• Contact Us

    Preventive Medicine Residency
    Mail Code: 1864
    1100 W. 49th St.
    Austin, TX 78756

    Phone: 512-776-3750
    Fax: 512-776-2822


    PrevMed@dshs.texas.gov

Leadership and Program Oversight

Our program has over 30 faculty members with a wide variety of expertise, including but not limited to clinical preventive medicine, public health leadership, infectious disease, and epidemiology.


Lisa Armitige, MD, PhD

Texas Center for Infectious Disease
Lisa.Armitige@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Lisa Armitige

Dr. Lisa Armitige is a medical consultant at the Heartland National TB Center in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Armitige is also an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Tyler as well as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at UT Medical School at Houston. She received her BA in Biochemistry from Rice University, and was the 50th graduate of the UT-Houston MD/PhD Program. Dr. Armitige completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics and a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at UT-Houston and served on the faculty there for 5 years. Before joining Heartland, Dr. Armitige treated HIV patients at Thomas Street Clinic and tuberculosis patients in a county hospital, both in the Harris County Hospital District, Houston, Texas. She currently cares for TB patients at the San Antonio Metro Health District in San Antonio, Texas.

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Adrian Billings, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer, Presidio County Health Services (Alpine, TX)
BigBendMDPhD@gmail.com

Portrait of Dr. Adrian Billings

Adrian Billings, MD, is a full-spectrum family and community medicine physician providing medical care for underserved rural and frontier medical communities of Alpine, Marfa, and Presidio, Texas. He currently serves as chief of staff of Big Bend Regional Medical Center, medical director of Student Health Services at Sul Ross State University, medical director of the City of Presidio Emergency Medical Services, associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at Texas Tech University School of Medicine's Permian Basin campus; and supports their rural medical education efforts. He is also a liaison and contributor to all-volunteer organizations such as Frontera de Salud, and a physician advisor for Hard Hats for Little Heads.

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DeLawnia Comer-Hagans, PhD

Director for Health Disparities and Public Health Policy
DeLawnia.ComerHaGans@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Comer-Hagans

Dr. DeLawnia Comer-HaGans is a health disparities researcher with expertise in disparities among vulnerable populations. Her current role is as the Director for Health Disparities and Public Health Policy for the Texas State Department of Health Services where she is develops initiatives to tackle issues of health disparities across Texas.  

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Lisa Cornelius, MD, MPH

Hospital Epidemiologist, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System
Lisa.Cornelius@va.gov

Portrait of Dr. Cornelius

Dr. Cornelius is the Hospital Epidemiologist and Infectious Disease Physician at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple.

Previously, she served as Regional Medical Director for DSHS Region 7 in Central Texas and Infectious Diseases Medical Officer for DSHS in Austin. Prior to joining DSHS as a resident in preventive medicine, Cornelius served as senior staff in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine at Scott and White Healthcare both in Temple and Round Rock, and as the hospital epidemiologist. While there, she served on the antibiotic streamlining committee, P&T committee, and infection control committee. She also served as the Local Health Authority and Medical Director for Bell County Public Health District from 2009-2010 and for Williamson County and Cities Health District from 2016 – 2017.

Cornelius obtained her undergraduate degree in microbiology from University of Texas at Austin, attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine, and completed her residency in internal medicine in Salt Lake City. After a chief resident year at the University of Hawaii, she completed her infectious disease fellowship at Scott and White and obtained her Master of Public Health degree with honors in epidemiology from the Texas A&M School of Public Health.

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Courtney Dezendorf, MEd

Director, Office of Practice and Learning, DSHS
Courtney.Dezendorf@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Courtney Dezendorf

Courtney Dezendorf is the Director for the Office of Practice and Learning at the Texas Department of State Health Services. OPL operates a preventive medicine residency program, provides continuing education services, facilitates internship experiences and workforce development, and administers an Institutional Review Board.

