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$4.5M Grant to UTEP Health Increases Nurses, Health Professionals

Paso del Norte Health Foundation matching grant will improve healthcare worker education, increase numbers of graduates and strengthen health research

EL PASO, Texas (May 15, 2024) – Today, The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso announced the establishment of UTEP Health, a renewed focus on meeting the health needs of the Paso del Norte region by educating more healthcare workers to a high standard. The effort is backed by a $4.5 million matching grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso announced the establishment of UTEP Health, a renewed focus on meeting the health needs of the Paso del Norte region by educating more healthcare workers to a high standard. The effort is backed by a $4.5 million matching grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. From left: UTEP School of Pharmacy Founding Dean José O. Rivera, UTEP College of Health Sciences Dean William Robertson, UTEP College of Nursing Dean Leslie K. Robbins, UTEP Provost John Wiebe, UTEP President Heather Wilson, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Member Joseph Bocanegra, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation CEO Tracy J. Yellen, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Chair Annette Cordova-Hoy, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Vice Chair Carlos Fernandez, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Member Amy Marcus, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Vice President of Programs Michael Kelly, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Member Linda Lawson (board member), President of Burrell College John Hummer, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Member Susan Melendez.
The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso announced the establishment of UTEP Health, a renewed focus on meeting the health needs of the Paso del Norte region by educating more healthcare workers to a high standard. The effort is backed by a $4.5 million matching grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. From left: UTEP School of Pharmacy Founding Dean José O. Rivera, UTEP College of Health Sciences Dean William Robertson, UTEP College of Nursing Dean Leslie K. Robbins, UTEP Provost John Wiebe, UTEP President Heather Wilson, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Member Joseph Bocanegra, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation CEO Tracy J. Yellen, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Chair Annette Cordova-Hoy, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Vice Chair Carlos Fernandez, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Member Amy Marcus, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Vice President of Programs Michael Kelly, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Member Linda Lawson (board member), President of Burrell College John Hummer, Paso Del Norte Health Foundation Board Member Susan Melendez.

“For every five doctors, there are 95 other health care professionals to take care of you and your family,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “UTEP Health will focus on meeting the need in our region for that 95 percent of healthcare professionals to a very high standard. We’re proud to join hands with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation to promote the health and wellbeing of our community.”

UTEP currently enrolls more than 4,400 students in health-related programs like nursing, physical therapy and pharmacy — and more than 70% of these graduates remain in the community to practice after graduation.

“The region needs more graduates who are prepared to work in various health and medical settings. This $4.5 million matching grant focuses squarely on graduating more nurses, occupational therapists, and other health professionals,” said Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

Texas faces a critical shortage of healthcare professionals that is particularly acute in El Paso and the surrounding region. By 2030, for example, West Texas is projected to have a , representing an unmet demand of more than 30% and the most severe shortage of registered nurses in the state.

To meet this need and train more members of the healthcare workforce, UTEP Health unites the efforts of the College of Health Sciences, College of Nursing and the School of Pharmacy. UTEP Health also includes all colleges that focus on health-related research and education, like the Border Biomedical Research Center in the College of Science, the psychology department in the College of Liberal Arts and the mental health counseling program in the College of Education.

With support from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, plans for UTEP Health include:

  • Establish a Rehabilitation Science Interprofessional Teaching Clinic to educate students while providing rehabilitation services to medically underserved people in the region.
  • Renovate the Rehabilitation Sciences Complex, located at 3333 N. Mesa, to include enhancements in five laboratory classrooms where physical and occupational therapy students can take classes and practice clinical skills.
  • Increase the size of the occupational therapy doctoral program.
  • Recruit additional clinical faculty to the College of Nursing and grow the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to over 400 graduates a year.
  • Upgrade the simulation labs, which replicate hospital, clinical and retail environments, to better educate and train UTEP Health students.
  • Expand research into Hispanic health disparities to ensure that Hispanics can live longer, healthier lives.

“UTEP Health is an effort to take what we are already doing in healthcare and dial it up through intentional and robust collaboration,” said UTEP Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John Wiebe, Ph.D. “With more healthcare workers and greatly expanded research into the factors that impact Hispanic health, I am confident that this initiative will result in longer, healthier lives for the people in this community.”

To learn more about opportunities to support UTEP Health programs, visit .

About UTEP Health

is a comprehensive initiative of The 山ּ of Texas at El Paso aimed at elevating the standard of healthcare in the Paso del Norte region. It encompasses more than 4,400 students in the College of Health Sciences, the College of Nursing, the School of Pharmacy and other health professions, programs and research. With an active research portfolio of nearly $67 million, UTEP Health is at the cutting-edge of research that focuses on the unique issues of the border region.

UTEP Health is the largest producer of graduates in healthcare professions among colleges and universities in the Paso del Norte region. UTEP Health faculty and students consistently demonstrate excellence in research, education and community engagement. Through their unwavering dedication, they foster well-being and contribute to the advancement of healthcare in our community and beyond.  

About the Paso del Norte Health Foundation

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation) leads, leverages, and invests in initiatives, programs, and policies to promote health and prevent disease in the Paso del Norte region. The Health Foundation was established in 1995 from the sale of Providence Memorial Hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corporation. The Health Foundation seeks to ensure that the people living in far west Texas, southern New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, have the knowledge, resources, and skills to lead healthy lives. The Paso del Norte Health Foundation is a supporting organization of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation. For more information, visit

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 at 9:00 AM | Originally published May 15, 2024

By MC Staff UTEP Marketing and Communications