COVID-19 and Social Determinants of Health: Impact on the Border
May 19, 2021, 8:30 a.m.–noon MST
Main Session and Panel 1
Ms. Amanda Aguirre
Former Arizona State Senator Amanda Aguirre presently serves in the capacity of President & CEO of the Regional Center for Border Health, Inc. since 1991 and its subsidiary San Luis Walk-In Clinic, Inc., a primary care rural health medical center. Ms. Aguirre has been involved for more than 35 years in health care and business administration.
In 2007 she established a licensed post –secondary vocational training center in the area, the RCBH’s “College of Health Careers”, which has generated job opportunities for over 1,800 individuals. Ms. Aguirre has built these corporations that have become multi-million dollars corporations providing employment for 329 employees in a slow recovering economy.
In 2003 Ms. Aguirre became the first female and first Hispanic to represent District 24 (new legislative district 4) in the Arizona House of Representatives and in the Arizona State Senate (in 2006) where she served in the Arizona State Senate through 2010.
In 2016 she became an ASU Morrison Institute’s Distinguished Fellow. This title and role was created in 2012 by the institute as a way to utilize the institutional knowledge and innovated thinking of Arizona leaders.
In 2015 Ms. Aguirre was featured in “Los Otros Mexicanos”, a documentary based on her career. Documentary was created by National Polytechnic Institute, Canal Once, from Mexico City. This documentary highlights Mexicans that have immigrated into the United States.
In March 28, 2012 received the Arizona Latina Trailblazer Award: Stories of Courage, Hope & Determination.
In March 8, 2007 Ms. Aguirre was highlighted as one of the “10th Most Influential Hispanics” in Arizona.
In 2003 Governor Janet Napolitano appointed Ms. Aguirre to serve as a member of the Arizona Governor’s Homeland Security Council, (being the only State Legislator in such council) and reappointed on August 2005.
Athena Award-Yuma County Chamber of Commerce- Award given to women who has displayed leadership, business and professional growth. January 2002
In January 2002 Amanda appeared on Univision “Nuestro Orgullo” Hispano, a segment in which recognizes outstanding individuals within the Hispanic community and for being a role model for the Latino society.
January 2000-2003 Ms. Aguirre served as member of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission appointed by President Clinton.
The Ohtli Award instituted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to recognize Mexican nationals living broad who are making a difference in their communities. Received in March 3, 2000.
U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association for the 1999 Award for Health Worker of the Year.
Ms. Aguirre is the proud mother of two successful young adults, her daughter Lucy is a MIT graduate Master’s Degree Program, School of Chemistry (Organic Chemistry), Boston, MA.
Lucy works for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. as an Organic Chemistry Patent Agent Examiner.
Her son Major A. Aguirre graduated from the U.S.A. Air Force Academy (2005) with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Major Aguirre is presently the USAF Europe-Africa Recovery Personnel Cell Chief. He served as member of the 33rd RQS Weapons and Tactics Officer, USA Air Force and a HH-60G “Pave Hawk” helicopter pilot. Major Aguirre Jr. completed 5 deployments (Iraq and Afghanistan). In June 2012, he was awarded the U.S. Air Force “Distinguished Flying Cross” for his heroic action in Operation Freedom in Iraq.
Dr. Juan Gabriel Haro Beltran
Juan Gabriel Haro obtained the bachelor’s degree on Administration specialized on management development by the Instituto Tecnológico de Ensenada. He took a master’s on Education Sciences by the Instituto de Investigación y Desarrollo Educativo in the UABC (Autonomous University of Baja California) specialized on Educational Technology, also got his Masters on Education and a Doctorate on Management and Educational by the Centro de Estudios Universitarios de Baja California.
From 1991 to 2001 he worked on the Human Resources department on Cbtis 140 and on several other areas; from 2001 to 2006 he worked on School Management on Cetis 74; was an Auditor and Schools Supervisor for incorporated schools from 2006 to 2008; was Material Resources Director from 2008 to 2011, and also was Administration Services Manager from 2011 to 2014; was Workforce Outreach Director during 2014, Outreach Area Director with DGETI from 2014 to 2019 and its Research and Technology Development State President.
Dr. Haro Beltrán has more than 29 years of experience on college education and has 12 years of experience on higher education.