Courtney has previously held positions in academia as well as in the public and private healthcare sectors. Her expertise is in managing and developing academic programming, facilitating community and academic partnerships and coordinating public health initiatives. Courtney received a Master of Education from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University.

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Ellen Elmore, MD

Physician, City of Austin TB Clinic
Ellen.Elmore@austintexas.gov

Portrait of No Image

Ellen Elmore is a physician at the City of Austin with its TB Clinic. She is a family medicine physician with more than 30 years of experience in the medical field. She attended medical school at the South Carolina University College of Medicine and did her residency at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Dr. Elmore has seen patients in Austin through Austin Regional Clinic and Ascension Seton Hospital System.

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Kelly Fegan-Bohm, MD, MPH

Medical Director, Community Health Improvement Division, DSHS

Portrait of Dr. Fegan-Bohm

Dr. Kelly Fegan-Bohm attended undergraduate school at University of Texas at Austin where she graduated with a degree in Human Biology in 2006. She received her Master's in Exercise Physiology from UT Austin in 2007 while working in the Biology department as an anatomy Teaching Assistant. She attended medical school at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio from 2007-2011 where she graduated with her Medical Degree as well as a Master's in Public Health. She completed her pediatric residency at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, OR in 2014 and her Pediatric Endocrinology Fellowship at Texas Children's Hospital in 2017. She then worked as an Assistant Professor at Texas Children's in the Pediatric Endocrinology Department. Her clinical and research focus was on optimizing patient care for children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes, especially in those of racial/ethnic minorities and of lower socioeconomic status. In March of 2020, she started her position at DSHS as the Medical Director for the Community Health Improvement Division.

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Brad Fitzwater, MD

Substance Use Medical Director, Texas HHSC
Brad.Fitzwater01@hhsc.state.tx.us

Portrait of Dr. Fitzwater

Dr. Fitzwater is the Substance Use Medical Director within the Behavioral Health Services section at the Texas Health & Human Services Commission (HHSC). In this role he provides medical expertise and leadership related to substance use prevention, intervention and treatment for HHSC funded programs. Additionally, he provides knowledge and expertise on substance use to intra- and inter-agency partners. Dr. Fitzwater is the former Medical & Executive Director of the Texas Physician Health Program, a state agency that provides a confidential, non‐disciplinary program for PA's, physicians and certain other licensed healthcare providers to receive assistance and monitoring for conditions that could potentially impair their ability to safely practice. In this role he performed evaluations, coordinated care plans and oversaw monitoring programs for providers with substance‐related and psychiatric conditions, allowing them to maintain confidentiality while receiving the help they need in order to be successful in recovery.

Dr. Fitzwater earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and gained extensive leadership experience while working in operations management for 8 years prior to medical school. He earned his medical degree at Mayo Clinic and is board certified in both Addiction Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynecology. He has worked in a variety of administrative and clinical settings including private and hospital‐based practices.

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Lewis Foxhall, MD

Vice President for Health Policy, Physician-In-Chief, MD Anderson
LFoxhall@mdanderson.org

Portrait of Dr. Foxhall

Dr. Foxhall is the MD Anderson's vice president for health policy and professor in the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention. His work focuses on community-based cancer prevention and early detection, access and quality of care for low-income populations. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and his clinical background is in family medicine.

Dr. Foxhall supports policy development and outreach programs in collaboration with government agencies, voluntary health organizations and organized medical groups. He is responsible for coordination of MD Anderson's charity care program.

He currently co-leads the Institution's comprehensive cancer control program. He directs the institution's cancer survivorship efforts in policy outreach and education. He is a board member of the Harris County Healthcare Alliance, the Houston Academy of Medicine Texas Medical Center Library and the JP McGovern Museum of Medical Science. He is a member of the American Cancer Society National Board of Directors.

