Oct 01, 2022  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog

M.D. Program Academic Distinctions and Concurrent Degree Programs

Dual M.D./M.P.H. Degree Program

The concurrent Doctor of Medicine/Master of Public Health (M.D./M.P.H.) is a collaborative program offered by the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health (UTSPH). The M.D./M.P.H. program will prepare students to integrate medical and public health skills in their professional lives as practitioners, administrators, and researchers. The dual degree occurs concurrently with enrollment in the MD program and prepares students to address community, regional, and population-specific public health issues.


Shared credit between the two institutions for selected coursework makes it possible for students to complete both degrees simultaneously within the four years of medical school, while still being able to customize the M.P.H. program to individualized interests and educational goals. Student interests are varied including exploring behavioral health, health policy, and global health issues, or deepening skills in epidemiology or health care administration. The PLFSOM Society, Community, and the Individual course complements the M.P.H. curriculum and supports requirements related to the UTSPH practicum requirement.

Students are guided throughout the program by faculty from the two participating schools. M.P.H. coursework begins the summer before medical school and continues in the summer between first and second year of medical school and then throughout years three and four. Preliminary core required coursework may be taken online and does not require residence in El Paso at the time of enrollment.

Application deadline for the M.P.H.:

April 1* - Summer or fall admissions – PLFSOM students should apply in early spring once they are matched with PLFSOM to begin course work in the summer before medical school

October 1* - Spring admissions

*Deadlines are subject to change; contact the UTSPH for current deadlines.

GREs are waived for students who have been accepted to medical school; also note letters of support used for medical school may be used for the M.D.-M.P.H. program application.

Application forms and directions can be found at the following websites:

UTHealth SPH

Or see the application directly at the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS)


For more information, please contact both schools:


E. Lee Rosenthal, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., TTUHSC El Paso M.D./M.P.H. Program Coordinator
Lee.Rosenthal@ttuhsc.edu| 915-215-6459

M.D./M.P.H. email: MD-MPH-ElPaso@ttuhsc.edu

PLFSOM Admissions webpage: M.D./M.P.H. Option

UTHealth SPH:

M.D./M.P.H. Program Contacts:

Kristina Mena, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.

El Paso Campus Dean

Kristina.D.Mena@uth.tmc.edu | 915-975-8514

Maribel Alomari, M.P.H.

Program Administrator, El Paso Campus

Maribel.Alomari@uth.tmc.edu | 915-975-8515

M.D. Program Anatomy Distinction

Ricardo Belmares, Ph.D.
Instructor, Department of Medical Education
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
O: 915-215-5875

Students with a special interest in advanced instruction in anatomy may apply for the PLFSOM Distinction in Anatomy Program during the 2nd semester of their MS1 year. Students must demonstrate an ability to succeed in the core curriculum as a prerequisite to acceptance into the Distinction in Anatomy Program. Students interested in the elective Distinction in Anatomy Program must fulfill the program’s general and anatomy-specific criteria, seen below, and submit a complete application by April 16th of the MS1 year.

 ELIGIBILITY: All students in good academic standing and with a good record of professionalism are eligible to apply for the Distinction in Anatomy Program. Students who are placed on academic warning or probation, as defined by the PLFSOM Grading, Promotion, and Academic Standing (GPAS) policy, are not eligible for the Distinction in Anatomy Program and must withdraw from the program if enrolled. Outstanding remediation/s and/or other obligations may also be considered by the faculty in determining acceptance into the program.

MS1 Year

ACCEPTANCE PROCESS AND CRITERIA: The application deadline is April 16, 2021 of the MS1 year. Acceptance is determined by a committee consisting of the participating anatomy faculty members, the Chair of the Department of Medical Education, the Associate Dean for Medical Education, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Acceptance is to be based primarily on the applicant’s general academic records, performance on anatomy summative exam items, record of good professionalism, and an essay explaining their motivation to commit to the program.

CAPACITY: The number of students accepted for the Distinction in Anatomy Program is to be determined each year by the participating anatomy faculty members and the Chair of the Department of Medical Education, with final approval by the Associate Dean for Medical Education.

 As outlined in the following sections, the Distinction in Anatomy Program begins immediately following the end of the MS1 spring semester.

MS1 Summer Break

 The summer dissections for the Distinction in Anatomy program are intended to provide the student with a firm foundation in clinically oriented human gross anatomy. This is a 6-week course that incorporates self-directed learning materials that prepare the student for each day’s lab experience, followed by dissection labs that expose the student to the detailed structure of the human body, and completed by review of the material using organized learning materials after lab. These dissections will potentially be used in general anatomical instruction in the following year.