During his professional roles Dr. Haro Beltrán has worked as a Professor at several education institutes such as UNID, CEUBC, UNIDEP, XOCHICALCO, Centro Universitario de Tijuana teaching on bachelor, masters, and doctorate degrees, as well as a main teacher for Cetis 74 on several careers on regular and self-planned models.
Currently is the Promotion of Quality Management Director with the Education Ministry of Baja California, where also has collaborated on educational projects such as curriculum development and on-line courses development for several education institutes.
He is an expert on education platform design such as DGTI Planea, DGTI Vinculación, MOODGETI, Plataforma Cetis 74, Plataforma CEUBC Rosarito Campus, Mexicali Campus, La Pa Campus, Plataforma Cetis 94 in Tultitlán, Mexico’s State, Plataforma Extensión Universitaria Xochicalco, Plataforma Preparatoria Xochicalco, Cobach Loreto and two educative radio shows “Radio Panteras” and “Expresión Educativa”; was also Master and Doctorate Essay mentor with the Instituto Nacional de Administración Pública; also has published articles on universities magazines, and has certifications, diplomas, local, state, national and international certifications on high school and higher education, has been a speaker on national and international conferences.
Dr. Haro Beltrán has received local, state, national and international awards, and recognitions as a research professor.
Always collaborating with the strength of education institutions with the teaching experience through a high-quality educative performance.
Russell A. Bennett, MBA, CHIE, is a Strategy and Marketing Consultant specializing in health literacy, employee engagement, and health care cost stabilization. He has consulted for the Institute for Healthcare Advancement since 2018 and is on Advisory Councils for various organizations.
Bennett was formerly Vice President, Opportunity Strategy and Development, for myConnections, within UnitedHealthcare (UHC) Community and State. This area of UHC focuses on the Social Determinants of Health (housing, transportation, employment, and financial education) to help people live healthier lives. For fourteen years he was National Vice President of Latino Health Solutions at UnitedHealthcare, leading efforts to better serve and grow UHC’s over 5 million Hispanic/Latino members.
Having worked in various aspects of healthcare for over 27 years, including non-profit, government and for-profit, and spanning from care delivery and health insurance to health education, Bennett has long been committed to providing patients and the public with understandable and easy-to-use health information that will help them make better decisions and lead to better health. especially in underserved communities with language and cultural barriers.
Bennett lived in Mexico for 30 years and is fluent in Spanish and bicultural.
He is a regular columnist for Saludiario, a premier online publication for the medical sector in Mexico and other countries in Latin America. His columns in Spanish appear at: https://www.saludiario.com/author/russell-bennett/
He was the founding executive director (2000-2002) of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission, U.S. Section, for the Department of Health and Human Services (US-DHHS).
Bennett has supported health improvement for many years, with special emphasis on the Latino and Asian communities.
Paul Brierley, Executive Director of Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture, was raised on a family farm in central California. After earning an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree from the University of Colorado, he spent five years conducting applied telecommunications research in the San Francisco Bay area before returning to his agricultural roots. With a background in agriculture, research, leadership and politics, Paul was chosen to serve as the inaugural Executive Director of the University of Arizona’s Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture, which he has built into a highly effective research organization focused on usable results.
Dr. Linda Elliott-Nelson serves as Strategic Partnerships/Vinculación at Arizona Western College. She previously served as the Vice President for Learning Services, the Dean of Instruction, Division Chair of Modern Languages and Professor of Spanish at Arizona Western College. Dr. Elliott-Nelson earned a Ph.D. in Education from Walden University, an M.B.A. and an M.A. in Spanish from Arizona State University, and a B.A. degree from Northern Arizona University. She received the Athena Leadership Award in 2019, the Outstanding University/College Educator Award from the Arizona Language Association in 2000 and the Teacher of the Year from Arizona Western College in 1999. Dr. Elliott-Nelson served as the Chairman of the Board of Arizona Town Hall during 2015-2017, Chair of Arizona Women in Higher Education during 2019-2020, Co-chair of the AZTransfer Steering Committee and Chair of the Arizona Community College Chief Academic Officers, and currently serves on the boards of the Yuma Orchestra Association, Arizona Town Hall, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area and Arizona Women in Higher Education as well as steering committees for Southwest Arizona Town Hall and the Yuma Education Advocacy Council. In 2021, Governor Ducey appointed her to the Arizona Historical Society Board. Her current activities focus on community engagement, education, and development in the Arizona/California/Sonora/Baja California mega-region.
