HSHPS Faculty Spotlight
HSHPS is governed by a Board of Directors that is comprised of university faculty members who have a tremendous degree of instructional and research experience in the areas that most impact the Hispanic community and are therefore a valuable resource to HSHPS and its stakeholders. Each month, we highlight outstanding faculty members who have not only worked with our organization to improve programs, but have demonstrated notable contributions to improving the health of Hispanics.
Dr. Jose Manuel de la Rosa, MD, MSc
Dr. de la Rosa currently serves as the Vice President for Health Affairs and Founding Dean for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine and as the Regional Dean for the TTUHSC El Paso Regional Campus. As a Professor of Pediatrics, Dr. de la Rosa’s involvement with the community led to the establishment of the Kellogg Community Partnership Clinics, which are four school-based clinics that provide services to colonia residents in El Paso’s Lower Valley. In an effort to focus the Nation’s attention on health issues on the Border, he served many times as a spokesman in various media outlets that included national public radio broadcasts, Life Magazine, and The Dallas Morning News. Appointed by President Bush in 2003, Dr. de la Rosa still serves as a member of the United States/Mexico Border Health Commission where he continues his advocacy in addressing health issues on the Border in addition to his own research endeavors with a study group on H. Pylori infection in children on the US – Mexico Border. Dr. de la Rosa remains active as a member of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso, with school based health center initiatives at the local and state level, with the American Association of Medical Colleges, and various other national, state, and local organizations. Currently, Dr. de la Rosa serves as a board member for HSHPS.
When did you become interested in public health? What motivates you or inspires you to be a part of public health?
After practicing medicine as a pediatrician for many years, I was interested in public health and public health programs because it looks at the overall health of a population, while in medicine there is only the relationship between doctor and patient. I was first interested in being a doctor back in high school and I received my masters in Epidemiology.
As Founding Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice President of the El Paso Campus, what would you say is your favorite part of being in this position and what challenges have you faced?
My favorite part of being in these positions is being able to start new programs. There is a huge lack of health related educational programs along the border and any new programs will help people obtain a career that will help them serve their community. One of the challenges is being able to find qualified people in this field. Some people believe they are not able to succeed in this career because they do not have the experience, which is why it is important to provide the necessary resources. In order to overcome this challenge, we need to provide education programs, provide opportunities to let people know they can achieve their goals, and provide essential pipeline resources. Our medical students will have the opportunity to go out to school districts to work with young kids, particularly Hispanic children, and act as a role model for them.
Why do you think it is important to focus particularly on improving the health of the Latino population?
Health literacy is a big issue in the Hispanic community and it is important for doctors to communicate with patients. Our students are required to take Spanish courses, at least one year of conversation Spanish and one year of medical Spanish. Health communications is very important.
How long have you been involved with HSHPS? What made you want to get involved with this organization? How do you see HSHPS playing a role in the public health field and improving the health of Hispanics?
I was one of the charter members for HSHPS. I saw the need for health profession schools to serve the Hispanic population in a more aggressive manner by recruiting Hispanics into health professions, medicine, nursing, and public health. I also saw a need for aggressive health professions pipeline programs. It’s important to recruit qualified Hispanics so that they can be role models to other Hispanics who will be able to see that people like them can be involved in health careers. I also believe that education is the most important not at the high school or college level, but at the elementary school level. Our university also offers post baccalaureate programs for students who come from a socio economically disadvantaged background.
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso recently announced that it has been approved for full accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) for a period of eight years. What does this mean to you personally? Where do you see this program in 10 years? What future goals do you have for this program, what do you hope to achieve?
On May 17, 2013, we will graduate our first group of students, which is a goal already accomplished, and 20% of these students are Hispanic. In the future, our goal is to increase the number of students we accept, grow our residency program, specialty and primary care programs, have 350-500 students on campus studying various types of medicine, and be able to grow a professional school with doctors that do research and can provide for students.
What are your personal and professional future goals? How do these goals relate to improving public health?
My personal goals is for the health sciences grow at the university, grow research, increase access to programs for Hispanics, insert discussion on spirituality in medicine, and focus on the art of medicine not just science of medicine.