Assistant Dean of Faculty Development
Director of STEER Program

Beatriz Tapia, M.D., M.P.H., C.P.H, is the Director of STEER and Course Director for the Environmental Medicine/Border Health Elective. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Assistant Dean of Faculty Development at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Harlingen, Texas. Dr. Tapia is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She attended the Autonomous University of Puebla in Mexico, where she received her M.D., and the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University (JHSPH), in Baltimore, Maryland, where she received her Master’s in Public Health. In addition to her M.P.H., Dr. Tapia trained in occupational health and environmental medicine, health disparities and health inequality at the JHSPH. Dr. Tapia is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Professional Leadership with an Emphasis in Health Science Education from the University of Houston.

She is active in numerous border health organizations, and is currently appointed the U.S. co-facilitator of the environmental health subcommittee for the Gulf Taskforce of the United States – México Border Health Commission- Border 2020 (formally Border 2012).  She also served on the expert advisory group for Border 2012, which was charged with updating a training module of the Physician’s Guide to Pesticide Poisoning for border physicians.

Dr. Tapia is a strong advocate for the medically underserved; she continuously provides environmental and public health education to promotoras (lay healthcare workers), public health professionals and community centers.  Her research interests are border health, environmental medicine, public health, minority health and medical education research.

Associate Research Scientist

Noe Garza, DDS, MPH, DPH. Is an Associate Research Scientist and Lecturer for the South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) Environmental Medicine Program at the School of Medicine University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen, Dr. Garza is a native of the Texas Rio Grande Valley. He received his Masters of Public Health and Dental Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Brownsville Regional Campus in 2004. In addition, he is a bilingual Doctor in Dentistry Surgery, trained in Mexico at the University of Matamoros Tamaulipas Mexico.

Dr. Garza has extensive experience in environmental medicine and public health. He served as a co-investigator of the Human Papillomavirus Infection and P53 Codon 72 Genotypes in a Hispanic Population at High-Risk for Cervical Cancer. (2005). Study among Hispanic women living in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Valle Hermoso, Tam. México. Also of the Organic compounds detected in deciduous teeth: A replication study from children with autism in two samples. (2015).

Dr. Garza also coordinates all the phases of the STEER program rotations in Harlingen, which features a one-month elective for health professions students which focuses on environmental medicine, community health, public health, and international health at the U.S.-Mexico Border, Instructor to students and community health workers (promotoras) on autism, asthma triggers, colonias, lead, household hazards, dengue, Zika and other related public health issues through border health and environmental medicine elective. He provides research mentorship to medical and public health professions students by assisting in the design of research posters, presentations and reports. Currently serves for the Hispanic Autism Research Center – a pilot study, and Tooth Fairy study, responsible for study coordination, recruitment, and study interviews and follow-up of participants.