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Our Team PBRNs

The PBRN Resource Center provides infrastructure development, training, research development and consultation to investigators and PBRN members.


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Robert Ferrer, MD, MPH

Director of Community Engagement

Dr. Ferrer is the Dr. John M. Smith, Jr. Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UTHSA. Dr. Ferrer’s research interests include understanding and improving the public health impact of primary care; addressing social determinants of health; and creating new models of primary care practice. He is active in community health initiatives including the Texas Community-Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Consortium where he serves as the PI for the Bexar County CEAL project.  Additionally, he is the former chair of the leadership team for San Antonio’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Ferrer is a board member of the Bexar County Health Collaborative, serving as board chair for 2016 and 2017. In 2018 Dr. Ferrer was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine for his innovative application of the capability framework that provides a practical and positive method for addressing the social and environmental determinants of health in participatory interventions that integrate primary care and community health.

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Inez Cruz, PhD, LMSW

Director for the Practice-Based Research Network Center

In addition to serving as the PBRN Resource Center Director, Dr. Cruz is also the Director of the Residency Research Network of Texas (RRNet) since 2018. Since then, RRNeT’s Family Medicine faculty and residents have collaboratively developed new multi-site research projects that respond to PBRN member priorities such as social determinants of health and quality of life, comfort with uncertainty among trainees, physician burnout, and demonstrating accountability to payers and regulators. Under Dr. Cruz’s leadership, RRNet has created a trajectory of successful grant applications, presentations, and published manuscripts. Dr. Cruz also provides professional development contracting support for the Department of Pathology at UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Cruz has also previously served as the administrative lead for the 59th Medical Wing at JBSA-Lackland’s Diabetes Center of Excellence as their Research Director.

Team Members


Walter L. Calmbach, MD, MPH

Founder and Director of STARNet

Dr. Calmbach is a professor in the Dept. of Family & Community Medicine at UT Health San Antonio. He is the founder and director of the South Texas Ambulatory Research Network (STARNet), and is actively involved in local and national research projects with this research network. He currently serves as chair of the steering cmte of the Federation of Practice Based Research Networks, a national organization representing PBRN’s around the country. Dr. Calmbach also directs the Primary Care Research Methods & Statistics Conference, a meeting funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) aimed at presenting new and emerging methods of primary care research. He is board certified in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine, and his primary clinical interest is in primary care sports medicine. His primary research interests include physical activity promotion and methods related to practice-based research networks.


Rahma Mungia, BDS, MSc, DDPHRCS

Co-Director of the South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN)

Dr. Mungia is co-director of the South Texas Oral Health Network, as well as Clinical Coordinator for the South Central Area Health Education Center and Associate Professor/Research at the UT Health SA Department of Periodontics. She oversees all STOHN research and infrastructure activities. Her primary interest is in dental public health, especially tobacco cessation. She has also completed research on the effects of lead exposure in young children.

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Elisabeth de la Rosa, MS, CHW

Community Engagement Research Operations Manager

Elisabeth serves as the point of contact for the IIMS Community Engagement Team. She works with the Community Engagement Team leaders to develop and implement programs that facilitate the continuation and formation of community and academic research partnerships. For 20 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.

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Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, MD

Director of the South Texas Psychiatric Network

Dr. Robles-Ramamurthy is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UT Health San Antonio. She completed her psychiatry residency at the University of Pennsylvania, her child psychiatry fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and her forensic psychiatry fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her scholarly work has focused on diversity, healthy equity, and inclusion with a focus on youth and families interacting with multiple systems, such as the legal, immigration, and educational systems. She is also an active member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Kathleen Stevens, EdD, FAAN, RN, ANEF

Community Engagement Co-Investigator

Dr. Stevens is the Director of the Improvement Science Research Network (ISRN) which aims to advance the scientific foundation for quality improvement, safety and efficiency through transdisciplinary research in healthcare systems, patient-centeredness, and integration of evidence into practice. Dr. Stevens was the founding director of ACE-Center for Advancing Clinical Excellence 2000-2015, leading inter-professional 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. Dr. Stevens is a fellow of 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:

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Melanie Taverna, RDH, MS

Co-Director of the South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN)

Ms. Taverna is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Graduate Programs for UTHSCSA Dental Hygiene. She is the Co-Director of the South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN) and is a member of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. She has worked in the dental field since 1984, as an office manager and dental hygienist. Her interests include geriatric oral health. She hopes to increase inter-department collaboration in education and research to improve oral health for senior populations.


Kaitlin Waxler, BA

Coordinator for RRNeT and STX-Psych

Kaitlin is the coordinator for the Residency Research Network of Texas (RRNeT) and the South Texas Psychiatric PBRNs. She graduated from UTSA with a BA in Anthropology. Prior to that, Kaitlin served in the U.S. Army as a field historian, where she began learning qualitative research skills, such as conducting oral history interviews and collecting primary source data. Her research interests include ACEs, Military and Veteran Healthcare, and disability.

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Caitlin Sangdahl, BS

Coordinator for STOHN and SHARe

Caitlin serves as the Research Coordinator for two practice-based research networks: South Texas Oral Health Network (STOHN) and Senior Health Alliance for Research (SHARe). She graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS in Biomedical Sciences in May 2023. During her studies, she acquired experience in quantitative research, specifically in maintaining live specimen and data collection. Her research interests include microbiology, surgical advancements, and cancer research.


Sara Masoud, PhD, MPH

Director of Senior Health Alliance for Research (SHARe)

Dr. Sara Masoud is a community engaged researcher with a focus on the inclusion of family caregivers and persons living dementia as partners in research. As a caregiver for her grandfather who lived with dementia, Sara learned firsthand what it was like to balance the pressures of maintaining employment and attaining her education while caregiving for a family member. This experience shaped her understanding of the discriminatory systemic structures that prevent families from accessing necessary care and support. Her training as a researcher deepened her understanding of the relationship between generating scientific evidence and the development of supportive interventions. Sara partners with stakeholders in dementia care to conduct research that aligns with their priorities, needs, and experiences. She applies community engaged research methods to address the traditional practices that have resulted in the exclusion of communities from leading the research that ultimately shapes their access to dementia care and support.