Message from the Interim Regional Dean

Kristina Mena photo
Kristina Mena, Ph.D., interim regional dean, El Paso

Welcome to UTHealth School of Public Health in El Paso! Established in 1992 on the U.S.-Mexico border, the El Paso campus of the School of Public Health is part of a multi-cultural metroplex where people live, work and play in a dynamic environment. This “big small town” of more than two million people from El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, is a growing community of vital commerce and enriching, educational experiences. However, daily bi-directional travel at the U.S.-Mexico border contributes to the likelihood of infectious disease transmission within a population already burdened with challenges such as diabetes, mental health issues, certain types of cancer, and obesity.

The El Paso campus offers a customized Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), the M.P.H. in health promotion/behavioral sciences, the M.P.H. in environmental health, the Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) in health promotion/behavioral sciences, and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in environmental sciences. Students also may opt to earn an M.P.H. certificate by completing five core courses. In addition, students accepted to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso may elect to pursue the M.D./M.P.H. dual degree with UTHealth School of Public Health in El Paso.

The expertise of the El Paso campus faculty represents each of the five core public health disciplines: health promotion and behavioral sciences; epidemiology; management, policy and community health; biostatistics; and, environmental sciences. The small class sizes at UTHealth School of Public Health in El Paso foster enhanced student mentorship by faculty members; yet students also have opportunities to interact with the other 150+ faculty members located at any of the other five UTHealth School of Public Health campuses across Texas. UTHealth students have the option of taking courses taught face-to-face, through interactive television, or online with this hybrid approach helping students design an academic path that works in their schedule.  

There are an endless number of research opportunities for students to participate by either working with UTHealth faculty and/or pursuing an independent research idea. The El Paso campus has many collaborative partnerships — including at The University of Texas at El Paso and the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (Texas Tech) — as well as with various public health-related agencies in the region and beyond. State-of-the-art laboratories are also available for those students interested in conducting microbiology research in areas such as water quality. 

The diverse population living in this desert, border environment presents compelling situations to address environmental stressors, health-impacting behaviors, and public policy in ways that mitigate disease and promote public health in this growing — yet representative — sector of the nation’s population. The El Paso community has embarked on a mission of enhancing El Paso life through aggressive downtown revitalization and an increased visibility as a place to attract sports, theater and music. Such events, along with the typical, beautiful weather and engaging people, make El Paso an attractive place to live. Please contact us so that we may learn more about you, and how we can work together to reach your goals at the El Paso campus of UTHealth School of Public Health.