Labs will begin each morning at 8am in MEB 4135A. There will be a short quiz (do not be late - there are no make-up quizzes), followed by a brief overview of the day’s dissection. After the overview, we will perform the day’s dissection. Labs are scheduled from 8am-noon on most days, although some of the dissections will take time in the afternoon to complete. Practical exams are scheduled for 3pm. Attendance for all dissection sessions is mandatory with only two absences permitted. Students will be required to complete all the dissection assignments.

Lectures and prelab learning modules are online at: anatomy.elpaso.ttuhsc.edu. Students should review the narrated PowerPoint lab overview lectures and the prelab learning modules, and watch the online dissection videos, before coming to labs. The daily quiz questions will be drawn from the online lectures and prelab learning material. Students should use the computers in the gross anatomy lab to review dissection procedures and adhere closely to the instructions in the online Lab Manual when performing dissections. Students must make records of their dissections on the forms provided, including notes and photographs of any pathology, evidence of surgery, and anatomical variation. After lab, students should use the online Dissector Answers to review the material dissected that day, and review any Learning Modules assigned to the lab. The final step in reviewing is to look over the online Review Questions.

Grades will be based on the average of all of the prelab quizzes (25%) and the average of all of the practical exams (75%). Distinction students need to attain a minimum course average of 70% to remain in the program.  Students must take the TTUHSC Anatomy Cumulative Exam (ACE) at the end of the MS1 summer break after the 6 weeks of dissection and must score at or above 75% on the ACE to remain in the program. Remediation opportunities are generally not offered, but may be offered on a case-by-case basis. Students are also required to schedule and take the NBME Anatomy Subject exam within a week of the ACE in order to benchmark their performance against a national measure of competence. Once the MS1 Summer break requirements have been meet the student will be considered as a Candidate of the Distinction in Anatomy Program.

The schedule for the anatomy labs to be completed in the MS1 summer break follows:

 Week 1: May 25-28 (Tuesday start)

Introduction; Superficial Back; Deep Back & Spinal Cord

 Pectoral Region & Breast; Posterior Shoulder, Axilla, & Arm Forearm;

Wrist & Hand

Joints of Back and Upper Limbs

Week 2: June 1 -June 4

 Memorial Day Holiday (Monday)

 Practical Exam 1

Anterior & Medial Thigh; Hip & Posterior Thigh & Leg

Anterior Leg & Foot

 Joints of the Lower Limbs

 Week 3: June 7-11

 Practical Exam 2

Thoracic Wall, Pleura, & Pericardium

Heart Superior Mediastinum & Lungs; Posterior Mediastinum

 Practical Exam 3

 Week 4: June 14-18

Abdominal Wall & Inguinal Region

Peritoneal Cavity & Intestines; Stomach & Spleen

 Duodenum, Pancreas, Liver, & Gallbladder Kidneys & Retroperitoneum

 Practical Exam 4

 Week 5: June 21-25

Pelvic Viscera; Pelvic Muscles & Neurovasculature


Practical Exam 5 Anterior Triangle of the Neck; Posterior Triangle & Root of the Neck

Larynx & Pharynx

Week 6: June 28- July 1 (Thursday)

Scalp, Cranial Cavity, & Brain

 Parotid Gland & Face; Infratemporal Fossa & Oral Cavity

 Orbit & Eye; Ear & Nasal Cavity

Practical Exam 6

All students are each required to develop a research project that must be approved by the anatomy faculty. It may also serve as the student’s SARP project if desired. Clinically oriented anatomy research projects are highly recommended and may entail studies of anatomical variations, development and testing of novel anatomical teaching materials, investigations of modifications to surgical procedures or invasive techniques, or the relationship of anatomy to other fields of medicine, such as radiology, anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, etc. Other research projects less related to anatomy will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the anatomy faculty.

MS2 Year

Students will participate in six MS1 and MS2 anatomy labs as teaching assistants. TA obligations will be shared, and will be coordinated by the supervising anatomy faculty as follows:

Ranking of preferred labs for TA assignments, 1-24, and faculty anatomists will match accordingly to the best of their ability.

Assisting the faculty with the preparation of the gross anatomy materials/specimens, and be prepared to serve as an informed teaching assistant for each assigned lab duty.

Participation of a minimum of 6 labs duties is mandatory.

Attendance at pre-lab meetings for their TA assignments is also mandatory.         

MS3 Year

If necessary, candidates will continue to work on their research project. When the project is completed, the candidate will submit their scholarship for peer-reviewed publication or presentation at a regional or national meeting. Poster or platform presentation at a regional or national conference is the minimum requirement for the research component of the Distinction in Anatomy Program.

MS4 Year

Distinction in Anatomy Program candidates will be required to enroll in and successfully complete an advanced anatomy and/or surgical anatomy elective of at least 2 weeks in length.

