Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Faculty Showcase: Interview of Dr. Julio Guerrero

Dr. Julio Guerrero
Dr. Julio Guerrero

As many of you already know, Dr. Julio Guerrero is the newest faculty member of the TWU Health Studies Department family. He became our new assistant professor in August of 2012. We were able to interview him to gain some insight into his life. 

1). Where did you receive your education? 

“I just earned my PhD in Health Education from Texas A&M in December 2012.  I defended my dissertation in August and walked the stage in December.  Prior to that, I earned a master's degree in Applied Exercise Science from Oklahoma State in 2007, and a bachelor's degree in Health & Physical Education from Northwestern Oklahoma State in 2003.”

2). What are your current research projects?

“My research focus is metabolic syndrome prevention among Mexican-Americans.  Currently, I am examining the relationship between acculturation and chronic diseases.   I am involved with the health disparities research group on campus, and we are in the process of developing collaborations with Latino-serving communities in the DFW area.  Eventually, we would like to start conducting studies that examine how particular aspects of acculturation affect health outcomes among Mexican-Americans.”

3). What made you decide to go into the health studies field?

“A lot went into my decision to go into health studies.  First, I had wanted to become physician when I started college, so I focused on completing the pre-med curriculum.  But I was also an athlete, which prevented me from completing the pre-med courses while I played.  So I was forced to change majors for the time being, and decided on Kinesiology.  However, I completed the pre-med curriculum and applied to medical school after I completed my athletic career.  I didn't get accepted the first round, so I decided to pursue a master's degree to strengthen my applications for the next year.  I was accepted into the Applied Exercise Science program at OSU.  I learned how exercise and nutrition affected the body and prevented disease.  However, my research lab was only involved in performance improving projects among elite athletes.  I simply felt I wasn't doing enough by helping elite athletes become better; I felt could have more of an impact working with a different population, one that actually needs help.  So I developed an interest in health promotion and education, especially among my fellow Latinos who often complained about not knowing how to engage in healthier behaviors.  So when I decided to pursue a PhD, I applied for Health Education programs and got accepted by Texas A&M.  During my doctoral years, I learned how to work with individuals, communities, organizations, and policymakers to develop health improving strategies that positively affect Latino and impoverished communities.”

4). Why did you decide to start teaching health studies?

“I wanted to teach for two reasons: 1) teaching gives me an opportunity to develop community relationships that allow me to engage with individuals and communities regarding health.  2) teaching allows me to directly impact future health professionals.  I had my share of great AND poor professors throughout my academic career, and I just wanted to make sure that current students had a chance to be guided by another good professor who has genuine passion for health and for professionally developing future health professionals.”

5). If you could give any advice to current or future health studies students what would it be?

“I have the same advice for students of any discipline: 1) have passion - be genuine and sincere in what you do and success will happen.  2) be ambitious - take pride in what you do and fulfill your potential. 3) be determined – always realize the greatest rewards come at the greatest costs, so don't let adversity define your life or your career.”

6). What are your most recent publications about and who are the co-authors?

“I'll be submitting two manuscripts from my dissertation with my doctoral advisor, Dr. Ranjita Misra.   I also plan to collaborate with Dr. Abraham Wang in Family Sciences.  Eventually, I will publish results from my research team's health disparities project.”

Later, Dr. Guerrero explained that the health disparities project is a collaborative project with group on campus that consists of several TWU departments. It is a detail extensive research project and he hopes to gain some insight about how acculturation affects factors for metabolic syndrome and other chronic diseases. Good luck, Dr. Guerrero! We are glad to have you as part of the Health Studies Department.


Josh Bernstein said...

In my limited experiences with Dr. Guerrero he appears acutely focused on the work ahead and how to best serve our students right now--a solid addition to the health studies program.

Mo Solo said...

Thanks, Josh! We are glad he has joined our team.