Congratulations to this year’s awardees! We thank the NIH for making these collaborative efforts possible.


Dr Ivonne SantiagoMentee Dr. Ivonne Santiago is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso. Her research focuses on the development of innovative technologies to treat surface, ground, and reclaimed water.

Dr Kristina MenaSupermentor Dr. Kristina Mena is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences, and the Program Head and EOHS Acting Dean of the El Paso Regional Campus of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Dr. Mena’s research concentrates on quantitative microbial risk assessment, water quality and food safety.

With guidance of Dr. Mena, Dr. Santiago is seeking to secure funding to support a mixed-method research approach to explore and assess the perceptions of the water quality along border communities as well as perform health risk assessments of reused water for emerging contaminants.


Dr Hyejin JungMentee Dr. Hyejin Jung is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the College of Health Sciences at The University of Texas at El Paso. Her research interests are community-based practices, disparities in mental health care, and mental health literacy and education.

Dr Yuri JangSupermentor Dr. Yuri Jang is a Professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. She also serves as an associate editor for Ethnicity and Health and an editorial board member for Clinical Gerontologist and Women, Gender, and Families of Color. Dr. Jang’s areas of interest include positive adaptation in aging, health disparities, and minority health and service utilization.