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Lisa Glenn, MD

Senior Associate Medical Director, Texas HHSC
Lisa.Glenn2@hhs.texas.gov

Portrait of Lisa Glenn, MD

Dr. Glenn is a graduate of Texas A&M University and UT Southwestern Medical School. She has work experience in the private sector in solo private practice as well as 16 years in the Community Health Centers in Austin with increasing administrative responsibilities finishing her tenure there as Senior Medical Director. Prior to joining the Department of Aging and Disability Services as the State Office Physician in January of 2012, she was the Medical Director of Central Health, the Travis County Healthcare District. In 2016, Dr. Glenn transitioned into HHSC as the Senior Associate Medical Director for Medicaid-CHIP. She holds board certifications from the American Board of Family Medicine since 1990 and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians since 2007. She is a member of the Texas Medical Association, Travis County Medical Society, American Academy of Family Physicians and Texas Academy of Family Physicians.

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Min Gu, MD

Family Medicine Physician, Texas Health Action
min.gu@texashealthaction.org

Portrait of Min Gu, MD

Min Gu is a board-certified Family Medicine physician practicing at the KIND Clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr. Gu has also worked as a physician at the Texas School for the Deaf, Travis County SMART and ResCare. She teaches in the UT Austin Dell Medical School Department of Population Health as a Clinical Assistant Professor. She is certified as a HIV Medicine Specialist by the American Academy of HIV Medicine. She attended medical school at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and residency at UT Austin Dell Seton Medical Center.

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Manda Hall, MD

Associate Commissioner for Community Health Improvement, DSHS
Manda.Hall@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Hall

Manda Hall, M.D. was named the Title V Maternal and Child Health Medical Director at the Texas Department of State Health Services in March of 2016. Prior to this position, Dr. Hall served as the Title V Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Director for over three years.

Dr. Hall received her medical degree from Texas A&M University Health Science Center and completed her Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residency and an Allergy and Immunology fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Hall graduated in May of 2014 as a fellow in the Maternal and Child Health Public Health Leadership institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Bethany Hughes, MD

Medical Director, North Texas State Hospital
Bethany.Hughes@hhs.texas.gov

Portrait of Bethany Hughes, MD

Bethany Hughes graduated from Georgetown College in Kentucky with a degree in German. After a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany studying post-communism German healthcare and teaching English, she completed her medical education at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Hughes pursued a 4-year general psychiatry residency at John Peter Smith Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas, followed by a forensic psychiatry fellowship at the University of California Davis. Dr. Hughes currently serves as the Medical Director at North Texas State Hospital with campuses in Wichita Falls and Vernon, Texas. She is incredibly passionate about advocating for individuals with serious mental illness and dedicated to improving standards of care within the Texas mental health system.

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Mary Carol Jennings, MD, MPH

Medical Director, Sendero Health Plans
marycarol.jennings@senderohealth.com

Portrait of Mary Carol Jennings, MD, MPH

Mary Carol Jennings, MD, MPH, FACPM, is the Chief Medical Officer of Sendero Health Plans, an Austin-based nonprofit health insurance company with a focus on ensuring access to high-quality, equitable health care, especially among Travis County’s under-served and uninsured. Dr. Jennings is a board-certified preventive medicine physician and Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, with a special focus on communicable disease prevention and health equity. She holds an Associate Faculty appointment at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where for the past 7 years she directed international research and policy initiatives across multiple departments, serving as a core faculty member and Academic Director of the school’s preventive medicine residency training program, as well as the Director of Reproductive and Maternal Health Initiatives for the school’s International Vaccine Access Center.

Dr. Jennings completed her undergraduate degree in neuroscience at the College of William & Mary and received her medical degree from the University of South Carolina, where she focused on rural medicine and primary care. She completed her internship and PGY-2 year of clinical training in obstetrics and gynecology, then finished her residency training in general preventive medicine and public health, and obtained her Master of Public Health degree, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In her role with Sendero, Dr. Jennings continues several active collaborations with Texas and Maryland academic colleagues and local public health officials, most recently providing technical expertise to support the pro-equity approach of Baltimore City Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination response, as well as representing her organization and members in the COVID-19 provider forum convened by Austin Public Health.

