January 2022


Nicole Syed, MD, MS, assistant professor, joined FCM on Jan. 10. Dr. Syed completed her medical degree at Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland. In addition, she completed a master of advanced studies in clinical research at the University of California San Diego, and her family medicine residency at University of California Riverside. Dr. Syed will provide outpatient care at Banner – University Medicine Family Medicine Clinic at South Campus and will serve as faculty to the UArizona Family Medicine Residency program. She has research interests in reducing heart failure readmissions and improving patient immunization rates. Welcome, Dr. Syed!


Amy Blackburn, RN, Featured in Nogales International News; Team Honored for Vaccination Service

FCM's Amy Blackburn, RN, (pictured third from left), clinical lead for FCM's Mobile Health Program (MHP), was highlighted in a Nogales International News article "Mariposa Port of Entry serves as binational vaccine clinic," which highlighted the MEZCOPH MOVE UP (Mobile Outreach Vaccination and Education for Underserved Populations) program.

In addition, on December 14, Juan Francisco Gim, mayor of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, Victor Manuel Jimenez Segovia, acting consul general of Mexico, and Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS, who leads the MEZCOPH MOVE UP program, recognized the efforts of FCM’s Mobile Health Program to vaccinate individuals residing in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The medical volunteers administered more than 14,775 doses to individuals between June and November, 2021. Special thanks to, Paul Kurtin, MD, Ellen Paige, MD,  Cathy Dinsmore, RN, Roseanne Lee, PharmD, and Amy Blackburn, RN, for their dedication to the vaccination efforts! 
Pictured left to right: Paul Kurtin, MD; Ellen Paige, MD; Amy Blackburn, RN; John R. Modlin, US Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief; Cathy Dinsmore, RN; Roseanne Lee, PharmD; Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS


Dr. Bethany Bruzzi Awarded Woman of the Year for Tucson's '40 under 40'

Congratulations Bethany Bruzzi, DO, assistant professor, for being named "Woman of the Year" as one of Tucson's 40 Under 40! The award was presented by Snell & Wilmer, with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Daily Star. Dr. Bruzzi currently leads as a Chief Medical Officer for the Banner University hospital system in Tucson, after serving the South Campus location as the CMO for years. Congratulations, Dr. Bruzzi, and thank you for being both a trailblazer and powerful advocate for family medicine! View list of awardees here >>

Suzanne Teeple, JD, New Director for FCM's Tucson Family Advocacy Program

Congratulations to Suzanne Teeple, JD, who was named the new director for FCM's Tucson Family Advocacy Program (TFAP), replacing Anne Ryan, JD, who retired in December. TFAP is a partnership of health care providers and lawyers working together to improve the health and well-being of low-income patients and their families.

Rocio Enciso-Kuitert Promoted to Program Coordinator
Congratulations to Rocio Enciso-Kuitert, who was promoted to program coordinator for our Family Medicine Residency Program. Well deserved, Rocio!


COVID-19 Outreach with the Wassaja Center's AIRCH Team

In December 2021, The Wassaja Carlos Montezuma Center for Native American Health's American Indian Research Center for Health (AIRCH) team delivered more than 265 COVID-19 prevention kits to Native staff and students. This included deliveries for Amphi School District’s Native American Program, Sunnyside School District, Ha:sañ Preparatory and Leadership School, and more. The COVID-19 kits included N95 masks, disposable masks, cloth masks, face shields for staff, temperature checks, kid cloth masks, re-sealable bags for masks, large tote bags, pocket size tissues, hand sanitizer with backpack clips, water bottles with stickers, cleaning wipes, and COVID-19 information. With COVID-19 and the Omicron variant cases on the rise, the center and staff wanted to help tribal brothers and sisters be prepared and be COVID-safe. 


Sonoran UCEDD: Register for the 2022 African American Conference on Disabilities

It's time to register for the 2022 virtual African American Conference on Disabilities (AACD) occurring throughout the month of February. This conference is a FREE event. You can register for 12 sessions via the links below. The first session will start on February 1, and the last session will be on February 17.

