Dr. Francisco Becerra
Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization
Dr. Francisco Becerra graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the Universidad Nacional Autonóma de México. He completed his master's degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and earned a doctorate in public health from Mexico's National Institute of Public Health. Dr. Becerra has served as Director General of Health Services with the State of Morelos, Mexico; Director for Academic Agreement and Dissemination at the National Coordination Office of Mexico's National Institutes of Health; Assistant Director of the Center for Health Systems Research at the Ministry of Health of Mexico; and Director General of Federal Hospitals in Mexico. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Becerra was Senior Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean and Coordinator of the European Union funded MASCOT project at the Council on Health Research for Development.
Michael R. Daley, PhD, LMSW-AP, ACSW
Chair, Professor, Department of Social Work
Texas A&M University-Central Texas
Dr. Michael R. Daley is Chair and Professor of the Department of Social Work at Texas A&M Central Texas in Killeen. He currently serves as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work. Dr. Daley received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Houston. Dr. Daley is a former President of the Rural Social Work Caucus and the Association of Baccalaureate Social Workers. He is the former Chair of the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners. Dr. Daley is a former president and Treasurer of NASW/Texas, Chair of the NASW National Ethics Committee, Treasurer of the Alabama Chapter of NASW, and a Board member of the NASW of Legal Defense Fund. His scholarship focuses on rural social work, and he is author of the recently published Rural Social Work in the 21st Century by Lyceum Books.
Rosalinda Mercado-Garza, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
E-Colors in Education, Inc.
Dr. Rosalinda Mercado-Garza is the Chief Executive Officer of E-Colors in Education, a national not-for-profit organization offering human performance and leadership coaching to K-12 and university students, educators and leaders since June 2013. Dr. Mercado-Garza has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Abilene Christian and a Master’s of Education (Med) in Educational Administration and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction from Texas A&M University. She wrote her dissertation on her life story, titled From Being Considered At-Risk to Becoming Resilient: An Auto ethnography of Abuse & Poverty. Dr. Mercado-Garza recently contributed to a book titled, From Being Considered At-Risk to Becoming Resilient: An Auto-ethnography of an Immigrant Child Finding Her Voice in Becoming a U.S. Citizen that will soon be published.
Katherine Giovas, LMSW
Medical Social Worker
El Paso Children’s Hospital
Katherine Giovas, LMSW is a native of El Paso, Texas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in human services from the University of Phoenix and a Master’s Degree in social work from The University of Texas at El Paso. Mrs. Giovas works as a part-time Nephrology Social Worker at Ridgecrest Dialysis Center. She is also employed at El Paso Children’s Hospital as a medical social worker. Her position at El Paso Children’s affords her the opportunity to work with the Center for Prevention MedCARES Clinic. Mrs. Giovas oversees the Period of Purple Crying project, which educates parents of newborns about shaken baby syndrome at El Paso Children’s Hospital. Mrs. Giovas sits on various boards and committees to include: The Human Trafficking Task Force, The Society for Social Work Leadership in Healthcare, National Association Social Work, and Crime Victims’ Rights Council. She remains dedicated to facilitating empowerment for child welfare, social justice, families, and the elderly.
Dr. Miguel A. Guajardo
Associate Professor, Education & Community Leadership
Texas State University
Miguel A. Guajardo is an Associate Professor in the Education and Community Leadership Program and a member of the doctoral faculty in School Improvement at Texas State University-San Marcos. He joined the Texas State University-San Marcos in 2004. His research interests include issues of community building, community youth development, leadership development, race and ethnicity, university and community partnerships, and Latino youth and families. He was a Fellow with the Kellogg International Leadership Program and the Salzburg Seminar. He is also a co-founder and the chairman of the board of directors of the Llano Grande Center for Research and Development an education and community youth development organization in South Texas (http://www.llanogrande.org/).
He is also the co-founder of the Community Learning Exchange, an emerging interdisciplinary community of practice that connects the wisdom of people and the power of place to advocate and work towards community change.