Dr. David Engelthaler is an Associate Professor and the Director of TGen North, the infectious disease arm of the non-profit Translational Genomics Research Institute. He currently oversees the TGen North Clinical Laboratory, that was stood up in March 2020 to specifically provide COVID-19 testing and has provided tests for tens of thousands of Arizonans and has sequenced over 15,000 strains of SARS-CoV-2. Dave also oversees a number of research groups working on the development of analytical tools to detect and characterize infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, valley fever, MRSA, and others. His team at TGen also provides genomic services to CDC and local health departments. He has published 140 scientific papers and chapters on epidemiology, disease ecology, genetics, and microbiology and he has two dozen patented inventions, including assays that received either FDA EUA or 510k clearance. Dave received his Masters in Microbiology from Colorado State University and his PhD in Biology at Northern Arizona University. Dave was previously the Arizona State Epidemiologist and a biologist for the CDC. Dave has worked in federal, state and local government, and has started for-profit and non-profit businesses. Dave sits on a number of local and national Boards and recently he led the establishment of Flagstaff, AZ as “America’s First STEM City”.
Joe K. Gerald, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Public Health Policy and Management at the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health (MEZCOPH). During the Covid-19 crisis, Dr. Gerald has been recognized as one of Arizona’s leading public health voices. He is the co-chair of the Public Health Advisory Committee which provides recommendations to guide the University of Arizona pandemic response. He is the University of Arizona team leader for the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Covid-19 Modeling Consortium which includes the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. Lastly, he Chairs the Covid-19 Advisory Group for Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ). As a respected voice, Dr. Gerald has given 200+ international, national, state and local media placements since March 2020 including CNN, The Washington Post, US New and World Report, The Atlantic, The Arizona Republic, The Arizona Daily Star, and the Arizona Capitol Times.
Diana Gomez, MPH, is the Director/ Chief Health Officer of the Yuma County Public Health Services District.
Diana Gomez is the director of public health for the Yuma County Public Health Services District. Diana has worked in public health for over 20 years and has served on various local, state, and national committees and workgroups to build and sustain collaborative partnerships that promote safe, healthy, and resilient communities. Diana is a member of President of Arizona Local Health Officers Association and the Arizona Department of Homeland Security Regional Advisory Council. She is a Flinn-Brown Fellow, Project CENTRL alum, Co- President of the Binational Health and Environmental Council and was recently recognized by the Kresge Foundation as an Emerging Leader in Public Health.
Robert Guerrero serves as the Chief of the Office of Border Health for the Arizona Department of Health Services. Mr. Guerrero functions as the primary liaison and point of contact between the Arizona Department of Health Services and the public health authorities in the State of Sonora. Mr. Guerrero has served as the ADHS Director’s Delegate to both the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission and the Arizona-Mexico Commission’s Health Services Committee for the last 16 years. As the Director’s delegate Mr. Guerrero works closely with public health authorities in all ten of the states on the U.S.-Mexico Border and with the both federal governments.
The Office of Border Health actively participates across the broad spectrum of public health activities in the Arizona-Sonora Region. Mr. Guerrero is responsible to developing the binational public health agenda between the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Public Health Ministry in the State of Sonora.
Mr. Guerrero serves on the Community Advisory Board for the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, the Pima Community College Chancellor’s Advisory Council, the Board of Directors for the Arizona Rural Health Association, the Pima Medical Institute Respiratory Care Advisory Board, the Board of Directors for ARSOBO, and the Board of Directors for the Tucson International Mariachi Conference. Mr. Guerrero serves as adjunct faculty at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and also serves on the College’s Prevention and Research Center Community Advisory Board. Mr. Guerrero earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Arts from the University of St. Francis and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. His interest and expertise are in binational public health diplomacy and working with communities in the U.S.-México border region, rural Southern Arizona, and México.
Dr. Amit Kumar is a health services researcher and trained in epidemiology. Dr. Kumar is an Assistant Professor on tenure-track at College of Health and Human Services and associated with Center for Health Equity Research, and adjunct faculty at Brown University. His research includes evaluation of relative effect of comorbidities and social risk factors for predicting health outcomes and variation in health care by race and region. Dr. Kumar have done extensive work in older Mexican population both in Mexico and US. Recently, Dr. Kumar is working on various projects examining racial disparity in COVID-19 deaths in US nursing homes and implementing a solution to end health disparities regionally. He is also involved in quality improvement projects with local nursing homes in Northern Arizona to improve post-acute care after COVID-19.