Hosted by The Arizona Center for Disability Law and the Arizona Center for African American Resources (AZCAAR), the AACD is the only comprehensive conference in the U.S. that addresses the intersection between race and disabilities. CLE credit will be available for the sessions noted. CART and ASL Interpretation Services will be available for each session. Register here >>


Study: COVID-19 Vaccine Protects Adolescents 

Data from the ongoing AZ HEROES study found that the COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing infection in Arizona teens. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 92% effective at preventing COVID-19 in children between the ages of 12 and 17.

Karen Lutrick, PhD, assistant professor, who collaborates with AZ HEROES investigators from the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, said observing adult and youth participants in real-world conditions differentiates studies like AZ HEROES from the highly controlled clinical trials pharmaceutical companies use to test vaccine safety and efficacy.

“For us to get similar numbers as those clinical trials is exciting,” Dr. Lutrick said. “We want vaccination to work as well in real-world situations — masked, unmasked, in the classroom, going to soccer practice — as it does in clinical trials.” Read article >>

Dr. Alicia Allen Awarded 'Eighteenth Mile' Faculty Seed Grant

Alicia M. Allen, PhD, MPH, assistant professor, was awarded a UArizona Research, Innovation & Impact Eighteenth Mile Funding for her “Applying a Control Systems Engineering (CSE) Approach to Preventing Postpartum Relapse to Cigarette Smoking (PRCS)” study. The purpose of the Eighteenth Mile Funding Program is to infuse support into developed, yet unfunded projects in order to secure funding from an outside sponsor.

Dr. Allison Huff Leads Multi-Site Clinical Study with Aiberry

Allison Huff, DHEd, assistant professor, joined a multi-site clinical study to evaluate Aiberry’s artificial intelligence (AI) powered platform. The platform is designed to analyze a patient’s words, voice, and facial expressions to quickly detect signs of mental health challenges such as depression. Karen Lutrick, PhD, assistant professor, serves on the core team at Aiberry as a mental and health care domain expert. Learn more >>

Dr. Linnea Linde-Krieger, Receives Funding for BIO5 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Linnea Linde-Krieger PhD, postdoctoral research fellow, received BIO5 postdoctoral fellowship funding for her study, "Neuroendocrine Processes in Opioid-Exposed Mother-Infant Dyads: Implications for Maternal Caregiving Behavior and Infant Attachment Security." This project collects behavioral and biological measures from mother-infant dyads to assess dyadic interactions, maternal sensitivity to infant stress, and infant attachment between those who have had opioid exposure and those who have not. Ultimately, Dr. Linde-Krieger intends to use these data to pursue a line of research aimed to reduce the adverse impacts of opioid use disorder during the perinatal period on mother and baby. Dr. Linde-Krieger is a member of the RENEW Team, lead by Alicia Allen, PhD, MPH, assistant professor.


Dr. Alicia Allen Featured in Arizona Capital Times Article: 'Babies in Recovery as Opioid Crisis Continues'

Alicia Allen, PhD, MPH, assistant professor, was featured in an Arizona Capital Times article, "Babies in Recovery as Opioid Crisis Continues."

"Postpartum care for mothers is important because the relapse rate in the first six months is high — nearly 80%," said Dr. Allen, who studies substance use in women. She explained that, while postpartum is an especially vulnerable time, it’s also a good time for health care professionals to interact with women who are struggling with substance use. Read article >>


  • Francis Ejezie, started on Jan. 1, as a graduate assistant for Dr. Wendy Parent-Johnson, at Sonoran UCEDD.
  • Nina Halvax started Jan. 18, as a grant development writer for the department.
  • Mishka Golov started on Jan. 18, and will be working with the Targeted Investment Program (TIP) as an Americorp Volunteer.
  • Chaparelle Mogavero-Cline started on Jan. 18, and will be working with the Targeted Investment Program (TIP) as an Americorp Volunteer.


Sommer Aldulaimi, MD, FAAFP Alicia Allen, PhD, MPH Jerome Koleski, MD
Karen Lutrick, PhD
Patrick Rivers, MPP
Susan Marie Schembre, PhD, RD
Celina Irinea Valencia, DrPH

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Department of Family and Community Medicine · 655 N Alvernon Way Ste 228 · Tucson, AZ 85711 · USA

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