Paula-WinklerPaula Winkler, M.Ed. | South Central AHEC Director

E-mail: | Phone: 210-562-5584

Address: 7411 John Smith Drive, Suite 1050, San Antonio, Texas 78229

Paula Winkler, M.Ed. is a native Texan with over 30 years of experience developing linkages between academic programs to community based health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Tech University and her Master of Education degree from Southern Methodist University. Ms. Winkler has been serving as the Director of South Central Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) in San Antonio since 2004.  Prior to that she worked with the Illinois AHEC Program for 10 years. She directs the center within a catchment area of 12 counties, the largest being Bexar county — which contains the San Antonio metro area. She has spent her entire professional career addressing health disparity health advocacy and community outreach through community-based initiatives. This has allowed her to develop strong working relationships with physician practices and community partners across South Texas. Ms. Winkler plays important roles for numerous area community advisory committees and also serves on the board of the Texas Rural Health Association (TRHA).  Ms. Winkler is currently a Co-Investigator on the Community Engagement Core Function of the NIH CTSA project award to UT Health San Antonio since 2008.

Ariel GomezAriel Gomez, M.P.H, C.H.E.S. | Program Coordinator-Senior

E-mail: | Phone: 210-562-5568

Ariel Gomez is a Senior Program Coordinator for South Central AHEC. She first joined AHEC as an intern in 2014 and officially became part of the team in 2016. Ariel received her Bachelor of Science in Community Health from the University of Texas at San Antonio and went on to complete her Master of Public Health and certificate in Health Disparities from UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. With her time at AHEC, Ariel has gained over five years of experience on projects involving workforce development, community-based participatory research, health communication, outreach, and community engagement. Her research interests include bridging the gap between access to care and health inequities in underserved and rural areas brought about by her experience living in a small South Texas town.

Alvin EsacioAlvin Estacio, M.S. | Research Area Specialist

E-mail: | Phone: 210-562-5568

Alvin Estacio is a Research Area Specialist for South Central AHEC. A graduate of Florida Institute of Technology with a BS in Biomedical Engineering, he started as an AHEC intern in 2016 before transitioning to a Graduate Research Assistant in the Fall of 2017. Since then, he has received his Master of Science in Epidemiology degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where his thesis focused on the Persons Living with HIV/AIDS population. Following his graduation, Alvin has now joined AHEC full time where he works with the AHEC Scholars and the family medicine residents on statistical analysis for projects during their community rotation with AHEC. He also manages and analyzes data for South Central AHEC and the community partners we collaborate with. Alvin grew up in Tyler, TX (The Rose Capital of the world). He enjoys running and consuming copious amounts of coffee.

Ludy HernandezLudivina (Ludy) Hernandez, C.H.W. | Community Health Worker

E-mail: | Phone: 210-562-5575

is a lifelong resident of Texas with over 30 years experience as a bilingual Community Health Worker/ Promotora, working with underserved communities in San Antonio and South Texas. In this role, Ludy uses her extensive background in outreach and engagement to serve as a liaison between community groups and the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio as well as the South Central Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Her passion is outreach to disparate populations, especially to those who are the most vulnerable in the community. Because of this, she advocates for patient centered care and provides resources to address barriers such as transportation, testing costs, and treatment access. She is a representative at community health events including health fairs and community forums and has worked as a teacher’s assistant, community organizer, food bank advocate, house parent at a children’s shelter, advocate for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and a health educator.