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Robert Johnson, MD, MPH, MBA

Medical Director, Humana Government Business
RJohnson52@humana.com

Portrait of Dr. Johnson

Dr. Johnson is the Medical Quality and Clinical Innovations Medical Director for Humana Government Business in San Antonio, Texas. He retains an academic position as Clinical Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), School of Medicine and continues in active teaching of Medical Residents.

Prior to joining Humana, Dr. Johnson held positions as the Deputy Director of the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and he was full time faculty at UTMB, where he was the, Program Director of the General Preventive Medicine Residency, the Associate Director of the UTMB/NASA-Johnson Space Center Aerospace Medicine Residency Program, and the Course Director of the Introduction to Aerospace Medicine Residency short course. Dr. Johnson retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2005 with the rank of Colonel and a Chief Flight Surgeon Aeronautical rating.

While serving in the U.S. Air Force, Bob held multiple positions including; the General Preventive Medicine Residency Director at the U. S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, the Director of the DoD Global Medicine Course and the Chief Information Officer, as a member of the Board of Directors, for Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in addition to numerous international deployments.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association, the Past President of the American Society of Aerospace Medical Specialist and as a recent Regent on the Board of the American College of Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Johnson received a Medical Doctorate from the Uniformed Services University, School of Medicine, a Master of Public Health with Distinction from the Yale University, and a Master of Business Administration with Honors from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is currently board certified by The American Board of Preventive Medicine in Preventive Medicine and Public Health and in Aerospace Medicine. He is also certified in Medical Quality by the American Board of Medical Quality.

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Jeffrey L. Levin, MD, MSPH, DrPH, FACOEM, FACP

Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Sciences and Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (Tyler, TX)
He is the Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professor of Occupational Health Sciences.
Jeffrey.Levin@uthct.edu

Portrait of Dr. Levin

Dr. Levin has been on faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler for more than 30 years and has served in numerous capacities as founding Program Director of the Occupational Medicine Residency (1994-2017), ACGME Designated Institutional Official or DIO (2014-2017), and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer (2014-2020). Dr. Levin is a graduate of the UT Medical School at San Antonio. He completed his internal medicine training at the University of Missouri and post-graduate training in occupational medicine at the University of Kentucky. He is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine-Occupational. Dr. Levin is past-President of the Texas Occupational Medical Association, past-Chair of the Texas Medical Association Council on Science and Public Health, Alternate Responsible Official for the Public Health Laboratory of East Texas, and Local Health Authority for Smith County. He is also an officer and member of the American Board of Preventive Medicine. As a native Texan having spent many formative years along the U.S.-Mexico border and in Central Mexico, he is fluent in Spanish.

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John Lopez, MPH

Director of the Emerging and Acute Infections Diseases, DSHS
John.Lopez@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of John Lopez, MPH

John Lopez currently serves as the Director of the Emerging and Acute Infectious Disease Unit for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Before taking on this position, John formally retired from a 21-year career as a US Army Medical Service Corps officer with a concentration in medical plans, operations, intelligence, security, and training. He was deployed twice during combat operations, first in 2003 during initial combat operations into Iraq, and again to Iraq in 2005 during which time he earned a Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Medical Badge.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Homeland Security Studies from the US Army Command and General Staff College and a Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He is currently pursing his doctoral degree in Healthcare Leadership and Management from Colorado Tech University.

Away from the office, John enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters exploring everything that makes Texas such a great place to live.

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Paul McGaha, DO, MPH

Deputy Director of the Northeast Texas Center for Rural Community Health at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (Tyler, TX)
Paul.McGaha@uthct.edu

Portrait of Dr. McGaha

Dr. McGaha has had the pleasure of serving the people of East Texas in the field of public health for over 30 years. Holding a specialty in preventive medicine and equipped by a Master of Public Health, his vocational mission is to help improve health outcomes in East Texas and to reduce health disparities in the area. For over 19 years he served as the Regional Medical Director for Public Health Regions 4 and 5 (North) of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in Tyler. The department interfaced closely with nine local health departments/districts and served as the primary public health entity for the remaining 26 counties. Additionally, from 2012 to 2013, he served as Acting Assistant Commissioner for DSHS.