Governor Carlos Hisa
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
Governor Carlos Hisa assumed the Governorship for Ysleta del Sur Pueblo on December 31, 2014, Governor Hisa has served the Pueblo for over 21 years in various professional capacities. He began as an Administrative Clerk in the Contract Health Services Department and advanced his career by becoming a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor for the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program, where he pioneered prevention and intervention programs primarily for tribal youth. In 2001, he became Lt. Governor and without precedent, held the office for thirteen years. As former Lt. Governor and now Governor, Mr. Hisa fulfills executive duties for the Pueblo by performing management and administrative tasks in planning, organizing, and directing tribal administration systems, enterprises, and programs. He provides innovative leadership, supervision, and general direction for the Pueblo's management team. As a tribal leader, he is concerned with building the tribal nation while honoring and executing his traditional role on the Tribal Council. His passion and calling to serve are the core of his personal values.
Dr. Bert Johansson, MD, PHD, FAAP
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
El Paso Children’s Hospital
Dr. Bert Johansson is board certified in General Pediatrics and Pediatric Critical Care. He works at El Paso Children's Hospital and Children’s Hospital of New York and is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Columbia University’s School of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Johansson earned his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biological Chemistry and Mathematics at Yale University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. He completed his MD at The Tulane University School of Medicine and his pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of New York at Columbia University, followed by a fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine at the same institution. Dr. Johansson is the author of 103 peer reviewed scientific articles and is currently funded by Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency to study the influenza virus. Dr. Johansson was part of the Child Advocacy Commission in New York State for 20 years. He enjoys mentoring young people interested in science and medicine, especially disadvantaged students. He speaks to groups all over El Paso County in the hope that he will encourage a few students with his own inspirational story.
Margie Rodríguez Le Sage, PhD, LMSW
Practitioner, Scholar, and Business Woman
Margie Rodríguez Le Sage, Ph.D., MSW, BA, BSW, is a practitioner, scholar, and business woman who focuses on providing caregiving and healthcare navigation. She offers a defined social work philosophy that reflects personal values and lived-experience in the borderlands. Her teaching, which has focused on practice methods and specific health-related topics, and her practice and volunteer work with older, chronically and seriously-ill individuals and their families has been complemented by scholarship that focuses on cultural and linguistic competency.
Dr. Eva Moya
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, College of Health Sciences
The University of Texas at El Paso
Eva M. Moya is a native of the U.S.-Mexico border. Eva has a Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences from the University of Texas at El Paso, a Master of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. With more than 30 years of professional experience in the U.S.-Mexico border region, she is considered a specialist in border health. Dr. Moya was named by Latino Leaders National Magazine in 1994 as one of the top 10 Latinas in health care. Dr. Moya has published a number of papers on health disparities and infectious disease in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico Border Region and coauthored several books.
Her expertise includes border health; advocacy, communication, and social mobilization in TB and HIV/AIDS, and Community Health Workers. Eva served as director for the U.S. Section of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, the Border Vision Fronteriza Outreach Project with the University of Arizona, Centro San Vicente Social Services, and women's health and youth sexuality education endeavors in Mexico. She directed the Border TB Photovoice Project and the TB Division of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association. She was the Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization. Coordinator for SOLUCION TB Expansion with Project Concern International. She directed the PIMSA Transborder TB and Stigma Project. She is the director for the Intimate Partner Violence and the Voices and Images of Domestic Violence research projects. She is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Social Work at UTEP. Eva conducted studies throughout the world during her tenure as a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow. She is active in Kellogg Fellowship Leadership Alliance board. In 2009, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reappointed her to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Healthy People 2020 Advisory Committee. Her research interests include: tuberculosis and stigma, women and migration, U.S.-Mexico border health, HIV/AIDS, and community-based participatory research approaches like the Photovoice method.