Dr. Kumar has also demonstrated the existence of variation in hospital-based services by race and insurance status and its impact on hospital readmission in older adults using large national Medicare data, after accounting for patient, hospital-level, and regional-level factors.
Joshua LaBaer is one of the nation’s foremost investigators in the rapidly expanding field of personalized diagnostics. His efforts focus on the discovery and validation of biomarkers—unique molecular fingerprints of disease—which can provide early warning for those at risk of major illnesses, including cancer and diabetes.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, LaBaer used his proven capability in diagnostics to repurpose existing equipment and personnel to accelerate testing. The new ASU Biodesign Clinical Testing Laboratory developed a diagnostic test under FDA emergency use authorization, based on qPCR technology, to detect coronavirus for individuals who may have been exposed. This lab gained CLIA certification initially for testing nasopharyngeal swab samples and then became the first in the USA to offer and run public saliva tests for coronavirus.
LaBaer was recruited to the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University as the first Piper Chair in Personalized Medicine in 2009. Previously, he was founder and director of the Harvard Institute of Proteomics.
For his ability to bring teams together to address the world’s greatest health challenges, LaBaer received the Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year Award by AZBio in 2020. Under his leadership, the Biodesign Institute won Innovator of the Year – Academia at the Arizona Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards 2020.
LaBaer is an associate editor of the Journal of Proteome Research, a recent member of the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors, Chair of the Early Detection Research Network Steering Committee and recent president of the U.S. Human Proteome Organization. He has contributed more than 250 original research publications, reviews and chapters.
After earning a medical degree and doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics, from the University of California, San Francisco, LaBaer completed a medical residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and clinical fellowship in oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both in Boston.
Yara Amparo López López specialized on International Migration by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (El Colef)
Bachelor’s degree on Elementary School by the Normal Fronteriza, Tijuana, B.C. Campus
Has been an Academic Consultant during 10 years at several education levels
With 15 years’ experience as a coordinator of program related with Migration and Education, has taught several courses, workshops, and conferences about education topics; has more than 8 years of experience teaching at bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Has published articles on Universidad de Valencia, Spain and at the San Diego University, California. Is the co-author of the book “Migración, Educación y Sociedad: Visiones y experiencias desde la frontera” (Migration, Education and Society: Visions and experiences from the border) by the Red Iberoamericana de Pedagogía (Iberoamerican Pedagogy Network). Member of the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE).
Is certified on U.S. Political Institutions and U.S. Mexico Relations Program by the San Diego California University.
Currently is the Coordinator on the Sistema Educativo Estatal (State Education System), on the Programa Binacional de Educación Migrante (Binational Program of Migrant Education) at the Baja California State Government, where she assists more than 50,000 students born aboard who attend public schools.
Michael J. Sabath is an Associate Vice President for Northern Arizona University and Campus Executive Officer for NAU’s Yuma Branch Campus. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley, an MPA from California State University, and a PhD from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Sabath was with San Diego State University for 23 years serving as a professor, division chair, and Associate Dean. Prior to this, he taught in the School of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at Indiana University-Bloomington. His research has focused on public policy and management issues related to the justice system and transnational cooperation.
Samantha Sabo, DrPH, MPH
Social & political context of chronic disease, border health, indigenous community health, Community Health Workers, social determinants of health of vulnerable populations, community-based participatory research
For more than a decade, Dr. Sabo has examined the social and political context of chronic disease among immigrant and migrating communities of the US-Mexico borderlands and indigenous peoples of the region – with a primary focus on the role and impact of Community Health Worker (CHW) interventions and advocacy on the social determinants of health of vulnerable populations. She has served as a Co-Investigator with the Centers for Disease Control funded Arizona Prevention Research Center and as Co-PI of an NIH – Heart, Lung and Blood-funded Global Alliance for Chronic Disease initiative to reduce cardiovascular risk among diabetic populations of Mexico. Dr. Sabo is a multi-disciplinary, community engaged scholar and uses community based participatory research, mixed, quantitative and qualitative methods and service-learning to understand structural vulnerability and identify community informed approaches to advance health equity.
Evaluating the Impact of Arizona’s Health Start Program on Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health Outcomes, funded by the Arizona Department of Health.
