New Mexico Cares
Health Disparities Center

MSC09 5040
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

FAX: (505) 272-8045

Community and Scientific Advisory Council

Linda Armas is President and co-founder of De Colores which showcases, promotes and develops the best of Hispanic art, music, dance, literature, and leadership. She also serves as President of the Southwest Center for Linguistic & Cultural Competency which addresses language access in health care environments and chairs the Hispano/Latino Health Advisory Council for the UNM Health Sciences Center and the School of Medicine. Ms. Armas worked for a major health care organization in New Mexico for over 20 years in operations management and administration. She teaches medical terminology and interpreter training to health care and social service employees and as a university course in various colleges and universities. She also contracts with the New Mexico Department of Health to provide state wide bilingual language training. Over the years, she studied the impact of health disparities and developed and implemented programs that address the special needs of culturally distinct populations. Aside from New Mexico, she has presented her programs on cultural competency and women's studies in Spain at the request of the Spanish government’s hospital system and in several US Army installations throughout Germany at the request of the US Department of the Military. Her efforts also include language access advocacy, lobbying for state wide language programs and the creation of laws to govern language access in health care.

Harold Bailey, PhD is the Exectutive Director  for the New Mexico State Office of African American Affairs. He is a former UNM faculty and administrator; past Director of UNM’s Afro-American Studies Program; former Chairman of UNM’s Equal Employment Opportunity Committee; past member of the New Mexico Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and was its State Education Chairman; appointed by former New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya to Chair the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission; past Chairman of the New Mexico Black Studies Consortium; former National Board Member of the National Council of Black Studies; a certified Diversity Trainer; former President of the Albuquerque NAACP; and a past Special Education Teacher for the Albuquerque Public Schools System.

Beverly Becenti-Pigman is Chair of the Navajo Nation Health Research Review Board. Throughout her extensive career, she has been involved in a number of Tribal government committees regarding health including the National Tribal Steering Committee on Injury Prevention. Ms. Becenti-Pigman has also had experience working directly with local Tribal governments systems as the past Secretary/Treasurer for the Kayenta Chapter and as the Judge (retired) for the State of Arizona, Navajo County.

Arthur Kaufman, MD, is Vice Chancellor for Community Health of the UNM Health Sicences Center. Dr. Kaufman’s specialties are Family Medicine and Internal Medicine. He is board certified in both. After graduating from State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, he completed an Internal Medicine residency at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York. He served in the Indian Health Service in South Dakota and in New Mexico before coming to UNM. Dr. Kaufman joined the Department of Family and Community Medicine in 1974. His primary interests are in creating innovative education and service models to address community, indigent, rural and population health needs. 

Richard Larson, MD, PhD is Vice Chancellor for Research at UNM’s Health Sciences Center and Senior Associate Dean for Research at the School of Medicine. Dr. Larson manages the research endeavors at the Health Sciences Center and also maintains an extramurally funded laboratory developing a variety of biotechnologies, including diagnostic devices and imaging tests. Recently, he led the successful effort to obtain a Clinical and Translational Science Award for the UNM Health Sciences Center. In 2006, he and his collaborators at UNM and Sandia National Laboratories were awarded the Chief Scientist Award for their hand-held bio-agent sensorfrom the Defense Intelligence Agency. Recently, this hand-held detector was selected by R&D Magazine as one of the top products of 2010. Dr. Larson is extensively involved in supporting and initiating several commercial ventures in New Mexico. He currently has commercial partnerships with Senior Scientific, Adaptive Methods, and Sandia National Laboratories. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Center for Genome Research and TriCore Reference Laboratory—New Mexico’s 12th largest company— where he has been involved in founding, operating and governance for more than 11 years.  In 2001, he co-founded Cancer Services of New Mexico, a non-profit organization which provides support services, free of charge, for over 2000 New Mexicans suffering from cancer each year.

Tassy Parker, PhD, RN is Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Co-Director of the Mental and Behavioral Health Center for Native American Health at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center – School of Medicine. Dr. Parker is also a Research Scientist with the UNM Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions. A medical sociologist and registered nurse, Dr. Parker is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation and lived on her tribal Territories in Western New York for 40 years. Dr. Parker has two NIH-funded research projects to examine the role of psychological distress and other mental health problems as risk factors for American Indian maternal alcohol use and mental health risk factors associated with obesity in American Indian children and their families. Dr. Parker is a founding member of the national Native Research Network and a current member of its Board of Directors.

Shari Roanhorse-Aguilar is Deputy Bureau Chief, Long-Term Services and Support, Medical Assistance Division for the NM Human Services Department. She is the former Tribal Liaison for the NM Medicaid program. She has worked directly with leadership among the 22 New Mexico Indian Tribes and Pueblos, and with the Indian Health Service and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at state, regional and national levels on health care disparities among Native American Medicaid recipients.

Valerie Romero-Leggot, MDis Vice Chancellor for Diversity at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Associate Dean of the School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Her office promotes the racial, ethnic, geographic, and socio-economic diversity in the Health Sciences Center and develops a variety of opportunities to address key issues in diversity. One of her major duties is to provide a forum for discussing issues concerning underrepresented and disadvantaged populations.