In April of 2015, he joined the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler team in the Northeast Texas Center for Rural Community Health as Deputy Director, later to be named Director. The "Center" was the focal point for 21 Medicaid Transformation Waiver projects with a goal to transform service delivery practices to improve quality, health status, patient experience, coordination and cost effectiveness. In 2016, he was named the inaugural Chair of the Department of Community Health for the School of Community and Rural Health where he directs classroom instruction related to social determinants of health and community engagement. Furthermore, the department oversees several grant-funded projects related to cancer screening, tobacco cessation, and maternal/child health. The department continues to collaborate with communities to further develop initiatives aimed at improving the health status of East Texans, including efforts to curb tobacco use, projects to improve dietary habits, and activities to increase physical exercise and manage obesity.

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Sharon Melville, MD, MPH

DSHS Regional Medical Director - Region 7 (Temple, TX)
Sharon.Melville@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Melville

Dr. Melville received her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and an MPH from the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health. She completed a residency in preventive medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Dr. Melville has served as the Regional Medical Director for DSHS Health Service Region 7 since June 2013. She previously worked at the DSHS Central Office in Austin as the manager of the TB/HIV/STD Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch for 17 years. Prior to joining DSHS, Dr. Melville was assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, MA.

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Dalia Nessim, MD, MPH, PhD

Occupational and Environmental Health, UT Health Science Center Northeast (Tyler, TX)
Daila.Nessim@uthct.edu

Portrait of Dr. Nessim

Dr. Nessim is the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Program Director at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, TX. She joined the Occupational and Environmental Health Science Department at the UT Health Science Center at Tyler in September 2014 as an assistant professor. She has since participated in resident teaching, and clinical activities in the Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) and Eastman Chemical Company TXO, Longview TX. She was the residency Associate Program Director July 2016-June 2017, and transitioned into the role of Program Director in July 2017. She came from a strong background in Occupational Medicine, as after receiving her M.D. from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, she worked in the field of occupational medicine in Cairo, Egypt for more than 10 years, before arriving to the USA. She completed her occupational medicine residency training and MPH Degree at the UT Health Science Center in Houston, TX in June 2014. Dr. Nessim is board certified in occupational medicine, and is actively engaged as a resident preceptor in the OHC, an AOEC clinic, as well as Eastman Chemical Company. She's also a course instructor in the UTHSCT MPH Program, and supervises and mentors residents and MPH students in their research projects, Capstone and Practicum experiences. Her primary focus is building healthy work environments for rural and vulnerable populations.

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Ketki Patel, MD, PHD, MPH

Manager, DSHS Environmental Surveillance and Toxicology Branch
Ketki.Patel@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Patel

Dr. Ketki Patel is a Senior Epidemiologist in the DSHS Environmental Surveillance and Toxicology Branch. She has over ten years of combined experience working in public health in the U.S. and India. Prior to DSHS, she has worked with Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and the Central States Center for Agriculture Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health.

She obtained her medical degree from Vitebsk State Medical University, Republic of Belarus and practiced clinical medicine at a tertiary-care teaching hospital in India and worked extensively on occupational health and chronic disease prevention projects. She received her Master of Public Health in Environmental, Occupational and Agricultural Health, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Epidemiology both from University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health. Her interests include environmental and occupational health, disaster epidemiology, public health surveillance and informatics, and health equity.

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Desiree Pendergrass, MD, MPH

Field Representative, ACGME
DPendergrass@acgme.org

Portrait of Dr. Desiree Pendergrass

Desiree B. Pendergrass, MD, MPH is currently an Accreditation Field Representative for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education ACGME). She is board certified in both pediatrics and preventive medicine.

Dr. Pendergrass earned a BA in chemistry from Texas Christian University and her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. She completed her pediatric internship at the University of Missouri at Columbia and her pediatric residency at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. After several years in private practice she completed a general preventive medicine and public health residency at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health earning a Master of Public Health with concentration in maternal child health.

