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Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC)

The overall goal of the BBRC is to develop, grow and sustain the extant infrastructure and programs, as well as to recruit, train, and develop cancer scientists and health practitioners to promote high quality cancer research and to translate meaningful findings back to the community. Through mentoring, pilot programs, and enhanced research infrastructure we seek to promote investigator competitiveness in acquiring extramural funding to address regional disease disparities. We also seek to generate an environment that creates pipelines for undergraduate and graduate students into biomedical careers and serves as a major point of entry for Hispanics and other underrepresented minorities into the nation’s biomedical workforce.

 Hispanic cancer-related health disparities, that affect our region lead to disproportionately higher rates of premature morbidity and mortality. Enhancing the connection of minority and disenfranchised communities to new health advances requires effective health education, engaging more participants, producing more investigators, and enhancing the research infrastructure at minority institutions like the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The BBRC has evolved over the past 25 years from leveraging existing physical and intellectual resources to promoting and supporting translational research to reduce health disparities in the region and across the country. The mission of the BBRC is to synergize and coordinate multidisciplinary teams at UTEP and community partners to gain new knowledge about the social, behavioral, cultural, environmental, and genetic determinants of cancer health disparities.

UTEP, through support from the Research Centers at Minority Institutions (RCMI) created the Border Biomedical Research Center (BBRC) to address issues of Hispanic Health Disparities unique to the far West Texas Borderplex. UTEP has developed an extensive cadre of collaborators consisting of experts from regional academic, medical, and community partners with the goal to address cancer health disparities that permeate our majority Mexican American population. When combined with our sister city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, we represent the largest bi-national community in the world, with nearly 3 million people.


3U54MD007592-27S1                                                       Kirken (PI)              11/13/20-11/12/22                                    NIMHD RADx-UP

The goal of this project is to implement community-based approaches to Increase SARS-CoV-2 Testing among an underserved and vulnerable Hispanic population of Mexican origin in El Paso, Texas.   

3U54MD007592-28S3                                                       Kirken (PI)              07/1/21-6/30/23                                       NIMHD ( Diversity Training Program)

The goal of this project is to explore adult male attitudes, and perceptions and lived experiences surrounding HPV and the HPV vaccine through a mixed methods approach among medically underserved Hispanic population of Mexican origin in El Paso, Texas.

CPRIT-TREC                                                                        Cox (PI)                  2021-2026                                            Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT)

UTEP/UTMDACC Partnership for Hispanic Cancer Disparities Research

The goal of this project is to build cancer research capacity at UTEP by establishing a mentoring program in collaboration with UT MD Anderson Cancer Center (UTMDACC), support pilot programs by junior faculty and recruit cancer researchers.

Amount: $5,881,734

National Alliance for Hispanic Health through the CDC       Mancera (PI)        2021– 2023                                               UTEP BBRC CDC Vaccine Uptake

The goal of this project is to increase COVID-19 and flu vaccine uptake through vaccine events and multimodal media in El Paso County, TX and southern Doña Ana County, NM.

Amount: $47,500

UNM Vaccine Equity                                                              Mancera (PI)     2021–2023                                               COVID-19 Promotora de Salud Community Project.

Promotores de salud engage in COVID-19 vaccine outreach within underserved communities of southern Dona Ana, NM.

Amount: TBD, pending NOA.

National Alliance for Hispanic Health through HRSA            Mancera (PI)        2021– 2022                                              UTEP BBRC Vacunas Para Todos CVN Network

The goal of this project is to utilize Promotores de salud to conduct COVID-19 vaccine outreach in El Paso County, TX and southern Doña Ana County, NM.

Amount: $777,033

Paso Del Norte Health Foundation                                        Mancera (PI)        2021 – 2021                                       COVID-19 Promotora de Salud Community Project.

The goal of this project is to conduct COVID-19 informational outreach and navigation utilizing Promotores de salud with underserved communities within El Paso County, TX and southern Doña Ana, NM.

Amount: $370,722

Know Our Five Cores

Administrative Core (AC)
Community Engagement Core (CEC)
Investigator Development Core (IDC)
Recruitment Core (RC)
Research Infrastructure Core (RIC)