The South Texas Area Health Education Center Program Office provides administrative, fiscal, and programmatic oversight to the five regional Centers. Under the leadership of Director Janna Lesser, the aim of the ST-AHEC Program Office so to meet the goals of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Model grant. The Program Office works with the regional offices to build region-wide network capacity and strengthen academic-community linkages.
Janna Lesser, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N. | South Texas AHEC Program Director
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 210-567-0482
Janna Lesser, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., is a tenured Professor in UTHSCSA’s School of Nursing, the Director of the South Texas AHEC Program and Director of the Center for Community-Based Health Promotion with Women and Children. She has conducted community-engaged projects with individuals and communities living with a myriad of health and social inequities for over twenty years, for which she has received both internal and external funding. Dr. Lesser works with a diverse group of target populations including inner-city dwelling adolescent mothers and fathers, disenfranchised youth (including youth in the juvenile justice system), families living in predominantly Hispanic, impoverished communities, and individuals and groups living with chronic and severe mental illness.
Pamela Recto, P.h.D, R.N. | Assistant Professor
E-mail: email@example.com | Phone: 726-999-0256
Dr. Pamela Recto is an Assistant Professor for the School of Nursing at UT Health San Antonio and Assistant Director of The South Texas AHEC Program. Dr. Recto graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing and completed a postdoctoral fellowship through the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH Center). Dr. Recto’s work focuses on behavioral health, particularly in the areas of mental health and opioid use disorder. She has worked with various populations, which include Hispanic adolescent mothers and fathers, as well as pregnant women with opioid use disorder. Dr. Recto is focused on conducting community-based participatory research to address the needs of the community in South Texas. She has previously collaborated and published peer-reviewed manuscripts with Dr.Janna Lesser on community-engaged projects and is now part of the AHEC team to advance their work on population health. Dr. Recto’s hobbies include traveling and training for half marathons with her husband.
Joe Zapata, Jr., M.S.S., C.H.W. | Manager of Academic Programs
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 210-567-0482
Joe Zapata, Jr., M.S.S., is the Manager of Academic Programs for the South Texas AHEC, office of Research Initiative. He also serves as the Texas AHEC Consortium Project Evaluator representing the ST-AHEC and as the Clinic Coordinator for the Community Health Worker Opioid Use Disorder (CHW-OUD) Project ECHO. Joe is a 2010 graduate of UT-San Antonio, in which he received his Masters of Science in Sociology degree. Joe joined the South Texas AHEC in 2015 and currently serves under Dr. Janna Lesser at the School of Nursing. Joe’s research topics of interest include health disparities, demography, social stratification, and crime and delinquency. Joe lives in San Antonio with his lovely wife, Katherine, and two children, Zoe and Luke.
Annette Zavala Idar, B.B.M., C.H.W. | Business Administrator
E-mail: email@example.com | Phone: 210-567-7819
Annette Zavala Idar, B.B.M., is the Business Administrator for South Texas AHEC. Annette has been with UT Health San Antonio since 2008 and started in the department of Physical Therapy as an Admissions Counselor to prospective students. She now performs administrative and financial insight into strategic planning for South Texas AHEC incorporating analysis of existing and proposed grant projects, trend analysis, and demographic forecasting. She received her Associates in Accounting from Northwest Vista College and earned her Bachelor’s in Business Management from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Annette was born and raised in San Antonio and enjoys attending Spurs games with her husband and two daughters.
Andrea Moreno-Vasquez, M.P.H., C.H.W. | Senior Program Coordinator
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 210-450-8451
Andrea Moreno-Vasquez, M.P.H., is the Program Coordinator for the South Texas AHEC and assists in several capacities within the program office and across the AHEC Centers. In her primary role she serves as AHEC Scholars Coordinator, in which she works on managing student applications; creating recruitment materials; developing didactic content and managing Google Classroom. Andrea completed her undergraduate degree at UTSA and her graduate degree at the Colorado School of Public Health. In June 2019, Andrea completed CDC’s eLearning Fellowship Institute, where she sharped her skills in eLearning content development and project management. Andrea’s professional interests include: community outreach, health disparities, content development, and technology based learning and teaching. Andrea lives in San Antonio and likes outdoor pursuits, cooking and traveling.
Eduardo Gandara, DrPH, M.P.H. | Senior Research Coordinator
Dr. Eduardo Gandara, DrPH, MPH, graduated with two Bachelors degrees from Texas A&M University, and an MPH and DrPH degree from Texas A&M Health Science Center’s School of Public Health. Dr. Gandara’s research interests include connecting underserved populations to prevention-based programs as well as developing and implementing community-based interventions. In addition, Dr. Gandara is also interested in assessing the role that faith, religiosity, and spirituality influence health. Dr. Gandara is a social ecologist whose passion is underserved as well as rural communities in Texas and beyond. Within The South Texas AHEC, Dr. Gandara works with Community Health Workers and COVID-19 related initiatives.
Martha Castilla, C.H.W., C.H.W.I. | Senior Health Educator
Ms. Castilla is the youngest of seven siblings and the first of five generations of her family to attend Edgewood schools. Ms. Castilla has lived, worshipped and worked in the Edgewood School District most of her life. Ms. Castilla worked in the health field for 23 years as a Medical Business Manager for an OB/Gyn Clinic before moving into Community Health Work. She attended UTSA’s nonprofit management program and became the founding executive director of the Edgewood Family Network and co-founder of Heart for the Neighborhood. Ms. Castilla also co-develops the Promotores en Presencia Viva at UT Health Science Center. She has previously held community health training and advocacy roles at the Madonna Center, The Bexar County Health Collaborative, and Texas A&M CHW Program. Currently, she is working with the South Texas Area Heath Education Center on COVID-19 education, training, and outreach projects for community members, CHWs and Promotores.