Her experience in GME incudes serving as Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) (2017 – 2019) and as core faculty for the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock's pediatric residency program (2007-2017).

Previously, Dr. Pendergrass worked at the Texas Department of State Health Services/Texas Department of Health developing medical policy for the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) program and the Medicaid Comprehensive Care Program. She has also worked as clinical coordinator for the Texas Medical Foundation, providing expertise in the area of population-based medical quality improvement.

Her interests include residency education, quality improvement, policy development, the care of special populations, and issues surrounding immunization coverage.

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Peter W. Pendergrass, MD, MPH

Program Director, DSHS Preventive Medicine Residency
Peter.Pendergrass@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Peter Pendergrass

Dr. Peter W. Pendergrass serves as the Residency Director for the Public Health and General Preventive Medicine Residency at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Prior to rejoining DSHS in 2019, he served as an Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Mississippi where he developed and launched a new preventive medicine residency program. Also, he served as an expert consultant to the State Epidemiologist at the Mississippi State Department of Health focusing on healthcare acquired infection prevention.

Prior to UMMC, Dr. Pendergrass served as the Coordinator of the Bureau of Family Health Services at San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, the Bureau Chief for Communicable Disease for Texas Department of Health, and the DSHS Regional Medical Director for Region 1 in Lubbock, Texas. He gained considerable expertise in health policy, emergency preparedness and the medical care of persons with tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases.

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Carlos Plasencia, MD, MPH

DSHS Regional Medical Direction – Region 6/5S (Houston, TX)
Carlos.Plasencia@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Plasencia

Dr. Plasencia brings almost 30 years of experience in primary care and public health. Graduating from the University of Colorado with a combined Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree, he completed his residency in Family Practice in the Rio Grande Valley. Afterwards he entered the U.S. Public Health Service as a Commissioned Officer serving in places as diverse as Alaska and Puerto Rico. Assignments included the Alaska Native Health Service, flight surgeon with the U.S. Coast Guard and community health centers in Texas. As a senior officer he was stationed in the DC area where he worked in policy development under the Assistant Secretary for Health and supported the Department of Defense electronic health information system. After retiring from active service, he worked with the Veteran's Administration and most recently with Harris County Public Health.

Dr. Plasencia is deeply committed to the health and well-being of the people of Texas. He is particularly interested in assisting the underserved, especially marginalized and rural populations, and in mitigating impacts from natural disasters, emerging diseases and bioterrorism.

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Stephen Pont, MD, MPH

Medical Director, DSHS Center for Public Health Policy and Practice
Stephen.Pont@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Pont

Dr. Pont co-founded and served as the founding medical director for Dell Children's Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, which strives to empower families and communities to lead healthy, happy lives through a bilingual interdisciplinary weight management clinic, individual and group family-based programs, and other education, advocacy and research initiatives. Through Dr. Pont and his team's work Dell Children's became the first Seton facility to have a vegetable garden, an associate gym, and associate fitness classes. Dr. Pont and team also worked with It's Time Texas to create and launch the novel Choose Healthier app and website.

Dr. Pont also previously served as the medical director for Austin ISD Student Health Services and as the medical director for children's health for the Community Care Collaborative. Dr. Pont is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with UT Austin Dell Medical School, and UT-Austin Departments of Advertising and Nutrition, and a Clinical Associate Professor with Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Dr. Pont joined the Texas Department of State Health Services in November 2017 and leads the newly formed Center for Public Health Policy and Practice. 

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Emilie Prot, DO, MPH

DSHS Regional Medical Director - Region 11 (Harlingen, TX)
Emilie.Prot@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Prot

Dr. Emilie Prot attended medical school at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio and completed her preliminary year in Internal Medicine at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Prot completed her residency training in preventive medicine at Texas Department of State Health Services. She received her Master of Public Health from UT Health Science Center School of Public Health. She is passionate about global health, advocacy, and health equity and strives to care for populations in Texas with particular attention to the Texas-Mexico border region.

