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Our Team


Robert Ferrer, MD, MPH - Community Engagement Director is the Dr. John M. Smith, Jr. Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UTHSCSA. Dr. Ferrer is a practicing family physician with research interests at the interface of primary care and public health. He directs the Community Engagement Team for UTHSCSA’s CTSA and the School of Medicine’s MD/MPH dual degree program. Dr. Ferrer is also the Board Chair of the Bexar County Health Collaborative. He is also active in several community health initiatives, including the Mayor’s Fitness Council and partnerships with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.  E-mail: FERRERR@UTHSCSA.EDU



Polly Noel, PhD -  Director of the Center for Practice-Based Research Networks is also an Associate Professor/Research in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Noel is a clinical health psychologist with over 20 years of experience as a health services researcher. Her research has focused primarily on evaluating and improving quality of chronic illness care, especially for individuals with chronic conditions that are under-recognized or sub-optimally managed in the primary care setting.  E-mail: NOELP@UTHSCSA.EDU



Elisabeth De la Rosa, MS - Community Engagement Manager serves as the point of contact for the IIMS Community Engagement Team.  She works with the Community Engagment Team leaders to develop and implement programs that facilitate the continuation and formation of community and academic research partnerships.  For almost 15 years, she has coordinated different projects and research studies within the UT System.  She has been a part of the IIMS Community Engagement Team since 2009 and has worked alongside various partners to help develop, implement, and evaluate various projects that address community health concerns including diabetes, environmental health, teen pregnancy, and suicide. Ms. De la Rosa received her Masters of Science in Sociology from UTSA in 2006.  She believes that it is imporant to work shoulder-to- shoulder with community members on projects that address health concerns that matter to them.   E-mail: DELAROSAE@UTHSCSA.EDU




Jennifer Daniels, BA

Jennifer Daniels, BA  - Network Coordinator facilitates the South Texas Psychiatry Network and the Residency Research Network of Texas (RRNeT). She maintains close communication and relationships with network members, providers and advisory boards to provide them with education and training; research and technical support; and communication and dissemination assistance on their various research projects. Ms. Daniels is originally from Simi Valley, CA. She grew up in the Los Angeles area and moved to the San Antonio area in 2007. She attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and the University of Texas at San Antonio where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a Minor in Women’s Studies. She has been involved with healthcare, both in private practices and insurance companies. She is interested in research that relates to family violence, substance abuse, mental health, and sociological factors that affect underserved populations. E-mail: DANIELSJ4@UTHSCSA.EDU



Dr. Kathleen Stevens

 Kathleen R. Stevens, RN, BS, MS, EdD, ANEF, FAAN. - Community Engagement Co-Investigator is professor of nursing at the UTHSCSA. She  served as founding director of ACE-Center for Advancing Clinical Excellence 2000-2015, leading interprofessional efforts to advance evidence-  based quality improvement and patient safety. Her federally funded activities emphasize healthcare transformation through scholarly work on the  national Improvement Science Research Network, AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange, Institute of Medicine’s report Preventing Medication  Errors, and team performance improvement. She is a fellowof the American Academy of Nursing and the Academy of Nurse Educators and is the  UT System Chancellor’s Health Fellow for healthcare delivery science.  E-mail: STEVENSK@UTHSCSA.EDU





Melissa Valerio, PhD - Community Engagement Co-Investigator is the Director of the Community Engagement Resource Center (CERC) located at the UT School of Public Health – San Antonio Regional Campus (UTSPH-SARC). Dr. Valerio and the CERC team provide research and technical assistance to the Translational Advisory Boards (TABs) and other community-based organizations to address health concerns. Dr. Valerio is also the Regional Dean and an Associate Professor at the UTSPH-SARC. Her research interests include using community-based research approaches for chronic disease management and prevention, the design and evaluation of effective health education messages and materials, and survey methods. She is particularly interested in health literacy and cultural competence issues related to health education and communication in minority underserved communities.  E-mail: MELISSA.A.VALERIO@UTH.TMC.EDU



Paula Winkler, M.Ed. - Community Engagement Co-Investigator is the Director of the Translational Advisory Boards (TABs). She works to establish partnerships between UTHSCSA researchers and the community, so that they may develop projects focused on addressing community-identified health concerns. Ms. Winkler is also the Director of the South Central Area Health Education Center, which serves a twelve county catchment area to foster practice improvement initiatives and to increase opportunity for translational research to community members. She has over 30 years of experience developing linkages between academic programs to community based health promotion/disease prevention initiatives. Ms. Winkler is currently involved in community-led projects focused on diabetes, domestic violence, and chronic pain.  E-mail: WINKLERP@UTHSCSA.EDU