Efrain Silva is the Dean of Economic and Workforce Development at Imperial Valley College. He has a MBA from Northern Arizona University; a BA in Public Administration from san Diego State University (SDSU); and an AA from Imperial Valley College. He currently sits in the Board of Directors of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation (IVEDC). The Imperial County Workforce Development Board, and is a founding member of the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program Foundation which awards scholarships to graduation high school seniors attending post-secondary education. He has served in management positions for over 30 years. Efrain also served as an elected officer in Imperial Valley serving two terms on the El Centro Elementary Scholl Board of Trustees; two terms on the Central Union High School District Board of Trustees, and three terms on the El Centro City Council. Efrain served as the Mayor of El Centro in 2011, 2015, and 2020. In 2010 he received the Monty Award from SDSU as an outstanding alumni. In 2014 he received the Ohthli Award which the highest civilian award by the Government of Mexico to citizens living abroad whose life and work had a positive impact on Mexicans living abroad. He is an farm worker and an immigrant that came to this country at the age of 14 and completed most of his college education at night while learning English and working full time jobs. He is also a proud grandfather (Tata) of four beautiful grandchildren.
Dr. Robert T. Trotter, II is an Arizona Regents’ Professor with expertise is in cross-cultural health care intervention and prevention research, translational and population health-care, evaluation technology, cultural competency research, social network and systems dynamics, and the applied use of ethnographic/qualitative theory and methods used as a research tool for designing and testing prevention and intervention programs. He also has a longstanding interest in cross-cultural bioethical principles, cross-cultural applicability of human subjects’ protections, and indigenous evaluation processes.
Thomas C. Tyree, Yuma County Superintendent of Schools
Tom Tyree has served in public education for 50 years. In August of 2003, Tyree was appointed Yuma County Superintendent of Schools and was elected to the position in 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and again in 2020. Prior to assuming his elected position as County Superintendent, Tyree served as a teacher, head basketball coach, building and central office administrator in school districts in Yuma and Mesa, Arizona.
Tyree was appointed to the Arizona State Board of Education by Governor Jan Brewer in April of 2010 and served five years on the Board, two as President.
Tom has served as the President of the state’s County School Superintendent’s Association having been elected to two terms. He also served as a trustee of Yuma Regional Medical Center serving as Vice – Chair of the Board, Chair of the Western Arizona Council of Governments, Board member and Executive Officer of the Arizona Risk Retention Trust Board and a Board Member and Vice-President of the Arizona Business Education Coalition. In addition, he was President of the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, served on the National Alumni Board for the University of Arizona, the Arizona Western College Foundation Board and a founding member of the Yuma Education Advocacy Council.
He is a native of Arizona and after first attending Arizona Western College, earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Arizona. Tyree was presented with the Public Service Award in 2011 by the University of Arizona Alumni Association for having demonstrated outstanding dedication to the public. Tyree was also inducted into the Yuma High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.
Tyree is married to Mara Vitolins Tyree (former Miss Yuma County) and has two children, Tiffany and Ryan both educators.
Victor Waddell, Ph.D., is currently the Director of the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory and Executive Director for the Arizona Biomedical Research Center., he earned his doctorate in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Queen’s University Belfast, N. Ireland. Dr. Waddell’s other degrees include a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences also from Queen’s University Belfast. Dr. Waddell has published many articles relating to both Public Health and Molecular Biology.
Dr. Waddell has worked for the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory since 2001. As Laboratory Director he is responsible for overseeing the entire laboratory including the Chemistry, Microbiology, Newborn Screening, BioEmergency Response, and Chemical Emergency Response Sections at the State Laboratory. Dr. Waddell served as President of the Association of Public Health Laboratories from 2011- 2012 and is currently President of the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute.
Lorena Zendejas, M.Ed., is the Campus Administrator for Regional Center for Border Health, Inc. College of Health Careers. Lorena promotes and oversees a fast-track educational institution with headquarters in Somerton, AZ that provides allied healthcare accredited vocational certificate programs in Yuma, La Paz and Mohave Counties. Prior to her joining RCBH, Inc./CHC, she was an Educator for 10 years in the Somerton, and Yuma area schools. Lorena is currently an elected official serving in the capacity of Somerton School District Governing Board Member and is serving her third term.
Lorena received her Bachelor of Science in Education, Summa Cum Laude, from Northern Arizona University in 2007 and in 2010 she received her Master of Education – Education Administration in School Leadership