West Texas Rural EXPORT Center
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 Faculty and Staff
Patti J. Patterson, M.D., MPH,
Principal Investigator
Barbara C. Pence, Ph.D.
Director, Administrative and Research Components
Patti Patterson is the Vice President for Rural & Community Health at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center where she serves as a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Patterson holds the Marie Hall Endowed Chair in Rural Health.
Dr. Patterson served as the Interim Commissioner of Health, then as the Executive Deputy Commissioner for the Texas Department of Health between 1996 and 1999. In these roles, she directed an agency with a $6 billion annual budget and a broad range of responsibilities including Medicaid acute care, licensure and certification of health professionals, as well as the more traditional public health responsibilities of disease control and prevention, epidemiology, health education, and environmental and consumer health.
Dr. Patterson has participated in more than 20 medical mission trips to South America, Eastern Europe, and Africa with her husband Scott Zapalac.
Dr. Patterson holds the B.S. from Lubbock Christian University in Biology. She earned the M.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and her MPH from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston.
Barbara Pence, Professor of Pathology at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, serves as the Associate Vice President for Research. In this capacity she oversees clinical, basic science and behavioral protocols.
A nationally recognized cancer researcher, Dr. Pence has extensive experience in the direction of large outreach projects, including the CDC Diabetes Center for Prevention and Control during its developmental first year, and also with the needs assessment, planning and implementation of a Texas Cancer Council-supported outreach project providing rural mobile mammography.
Dr. Pence holds the B.A. in microbiology and the M.S. in genetic toxicology from Texas Tech University, and her Ph.D. in experimental pathology from the same institution. Her post-doctoral training includes a two-year fellowship in carcinogenesis at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Scientific Advisory Committee
Lu Ann Aday, Ph.D., Lorne Bain Distinguished Professor in Public Health and Medicine, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, School of Public Health. Dr. Aday’s research interests include access to health and health care for vulnerable populations, and designing and conducting health surveys.
Lovell A. Jones, Ph.D., Professor, Gynecologic Oncology, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Director, Center for Research on Minority Health, Director, Reproductive Biology Program, Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas, Houston. Dr. Jones’ research interests include minority health and health disparities, and cancer prevention and control.
Fernando Mendoza, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. Dr. Mendoza’s research interests include the health care status of Latino children and adolescents, health policy recommendations for Latino children and adolescents, and childhood obesity.
Ann Millard, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Texas A& M University School of Rural Public Health, South Texas Center, McAllen, Texas. Dr. Millard’s research interests include migrant and border health, occupational health and farm workers, and social and behavioral aspects of health in rural South Texas and rural Mexico.
Billy U. Phillips, Jr., Ph.D., MPH, Leon Bromberg Professor for Teaching Excellence, Director, Graduate Programs in Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Director, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas. Dr. Phillips’ research interests include cancer detection, prevention and control, and community health outreach programs.
Janice C. Probst, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. Dr. Probst’s research interests include rural health services research, and obesity in rural areas.
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