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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 15, 1999



The President today announced the appointment of Amanda Aguirre, Jeffrey Brandon, Carlos Rene Gonzales, Rosemarie Marshall Johnson, Laurance N. Nickey, Blair Sadler, Catherine Torres, and Paul Villas as Members of the U.S. Section of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission. The appointees are joined by William Reynolds Archer, Diana M. Bonta, James L. Schamadan, and J. Alex Valdez, the principal state health officials from the four U.S. border states of Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico respectively. Secretary Donna E. Shalala will serve as the Chair of the U.S. Section.

Ms. Amanda Aguirre, of Yuma, Arizona, is the Executive Director of the Western Arizona Area Health Education Center and the Director of College Services for South Yuma County at Arizona Western College. She has been active for more than fifteen years in addressing U.S.-Mexico Border health care issues and has coordinated and participated in several binational conferences. Her early professional training included a clinical internship at the Center for Developmental Disabilities, Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Aguirre received her B.S. in chemistry from Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, and her M.A. in human nutrition from California State University-Los Angeles.

Dr. Jeffrey Brandon, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, is the Associate Dean of the College of Health and Social Services at New Mexico State University. Previously, he was Department Head for Health Science at the College and served on the faculty of the University of New Orleans-Lakefront. Dr. Brandon is highly involved in professional associations, university committees, and local public service. Dr. Brandon received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Dr. Carlos Rene Gonzales, of Patagonia, Arizona, is a rural family physician at the Patagonia Family Health Center and a clinical lecturer in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona-Tucson College of Medicine. Dr. Gonzalez has served as a consultant and community medical director in various capacities in addition to continuing his work as a hands-on primary care provider. In 1997, he was named Arizona Family Physician of the Year. Dr. Gonzales received his B.A. from Carleton College and his M.D. from the University of Arizona-Tuscon.

Dr. Rosemarie Marshall Johnson, of San Diego, California, is the Vice Speaker of the House of the California Medical Association and an Associate Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology at the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Diego. She has taught at Georgetown University, Walter Reed Army Hospital, Bethesda Naval Hospital, and the University of California. She has also held appointments at several California hospitals and served in numerous professional organizations, including as President of the San Diego County Medical Society and as of the California Society of Anesthesiologists. Dr. Johnson received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her M.D. from Georgetown University.

Dr. Laurance N. Nickey, of El Paso, Texas, is the former President of the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation. He is the former Director of the El Paso City/County Health and Environmental District. Dr. Nickey was in private pediatric practice from 1960 to 1983. He was Vice Chairman of the Texas Board of Health for five years and was local campaign chairman for the March of Dimes. Dr. Nickey is a past president of several organizations including the Southwest Medical Association, the Texas Pediatric Society, and the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association. He received the Nathan David Award for the American Medical Association presented in Washington, D.C. in 1995 for outstanding career service along the U.S.-Mexico Border. Dr. Nickey received his M.D. from Baylor University, College of Medicine.

Mr. Blair L. Sadler, of La Jolla, California, has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Children's Hospital and Health Center of San Diego since 1980. Prior to his appointment at Children?s Hospital, Mr. Sadler serves as Vice President and Director of the hospital and clinics at Scripps Clinical and Research Foundation for three years. He served as a law clerk with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and as a medical-legal specialist for the National Institutes of Health. While on the faculty at Yale Medical School, Mr. Sadler served as Co-Director of the Trauma Program and helped design a two-year curriculum to train physician assistants. Concurrently, he was an assistant professor of law for three years. After Yale, Mr. Sadler served for four years as Assistant Vice President at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, the largest foundation specializing in health care. He administered the Foundation's first national program, awarding forty-four grants in thirty-two states to improve emergency medical systems. Mr. Sadler graduated from Amherst College with a bachelor's degree in economics and received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Dr. Catherine Torres, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a pediatrician for the First Step Pediatric Center at memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After completing two years of a surgical residency at the College of Medicine-Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she decided to pursue a medical career in pediatrics. At St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, she completed her pediatric residency in 1995. Dr. Torres is also a part of a medical mobile unit team that delivers indigent health care to the rural areas of Las Cruces, which happens to be along the U.S./Mexican Border. Practicing at the First Step Pediatric Center allows Dr. Torres to pursue a personal crusade in providing quality health care to the indigent population. In 1985, she received her Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and received her medical degree in 1990 at the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Paul Villas, of Edinburg, Texas, is the Executive Director of the Texas-Mexico Border Health Office out of the University of Texas System.

He is also an Associate Professor of Health and Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Texas-Pan American. He has taught at several universities, is involved in numerous professional associations, and is the author of dozens of professional publications. Dr. Villas received his B.A. from the College of Santa Fe, his M.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi, and his D.Ed. from the University of Tennessee.

The Government of the United States and the Government of Mexico have initiated discussions on the creation of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission and seek to conclude an agreement in the coming year. The appointment of members of the U.S. Section will allow the U.S. Section to move forward with its planning efforts in anticipation of the binational commission. The Commission was authorized by the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission Act (Public Law 103-400), and is charged with finding ways to improve the health status of Americans living along the border.