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.
Elizabeth Howard, MD, MPH
Program Director, TX DSHS
Elizabeth Howard MD, MPH serves as the program director for the Preventive Medicine Residency Program at the Texas Department of State Health Services. She is board certified in Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics.
Dr. Howard grew up in New Orleans and stayed in the city to complete her undergraduate studies at Tulane University. She received her medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, and completed pediatric residency training here in Austin at Dell Children’s Medical Center in 2012. After working as a pediatrician for several years at a Federally Qualified Health Center and receiving a certificate in Maternal and Child Health at the UT Health School of Public Health, she sought to further her knowledge and training in public health. She obtained a master's in public health and completed the Preventive Medicine Residency at Mount Sinai in New York City (NYC) where she also served as Chief Resident. As part of her training, she spent a year working at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene with the Division of Family and Child Health on program planning.
Since returning to Austin, aside from her responsibilities within the program, Dr. Howard continues to stay involved in clinical medicine in the Austin community. She is also a member of the American College of Preventive Medicine and the Texas Pediatric Society where she serves as co-chair for the nutrition and health committee.
Lisa Armitige, MD, PhD
Texas Center for Infectious Disease
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 an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at UT Medical School in Houston. She received her BA in Biochemistry from Rice University and was the 50th graduate of the UT-Houston MD/Ph.D. 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.
Lisa Cornelius, MD, MPH
Hospital Epidemiologist, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System
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 as Infectious Diseases Medical Officer for DSHS in Austin. Before 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 the 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.
Courtney Dezendorf, MEd
Director, Office of Practice and Learning, DSHS
Courtney Dezendorf is the Director of 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.
Ellen Elmore, MD
Physician, City of Austin TB Clinic
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.
Kelly Fegan-Bohm, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Community Health Improvement Division, DSHS
Dr. Kelly Fegan-Bohm attended undergraduate school at the 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 2020, she started her position at DSHS as the Medical Director for the Community Health Improvement Division.
Brad Fitzwater, MD
Substance Use Medical Director, Texas HHSC
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 PAs, 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 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 before 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.
Lewis Foxhall, MD
Vice President for Health Policy, Physician-In-Chief, MD Anderson
Dr. Foxhall is 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 the 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.
Lisa Glenn, MD
Senior Associate Medical Director, Texas HHSC
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. Before 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.
Min Gu, MD
Family Medicine Physician, Texas Health Action
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 at the UT Austin Dell Medical School Department of Population Health as a Clinical Assistant Professor. She is certified as an 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.
Manda Hall, MD
Associate Commissioner for Community Health Improvement, DSHS
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. Before 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.
Bethany Hughes, MD
Medical Director, North Texas State Hospital
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 the standards of care within the Texas mental health system.
Mary Carol Jennings, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Sendero Health Plans
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.
Annie Kizilbash, MD
Medical Director, Texas Center for Infectious Disease
Dr. Kizilbash is the Medical Director for the Texas Center for Infectious Disease, a public health facility of the Texas Department of State Health Services for the treatment of Tuberculosis. TCID's Outpatient Clinic also serves as one of the state's Hansen's Disease clinics. TCID is organized to provide patient care, scientific investigation, and therapeutic and educational services in support of public health needs. She has served as a physician at TCID since 2013.
Dr. Kizilbash is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. She is a member of the Infectious Disease Society of America, the National Tuberculosis Clinician Association, and Imamia Medics International. She serves on multiple national editorial boards and grant review committees, as well as maintains an Associate Professor position with the University of Texas at Tyler Department of Medicine. She participated in a residency at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in Internal Medicine and went to Medical School at The Aga Khan University Medical College in Pakistan. After their residency, she did a fellowship in Infectious Disease at Baylor College of Medicine while also completing her MPH from UTHealth Houston.
Sharon Melville, MD, MPHD
DSHS Regional Medical Director - Region 7 (Temple, TX)
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. Before joining DSHS, Dr. Melville was an assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, MA.
Dalia Nessim, MD, MPH, Ph.D.
Occupational and Environmental Health, UT Health Science Center Northeast (Tyler, TX)
Dr. Nessim is the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency Program Director at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler, TX. She joined the Occupational and Environmental Health Science Department at the UT Health Science Center in 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 from July 2016-June to 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 in 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.
Ketki Patel, MD, Ph.D., MPH
Director, DSHS Environmental Surveillance and Toxicology Branch
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. Before DSHS, she worked with the 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 (Ph.D.) in Epidemiology both from the 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.
Stephen Pont, MD, MPH
Medical Director, DSHS Center for Public Health Policy and Practice
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 the 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.
Emilie Prot, DO, MPH
Associate Program Director, DSHS Regional Medical Director - Region 11 (Harlingen, TX)
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 the 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.
David Reisman, JD
Chief Ethics Officer, HHSC
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.
Gretchen Rodriguez, MPH, CIC
Lead Healthcare-Associated-Infection Epidemiologist
Gretchen Rodriguez is a Lead Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Epidemiologist for the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Healthcare Safety Unit. Prior to this position, she served as the HAI Epidemiologist for DSHS Public Health Region (PHR) 8 and worked as an infection preventionist for multiple healthcare facilities. Gretchen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico, a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health, holds a certification in Infection Control (CIC) and will be completing her Doctorate Degree in Public Health within the upcoming year.
Holli Sadler, MD
Physician, Central Texas VA
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 a residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
Rishi Sawhney, MD
UT Austin Dell Medical School Department of Psychiatry
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. Before 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, and 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.
Barbara Seaworth, MD
Medical Director, Heartland National TB Center
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 the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District TB Clinic, Co-Chair of the Community Research Advisory Group for the CDC-sponsored TB Trial Consortium, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Tyler, and a Fellow of Infectious Disease Society of America.
Ming Tang, MD
Physician, City of Austin Refugee Health Screening
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.
Lana Yamba, MD, MPH
TB Consultant Physician, Texas Department of State Health Services
Lana Yamba, MD, MPH, CCRC is the physician for the Texas Tuberculosis and Hansen’s Disease Program/ Binational Tuberculosis (TB) Program. She is based at DSHS Public Health Region 11 in Harlingen, TX. She also serves as Assistant Professor/Faculty member with the DSHS General Preventive Medicine Residency program. Dr. Yamba has a degree in medicine from the University of Kongo (UK) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She completed her General Preventive Medicine Residency program at the Department of State Health Services in Austin, TX, and her Transitional Year Program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She earned her master’s in public health in Health Promotion and Community Health from the University of Texas A&M School of Public Health. Additionally, she is a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC), and she coordinated multiple clinical trials on different topics including diabetes, gastroenterology, and cardiovascular diseases. Previously, she worked as a Research Project Coordinator-Clinic Facilitator at the Latino Research Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin on the HPV vaccination program. Dr. Yamba’s interests include infectious disease prevention and control including Tuberculosis, Sexually Transmissible Diseases (STD), HIV/AIDS as well as cancer prevention, and maternal and child health. She lives in Mission, Texas, and enjoys cooking, traveling, reading, spending time with family and friends, and learning about different cultures.