Faculty

Dr. Marsha Griffin, Director

Marsha Griffin, MD, is Director, Division of Child and Family Health, at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, and co-founder of Community for Children, along with Dr. Minnette Son, Professor of Pediatrics, UTHSCSA.  In addition, Dr. Griffin is clinical adjunct faculty for the UTHSCSA Regional Academic Health Center. Dr. Griffin received her medical degree from the UTHSCSA in 2003 and completed her residency in general pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in June 2006. Prior to her medical career, Dr. Griffin completed graduate studies in the theology of social justice at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, Minnesota. She was founder and, from 1988 to 1999, executive director of the FOCUS Foundation, a nonprofit organization that produced documentary films concerning adolescents and their struggle for success. As director of housing services for the Central Community Housing Trust in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 1996 to 1999, she was instrumental in developing housing and services in the inner-city for homeless, former addicts, Somalian refugees, and street children. A lifelong advocate for the underserved, Dr. Griffin has served as a board member for numerous community-based organizations both nationally and internationally and provided care in countries such as Haiti, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

Dr. Stan Fisch, Co-Director

Stanley I. Fisch, MD, is professor and pediatric program director for the UTHSCSA Regional Academic Health Center. He is one of four partners at Harlingen Pediatric Associates, Inc., a clinical rotation site for UTHSCSA medical students. He graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York in 1970 and completed his internship and pediatric residency at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, Bronx, New York (1973). Dr. Fisch traveled to South Texas as a member of the National Health Corp with a two-year service commitment. Dr. Fisch was appointed to the medical staff at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen in 1973, an appointment he has held for 33 years, while also in general pediatrics private practice. Dr. Fisch is an advocate for children's health and a community leader, serving on numerous boards of directors and committees at local, state and national levels. In recognition of his efforts, Dr. Fisch received the 2006 Job Lewis Award for Leadership in Community Pediatrics from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Minnette Son

Minnette Son, MD, is co-founder of Community for Children along with Dr. Griffin. She is also professor of pediatrics in the Division of Critical Care, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. In 1979, she graduated from the UTHSCSA Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. She received her medical degree from the UTHSCSA in 1990 where she also completed her residency in pediatrics and, in 2000, her fellowship in pediatric critical care. Dr. Son is a consultant to the Texas Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council and member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and other professional organizations. Her clinical and research interests include cerebral vascular responses and child abuse treatment and prevention. Dr. Son has traveled internationally, performing lifesaving surgeries on children in Mongolia, Kosovo and other developing countries. She has developed expertise in providing medical care in situations of extreme poverty and limited resources, serving on projects in Africa and Central and South America.

Catherine Monserrat, PhD

Monserrat

Catherine Monserrat holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, a Master’s in Guidance and Counseling and an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education and Human Development. With over thirty years’ experience working as an educator, lecturer and psychotherapist, she continues to teach and mentor health professionals, educators and counselors.

Throughout her professional life, Dr. Monserrat has taken leadership in numerous initiatives to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families. Working with local communities, as well as on state and national levels, she has developed programs and curricula addressing family life, parenting, adoption, teen pregnancy and child abuse prevention. Her expertise in adolescent pregnancy, parenting and prevention led her to become a consultant to the U.S. Office of Population Affairs, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Foundation. She recently served as the team leader and curriculum writer for Comprehensive Community Support Services, a training designed to help integrate people with behavioral health challenges into their communities. Dr. Monserrat works in Tanzania, East Africa, developing programs to improve the quality of life for HIV/AIDS impacted children and families. She is the author of four books and numerous articles for both professional and popular publications.

Michael Seifert

Father MikeMichael Seifert is a “Network Weaver” for the Marguerite Casey Foundation. He is responsible for the collaboration of nine Valley organizations representing over 10,000 families living in poverty along the Texas Mexico border. The groups work together on issues ranging from access to healthcare, immigration reform and job creation. He formerly served as Catholic priest of San Felipe de Jesus Church in Cameron Park. Cameron Park is the poorest town in the USA (Census 2000), with a per capita income less than that of El Salvador, Guatemala or Mexico. Its economic poverty belies the wealth of resources in the community. Fr. Seifert has been a part of a ten year effort by Cameron Park residents to transform the colonia. Seifert has worked extensively with community leaders, bringing about an 800% increase in voter participation. As a result, the community garnered more than $ 7 million in infrastrucuture improvements (paved roads and storm drains), a new park, a sheriff's substation, a satellite clinic, and a community services' center. Seifert graduated with a Masters Degree in Theology in 1984 from Catholic University in Washington DC. He served in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca after ordination, where he saw the power of grassroots' organizing in a situation of extreme oppression and poverty. He worked for several years in Harlingen and La Joya, as a member of the United Farmworkers' Union and Valley Interfaith, before founding Proyecto Digna in Cameron Park in 1997. Since 1989, Seifert has worked with Proyecto Vida Digna, in Matamoros, Mexico. Proyecto Vida Digna is a community organizing project that focuses upon the struggles of the families of women who work in foreign-owned factories in Mexico. He has served on the Rio Grande Valley Health Services District. Read Mike’s blog at http://alongsideaborder.blogspot.com/

Judith Livingston, MEd, MCHES

Judith LivingstonMs. Livingston holds a Master’s Degree in Education from University of Houston (1981) and is credentialed as a Master Certified Health Education Specialist by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Ms. Livingston has a faculty appointment as instructor/special projects in the UTHSCSA Department of Pediatrics and has been a consultant and employee of the Department of Pediatrics since 1998. Ms. Livingston is involved with the educational programs for medical students, residents, and physicians. She is also involved in project management for grant-funded initiatives, most recently the Texas Pulse Oximetry Project (TxPOP), an educational program to promote newborn screening for critical congenital heart disease. She co-authored the AAP/CATCH grant which helped launch Community for Children. Prior to coming to UTHSCSA, she served as Director, Texas Department of Health Newborn Screening Follow-up Program; Director, Science and Preventive Medicine Department/Texas Medical Association; Director of Education/Harris County Medical Society; and public health educator for the Harris County Health Department. The overarching theme of her career has been promoting children’s health, whether through policymaking at national and state levels or directing children’s health education programs at the community level.

Dr. Robert Luis Hamilton

HamiltonDr. Hamilton is Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology, Hospital Infantil de Tamaulipas/Secretaria de Salud de Tamaulipas and Professor of Pediatrics and Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Autónoma of Tamaulipas. He is also a Professor in the Pediatrics Endocrinology Residency program at Hospital Infantil. He has worked with Hospital Infantil de Tamaulipas since 2000 in the Department of Endocrinology, and serves the State of Tamaulipas Health Secretaria caring for low-income and underprivileged children. His clinical and research interests include Congenital Hypothyroidism and Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Hamilton oversees the endocrinology laboratory for the State of Tamaulipas Newborn Screening program for Congenital Hypothyroidism, processing over 30,000 samples a year. He also supervises the Diabetes program at Hospital Infantil de Tamaulipas and the Diabetes Camps each year.

 

Dr. Hamilton grew up in Los Angeles, California, but has lived in Mexico for more than 30 years and greatly enjoys working with the Mexican people. He graduated from the School of Medicine University of Autónoma de Nuevo Leon in 1987. After finishing medical school, he received an invitation from a friend to work at the Children’s Hospital in Ciudad Victoria. There he met his future wife and at the end of his fellowship married and received a teaching position in pediatrics at the University of Montemorelos, where he taught from 1992-1996 and 1998 through 2000. Dr. Hamilton worked as a medical missionary for almost 8 years.