Dr. Diana Natalicio
The University of Texas at El Paso
Dr. Diana Natalicio was named president of UTEP in 1988. During her long and distinguished career with the University, Dr. Natalicio has also served as vice president for academic affairs, dean of liberal arts, chair of the modern languages department and professor of linguistics. Her sustained commitment to provide all residents of the Paso del Norte region access to outstanding higher education opportunities has helped make UTEP a national success story.
Dr. Natalicio was recently named to the 2016 TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2015, The Carnegie Corporation of New York honored Dr. Natalicio with its prestigious Academic Leadership Award in recognition of her exceptional achievements during the transformation of UTEP into a national public research university. In 2011, the President of Mexico presented her the Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca, the highest recognition bestowed on foreign nationals. She also received the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award at The University of Texas at Austin, and awarded honorary doctoral degrees by Georgetown University, Smith College and the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon.
Benjamin Alire Saenz
Author, Poet, Educator and Activist
Benjamin Alire Sáenz is a novelist, activist, and writer of poetry and prose for adults and teens. Benjamin was named one of the “Fifty Most Inspiring Authors in the World” by Poets and Writers magazine. He is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the American Book Award for his books for adults. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award winner, the Pura Belpre Award winner, the Lambda Literary Award winner, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. His first novel for teens, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, was an ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second book for teens, He Forgot to Say Goodbye, won the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. He teaches creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso.
Benjamin was born in Old Picacho, a small farming village outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico, forty two miles north of the U.S.-Mexico Border. He was the fourth or seven children. He entered the seminary in 1972. After concluding his theological studies at the University of Louvain, he was ordained as a Catholic priest. Three and a half years later, he left the priesthood. He entered the University of Texas at El Paso. He later received a fellowship at the University of Iowa. In 1988 he received a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship in poetry from Stanford University. In 1993, he returned to the U.S.-Mexico Border to teach in the bilingual MFA program at UTEP.
Ms. Diana Washington Valdez
The El Paso Times
Diana Washington Valdez is an award-winning international journalist and author based in El Paso, Texas. Her credits include numerous multimedia collaborations.
Dr. Vanessa Velez
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
El Paso Children’s Hospital
Dr. Vanessa Velez is a native of El Paso, Texas. She is the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner for the El Paso Children’s Center for Prevention of Child Abuse, MedCARES Clinic, the only entity in the greater El Paso region that provides medical services, emotional support, education and resources to address the psychosocial and medical needs for children who have become victims of abuse and their families. Dr. Velez graduated with honors from the University of Arizona with her Doctoral Degree in Nursing Practice. Dr. Velez also holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from the University of Arizona. After graduating from Texas A&M – Corpus Christi with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she began her nursing career at Providence Memorial Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). She later transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at University Medical Center of El Paso, the only level 1 hospital in a 250 mile radius. She also assisted in the opening of the PICU at El Paso Children’s Hospital. Dr. Velez obtained her first Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Health Promotion from The University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Velez is committed to being the voice of the children who have been victims of abuse in the greater El Paso Region.
Ms. Joyce Wilson
Workforce Solutions Borderplex
Joyce Wilson had an illustrious career in city management service which took her from Richmond, Virginia to Yuma, Arizona, and ended in El Paso, Texas after serving 10 years as the city’s first City Manager. Ms. Wilson has been nationally recognized for her extraordinary work by various organizations, such as the Texas City Management Association (TCMA), International City Management Association (ICMA), the National Association of Public Administration, and several local organizations. She was named El Pasoan of the Year 2014, along with the MountainStar Sports Group, for their work to bring Triple-A affiliated baseball to El Paso.
After 30 years working in city management, Wilson was appointed permanent CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex on January 1, 2015, after having served as interim since June 2014. Workforce Solutions Borderplex is a public non-profit agency of the Texas Workforce Commission. The agency serves a 6 county region in Southwest Texas by providing employers with skilled workers and helping individuals develop the skills needed to thrive in the workplace.