If not already completed, candidates will submit their anatomy scholarship for peer-reviewed publication or presentation at a regional or national meeting. A poster presentation at a regional or national conference is the minimum requirement for the research component, however acceptance of a peer-reviewed publication is encouraged.


 Upon successful completion of all the above outlined elements of the Distinction in Anatomy Program, with review and verification by the program committee (as described above for the acceptance process), candidates will receive a designation of “Distinction in Anatomy” on their diplomas in addition to a notation on their official transcript indicating completion of the Distinction in Anatomy Program.

Summary of Requirements for Distinction in Anatomy

  • Perform all required dissections with dissection documentation - Summer MS1
  • Attain a minimum average score of 70% for graded components of the dissection experience - Summer MS1
  • Pass the TTUHSC Anatomy Cumulative Exam at 75% and take the NBME Anatomy Subject Exam – End of Summer MS1
  • Serve as Teaching Assistant for 6 anatomy lab assignments for MS1 and MS2 students – MS2
  • Present and/or publish anatomy-related research project findings - MS3 or MS4
  • Complete advanced anatomy and/or surgical anatomy elective of at least 2 weeks in length -MS4.

M.D. Program Research Distinction

Carolyn D. Mack, Associate Director
Office of Scholarly Activity and Research Program (SARP)
Phone: 915-215-4341
Fax: 915-783-1709

The purpose of the Distinction in Research and Scholarship (DIRS) program is to recognize Paul L. Foster School of medicine (PLFSOM) students who have demonstrated exceptional engagement and proficiency in scholarship and research while in medical school.

This distinction goes beyond the requirements of the Scholarly Activity and Research Program (SARP), which exposes students to the scholarship process but does not necessarily expect engagement or proficiency in all aspects of the scholarship/research process and published outcomes.

Eligibility Criteria for DIRS award:

  • Must have completed all requirements of the SARP program.
  • Must be in good standing in regard to academics and professionalism, as determined by the Office of Student Affairs.

Application Guidelines:

When applying for the DIRS program, students are required to select a primary project that best exemplifies their overall engagement, proficiency and achievements in scholarship/research. For the purpose of DIRS, the primary project can be a SARP project or any project of the applicant’s choosing, provided it was executed while he/she was in medical school. Students are asked to provide a detailed description of their involvement in each of the following aspects of their primary project:

  • Development of the research/scholarly question or hypothesis
  • Project design
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB) application (if applicable)
  • Data collection, analysis and interpretation
  • Preparation of any manuscripts or presentations at a local, regional or national meeting

Finally, students are encouraged to list and briefly summarize their participation in and accomplishments for any additional projects other than their primary project. Such additional contributions and efforts will be considered by the committee and incorporated into the discussion before casting a final vote.

Note: All projects must be executed while in medical school.

Application Process:
The application will consist of two components: 1) student application and 2) mentor support form.

  1. Students must submit an application documenting the following:
    • Full description of primary* project and listing of any additional projects with their associated scholarly productivity (e.g., peer- reviewed publications; presentations at local, national or regional meetings).

      *Note: Your primary project for DIRS does not have to be your SARP project.
    • Detailed description (provided by student) of personal involvement with the primary project for each of the following:
      • Development of research question or hypothesis
      • Project design
      • IRB application (if applicable)
      • Data collection, analysis and interpretation
      • Preparation of manuscripts and presentations (oral and/or poster) at local, regional or national meetings
      • Additional projects can be listed in Section 4 of the application.
      • Letters of support from faculty or other researchers/scholars involved in the project (in addition to mentor’s support form — see below).

        Note: Faculty, researchers and other scholars involved in the project must email their letters of support DIRECTLY to carolyn.mack@ttuhsc.edu.
  2. Mentor Support Form
    • The project mentor(s) for each project, primary or other, must submit an overall evaluation of the student along with a description of the student’s involvement in each of the following:
      • Development of research question or hypothesis
      • Project design
      • IRB application (if applicable)
      • Data collection, analysis and interpretation
      • Preparation of manuscripts, presentations (oral and/or poster) at local, regional or national meetings

        Note: Mentors must email their Mentor Support Forms DIRECTLY to carolyn.mack@ttuhsc.edu.


DIRS Application Review Process:

  • The completed DIRS application will be reviewed by a faculty committee convened by the SARP program directors. The committee will consist of five faculty members drawn from at least three different departments.
  • Committee members may not be mentors of the DIRS applicants.
  • Each review panel will include at least one M.D. and one Ph.D.-holding faculty member.
  • SARP co-directors will convene the review panel, facilitate review and serve as non-voting ex-officio members.

DIRS Awards
All DIRS applicants will be notified of their application status via email. DIRS awardees will also receive an official congratulatory letter signed by the dean of the PLFSOM.