I am pleased to announce the appointment of Leila Barraza, JD, MPH, as director of the Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AzAHEC) at the University of Arizona Health Sciences.
An associate professor of community, environment and policy at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Professor Barraza is also principal investigator of the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program for the Health Resources and Services Administration.
The AzAHEC Program is comprised of five statewide regional centers serving all 15 Arizona counties. The program’s mission is to improve access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by increasing the number of health care professionals through academic community partnerships in rural and urban medically underserved areas across the state.
In her new role, Professor Barraza will work in close collaboration with the AzAHEC regional centers, the Health Sciences colleges, Arizona State University’s College of Nursing, and Northern Arizona University’s School of Nursing and Department of Physician Assistant Studies. She will report to Daniel Derksen, MD, associate vice president for health equity, outreach and interprofessional activities for UArizona Health Sciences, and senior advisor and principal investigator for the AzAHEC Program.
As an Arizona native and former director of the College of Public Health’s Rural Health Professions Program, Professor Barraza has a deep understanding of the state’s health challenges, including access to primary care in remote areas, the need for a more diverse workforce, and rural health care worker shortages. She earned her Master of Public Health degree from the College of Public Health, then worked for the Center for Rural Health, where she supported rural and tribal hospitals and clinics. She earned her law degree from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
Please join me in congratulating Professor Barraza on her new appointment. She will bring to this important role her relentless energy and dedication to making a meaningful impact in the lives of Arizonans in medically underserved communities.
Michael D. Dake, MD
Senior Vice President
University of Arizona Health Sciences