014 board leadership Jan. 15. Dr. Juan M. Escobar was inducted as president, president-elect is Dr. Syed A. Yusoof, vice president/ secretary is Dr. David Mansfield, treasurer is Dr. Gilberto A. Handal, assistant treasurer is Dr. Juan Perez. In addition, 12 physicians were honored: Manuel L. Acosta, Louis M. Alpern, Dionicio M. Alvarez, Earl W. Gorby, Carlos A. Gutierrez, Gilberto A. Handal, Rajendra K. Marwah, Laurance N. Nickey, David M. Palafox, Stefan G. Sarre, Werner E. Spier and John M. Tune.

EDUCATION CEO of Del Sol discusses possible new care centers, ER units El Paso Inc. published a Q&A with Jacob Cintron, CEO of Del Sol Medical Center. Cintron said Del Sol administrators are evaluating possible locations and quantities for urgent care centers and freestanding emergency departments. He stopped short of making an official announcement, but conceded, “We’re very close. Very, very close.” Topping out for Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing building Texas Tech’s Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing in El Paso had a topping out of the last steel beam on its new building. The Jan. 10th event marks the start of the next phase of interior construction. The 34,000-square-foot facility is slated for completion in October. The building is another development advancement of the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) campus, an international biomedical community anchored by El Paso, Texas. UMC looks at establishing RN anesthetist program In a recent mass email, James N. Valenti, CEO and president of University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC), announced that the hospital is “exploring a possible joint venture in which we establish a certified registered nurse anesthetist program at Texas Tech’s nursing school.” The venture would involve Somnia, an anesthesia services firm. Somnia was recently selected by UMC to be its contracted provider of services. The decision, which was based on overall pricing and improvement, was criticized by some faculty at the TTUHSC Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, saying the move will be instrumental in the closing of the existing An-

TECH / TECH TRANSFER esthesiology Department at Texas Tech, which had been the provider of services to UMC on an $11.2 million contract. More at NMSU officially opens Aggie Innovation Space NMSU officially opened its Aggie Innovation Space Feb. 19. Aggie Innovation Space gives students space to collaborate on projects and access to mentors, new technologies and the latest engineering design software and tools. It is equipped with 3-D printers, an electronics station, programmable development boards, robotics kits, software and low-resolution prototype materials. The Aggie Innovation Space was possible through $70,000 from Intel that matched $50,000 from the College of Engineering through the President’s Performance Fund. The funds were leveraged with additional contributions from other partners and alumni. Children’s Hospital offers new test for children with tummy troubles El Paso Children’s Hospital now offers the Hydrogen BreathTracker Test, which hospital leaders say is the only minimally invasive test in El Paso that detects lactose intolerances in children. The test is designed to help children with chronic gastrointestinal symptoms. Hydrogen breath tests are a non-invasive test. Kindred Hospital implements electronic health record system Kindred Hospital El Paso, a provider of long-term acute care hospital services, is implementing an electronic medical record and technology system. The system is ProTouch and should increase efficiency and help reduce the chance of medical errors. Full implementation of the system is set for March 26. Synapse is a digital digest of life sciences news covering the El Paso/Las Cruces region. Subscribe at for free monthly email delivery of Synapse.

Mar Apr 2014 - Synapse  

The first and only life sciences news digest of the El Paso, Texas / Las Cruces, NM region.