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David Reisman, JD

Chief Ethics Officer, HHSC
David.Reisman@hhs.texas.gov

Portrait of David Reisman, JD

David Reisman is the Chief Ethics Officer and oversees the Texas Health and Human Services system's Ethics Office, providing training, advice and guidance to employees across HHS. Reisman joined HHS in 2015 after serving at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute where he started an ethics and compliance program and served for nine years as executive director of the Texas Ethics Commission. At the TEC, Reisman oversaw the enforcement of the state's campaign finance, lobby and ethics laws. He also served as a special assistant to the general counsel of the United States Army from 2002 to 2004, where he helped manage the Army's ethics program. He earned a master's degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a law degree from the University of Kentucky.

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Holli Sadler, MD

Physician, Central Texas VA
Holli.Sadler@va.gov

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Holli Sadler is a board-certified Internal Medicine Specialist with the Central Texas VA outpatient center. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Dell Medical School and is affiliated with numerous hospitals in the Austin area. She attended medical school and participated in residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

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Rishi Sawhney, MD

HHSC Medical Director, Behavioral Health Services
Rishi.Wawhney@hhsc.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Sawhney

Rishi Sawhney MD has served as the Community Behavioral Health Medical Director for Behavioral Health Services in the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) since 2018 where he helps oversee state funded behavioral health services. Prior to his current role, he worked at the Office of Mental Health in New York in the Managed Care Division and a permanent supportive housing residence called The Brook in the Bronx, New York.

Rishi completed his undergraduate degree in Finance at the University of Texas in Austin and graduated from Baylor College of Medicine for medical school where he completed the Care of the Underserved Track. He completed his adult psychiatry residency at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a public psychiatry fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center.

Rishi currently serves as a member of the HHSC Institutional Review Board 2, HHSC Psychiatric Executive Formulary Committee, Early-Career Psychiatrist Advisory Committee for the journal Psychiatric Services, and is an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at Dell Medical School.

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Barbara Seaworth, MD

Medical Director, Heartland National TB Center
Barbara.Seaworth@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Seaworth

Dr. Barbara Seaworth is the Medical Director for the Heartland National Tuberculosis Center of Excellence in San Antonio, Texas. Heartland is one of four CDC-sponsored centers devoted to education and medical consultation for health professionals treating patients with tuberculosis. She received her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis and completed a fellowship in Infectious Disease at Duke University. She is board certified in Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine and is an expert in treating tuberculosis and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. She serves as an expert tuberculosis consultant to DSHS and the Binational Projects along the Texas border with Mexico. She is the Co-Medical Director for San Antonio Metropolitan Health District TB Clinic, Co-Chair of the Community Research Advisory Group for the CDC sponsored TB Trial Consortium, is a Professor of Medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center, Tyler, and is a Fellow of Infectious Disease Society of America.

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Jennifer Shuford, MD, MPH

DSHS Chief Epidemiologist
Jennifer.Shuford@dshs.texas.gov

Portrait of Dr. Shuford

Dr. Jennifer Shuford, MD MPH is the Chief Epidemiologist at DSHS. She attended University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. She completed her fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the Mayo Clinic and received her Master of Public Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health. She is currently practicing infectious diseases in Austin, Texas, enjoying the year-round warm weather. A few of her favorite things include: her husband Clark, her two beautiful kids, running, reading mystery books, and playing the string bass.

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Ming Tang, MD

Physician, City of Austin Refugee Health Screening
Ming.Tang@austintexas.gov

Portrait of Ming Tang, MD

Dr. Tang is a physician with over 20 years of experience in Family Medicine. He attended the University of Texas at Austin for his undergraduate degree in Pharmacy. He went on to obtain his medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He completed his Family Medicine residency training at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, Texas Dr. Tang’s interests include mind-body wellness and preventative medicine. In his spare time, Dr. Tang enjoys spending time with family, playing tennis, and learning new languages.

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Last updated September 1, 2021