Border health educator to be panelist on national webinar

HARLINGEN (Sept. 16, 2013) — Beatriz Tapia, M.D., a lecturer from the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio who teaches medical students in Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley, will be a panelist on a national webinar Tuesday, Sept. 17, about careers in Hispanic and minority health.

Dr. Tapia is based at the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen, where she is a senior lecturer. She also is a coordinator for the South Texas Environmental Educational Research (STEER) program, which hosts hands-on instruction in environmental and border health for medical students.

The webinar, “Careers in Improving Hispanic Health,” will be hosted by the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia and the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools in Washington, D.C., as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. The goal is promote student interest in careers related to Hispanic health and health disparities.

Free and open to the public, the webinar is scheduled from 3-4 p.m. CDT. Interested persons may register here.

Dr. Tapia received her medical degree from the Autonomous University of Puebla in Mexico and her master’s degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University. She also completed a fellowship in 2011 sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control’s Environmental Public Health Leadership Institute.

She enrolled in the STEER program in 2005 as an intern with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and STEER leaders invited her to join the program as a faculty associate in 2006. STEER operates monthlong instructional courses for medical students and others in Laredo and Harlingen, which serves as the base for instruction in the Rio Grande Valley.

Dr. Tapia has taught students from the high-school level to master’s and doctoral degree candidates. She also has played a major role in training promotoras, or community health advisers, in the border region. Dr. Tapia’s research has focused on autism, asthma, pesticides and hazardous exposures. She has published several medical papers.

In 2011, the Texas Public Health Journal published her study about the danger indoor air poses to pregnant women. The study measured indoor-air quality in homes of pregnant Hispanic women who live along the Texas-Mexico border. It found the presence of multiple pesticides in a majority of the homes. The study involved women in their third trimester of pregnancy, when the fetal brain undergoes a growth spurt.


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 29,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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