Dolores Roybal is the executive director of Con Alma Health Foundation and currently serves as the Board Chair of the New Mexico Association of Grantmakers. Prior to Ms. Roybal being named Executive Director of Con Alma, she held positions as Program Director, of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and Executive Director, of Women’s Health Services. She has been active in the nonprofit sector and in philanthropy for many years at the local, national, and international levels.

Alice Salcido, MPH is the Probate Judge for Doña Ana County. Ms Salcido has extensive experience in administration and public service, including four years as Chief Deputy County Treasurer in the mid-1960s. Most recently, she served as interim director of the New Mexico Department of Public Health’s Border Health Office. She also has 18 years of experience as district coordinator for U.S Senator Jeff Bingaman, advising him on a wide range of border and health issues.

Dorlynn Simmons, MSSW,  CEO of Mescalero IHS Hospital

Anne R. Simpson, M.D., C.M.D is the Rust Professor and Director for the SOM Institute for Ethics, the executive director for the HSC Center of Excellence for African American Health, and a professor of medicine with the Department of Internal Medicine /Division of Geriatrics. Her medical practice is limited to long term care. In addition, she chairs the HSC Bio-Ethics Committee and serves on several boards; New Mexico Voices for Children for which she served, 2010-2012, as board president, Vice-President of the board for Health Insights New Mexico, formerly known as New Mexico Medical Review Association, and she is a director for Pegasus Legal Services for Children.

Beverly Singer, PhD is Tewa and Diné from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. She is an award-winning documentary video producer whose concern is indigenous community wellness. Active in producing and writing about indigenous films, she is an Executive Board Member of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and author of Wiping the War Paint Off the Lens: Native American Film and Video (2001) published by the University of Minnesota Press. She is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies and Director for the Institute of American Indian Research at the University of New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico, M.A. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and documentary film training from the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, NM.

Roxanne Spruce Bly is the Founder and Coordinator of the Native Healthcare Council of New Mexico and a member of Laguna Pueblo. She is currently a member of the American Indian Health Advisory Committee. She is a lobbyist and an advocate for the Health Care Reform and was formerly the Director of Health Action New Mexico.

Alfredo Vigil, MD is the former Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health. He is also Professor of Family Medicine at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Vigil is a graduate of UNM’s School of Medicine and performed his family practice residency at UNM as well. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the National Public Health Leadership Institute at University of North Carolina. Dr. Vigil has 30 years of extensive clinical and management experience specializing in family medicine, geriatrics, emergency medicine and reproductive health issues. He has worked in private practice, community health centers, hospitals and other non-profit organizations. For five years prior to his current position, he was chief executive officer of El Centro Family Health, a non-profit primary care organization in Española.

Harriet Yepa-Waquie, LMSW is Director of the Indian Health Service -Albuquerque Service Unit Diabetes Education Program.She has worked as a community research partner from Jemez Pueblo with the UNM Master of Public Health CBPR research team for the past ten years. She has been involved with the Native American Family Intervention Project (Hemish of Walatowa Family Circle Project) which is a Community Based Participatory Research Project as a community advisor. Ms. Yepa-Waquie has also been involved in an advisory capacity with the Jemez Pueblo: Built and Social-Cultural Environments and Health project. She is a strong advocate for public health and prevention with the Pueblo of Jemez, and with othrer tribal communities. She received her MSW from U.C. Berkeley School of Social Welfare.

William Wiese, MD, MPH is Professor and former chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UNM. Dr. Wiese co-founded the Master of Public Health Program and directed the Area Health Education Center Program. He also served as Chair of the School’s Curriculum Committee through the period when it adopted the then innovative problem-based medical curriculum. He left the School of Medicine to direct the Public Health Division in the New Mexico Department of Health (1997–99). He returned to the School in 2002 as the founding director of the Institute for Public Health. Dr. Wiese has served nationally on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Council on Linkages between Academia and Public Health Practice. He has been Associate Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy since its inception in 2007.  He presently chairs the New Mexico Drug Policy Task Force.

Cheryl Willman, MD is an internationally known leukemia researcher and Director and CEO of The University of New Mexico Cancer Center, the Official Cancer Center of the State of New Mexico. The UNM Cancer Center received designation as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Center in 2005 and was ranked as one of “America’s Best Cancer Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report in 2006. The 85 oncology physicians, 120 researchers, and more than 500 staff of the UNM Cancer Center are dedicated to providing outstanding cancer treatment, conducting world class research, training the next generation of cancer healthcare professionals, and delivering community outreach programs throughout New Mexico’s urban, rural, and tribal communities. The UNM Cancer Center provides care for more than 7,600 cancer patients each year in 85,000 patient visits, nearly 50% of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer. More than 50% of these patients are ethnic minorities, primarily Hispanic and American Indian.

In her research, Dr. Willman focuses on finding the causes and the cures for patients affected by leukemia. She is the Director of Leukemia Research Programs and Correlative Science Laboratories for the National Cancer Institute’s Children’s Oncology Group and Southwest Oncology Group. Her own UNM laboratories, supported by over $16 million in funding from the NCI and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, receive leukemia samples from the majority of children and many adults in the United States. She has published more than 160 scientific articles in prestigious journals and several books and reviews. She leads a consortium of investigators from UNM, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Re¬search Center who are applying advances from the Human Genome Project to improve leukemia diagnosis and discover new and more effective drugs and therapies. In the past three years, Dr. Willman and this UNM/Sandia team has filed six new patents on their discoveries.