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Our Team

Community Conversations on Health (CCOH)  is a partnership between Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas Department of State Health Services that aims to build strong foundations with communities and provide resources to help them make better informed decisions toward optimal health and well-being.

Locate Your Regional Extension Program Specialist

CCOH Regional Program Specialist Map

Click or tap a region name below to display specialist information.

No specialist is available at this time.  Please contact CCOH directly using our Express Contact Form.

R Baptiste

Renee BaptisteContact

Renee Baptiste is an Extension Program Specialist I within the Family & Community Health Unit at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Renee Graduated from The University of West Georgia with a bachelor’s in psychology, is currently attending Tarleton University to earn her master’s in social work and hopes to earn a PHD in Behavioral Health. Renee has worked in community health education for the last 10 years. She began her career working in HIV education and linkage to care in Memphis TN at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital.

No specialist is available at this time.  Please contact CCOH directly using our Express Contact Form.

Rosalinda MarezContact

Rosalinda Marez is an Extension Program Specialist 1 within the Family and Community Health Unit at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Rosalinda has a Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Spanish. For the last 8 years she has worked as a Program Coordinator and a Child Passenger Safety Instructor for a TxDOT Traffic Safety Grant – The Passenger Safety Project. Her specialties include coordinating new technician trainings throughout the state of Texas with County Extension Agents, TxDOT, Law Enforcement and First Responders, and providing car seat education to pregnancy clinics, churches, and mom/parent groups. She previously served as a translator/interpreter for the local Spanish community at car seat events, medical appointments, and family/law court appearances.

Myriam Virella

Myriam Virella – Contact

Myriam Virella is an Extension Program Specialist I for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family and Community Health Program. Myriam has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Texas A&M University. She is also a Certified Community Health Worker and holds memberships with the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW) and the Texas Association of Promotores and Community Health Workers (TAPCHW). She has decades of experience working with the community in the support of their wellness journey. As a military spouse for more than 20 years she brings knowledge and diverse experiences that support strong communication in the community. With fairness, compassion and empathy Myriam has been providing the community with health and education knowledge through her work journey.

S. Isley

Sandra IsleyContact

Sandra Isley joined the AgriLife family November 1, 2021. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Community Health with a double minor in Psychology and Nutrition from the University of the Incarnate Word. Sandra is currently completing her Master of Public Health with a focus in Health Promotion and Behavioral Science from the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health. Her research interests include sustainability as health based educational interventions, motivational changes to healthy behaviors through education, health behaviors within Military and Veteran communities, Environmental Health, and Disaster Preparedness. Through education and service, Sandra is eager to make a positive impact in the lives of all Texans.

E. Ramirez

Erika Ramirez, MPH – Contact

Erika Ramirez is an Extension Program Specialist I within the Family & Community Health Unit at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Erika’s undergraduate degree is in Health and Exercise Science and her master’s degree is in Public Health. She has worked in various public health topics that range from birth control, teen pregnancy, STDs, diabetes to lifestyle management over the past 20 years. Erika was elated to join the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension team and looks forward to making a positive impact in our communities.

S. Luera

Samuel Luera – Contact

Sammy Luera is an Extension Program Specialist I within the Family & Community Health Unit at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Sammy Graduated in 2011 from Texas A&M International University at Laredo, TX with a bachelor’s degree in Fitness and Sports and a minor in Special Education. In 2021, he obtained his master’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. In 2016 he was hired at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Zapata County as an Extension Health Agent. As an Extension Health Agent, he was responsible for the Healthy South Texas initiative in Zapata County which is to reduce the prevalence of preventable diseases in South Texas. One major component of the Healthy South Texas initiative is the importance of healthy eating and physical activity to reduce many preventable diseases.

CCOH Program Staff

M. Faries

Mark D. Faries, PhD

Principal Investigator
Project Director

Dr. Mark Faries is an Associate Professor and Extension Health Specialist in Behavioral Medicine within the Family & Community Health Unit at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and Adjunct Associate Professor with Texas A&M College of Medicine and School of Public Health. Dr. Faries is Principal Investigator for Extension in the CCOH project and is Director of the Well Church Initiative (wellchurch.tamu.edu). He specializes in health behavior change, and the influential role of religious beliefs on healthy lifestyles and chronic disease prevention.

Miquela G. Smith, MPH

Co-Principal
Investigator

Miquela Smith, MPH has served as an Extension Program Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service since 2018. Miquela’s work focuses on chronic disease prevention, mental health and wellness, and disaster resiliency and recovery. She supports Family & Community Health Extension Agents throughout the north region and the state. Miquela is co-chair of Extension’s Mental Health & Wellness Initiative Team and is certified to instruct youth and adult Mental Health First Aid courses. In 2020, Miquela led AgriLife Extension’s COVID-19 Response Workgroup and now serves on the agency’s COVID-19 Advisory Group.

M. McClendon

Megan McClendon, PhD

Project
Coordinator

Dr. Megan McClendon is a Project Specialist III within Family & Community Health of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and an Adjunct Professor with Texas State University in their Public Health Program. Dr. McClendon specializes in rural and family health with current efforts focusing on rural and faith-based communities. Programmatic efforts include direct work with clergy, members of rural communities, and multi-sector partners to influence health behavior outcomes.

K. Murphy

Kate Murphy, MPH, CHES

Project Administrator

Kate Murphy is a Project Specialist II within the Family & Community Health Unit at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and an Instructor for the first-year experience program in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. She received her Master of Public Health from Texas A&M University School of Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®). Kate specializes in health promotion and community health with a current focus on rural and underserved populations in the state of Texas. She is exploring Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) programs to study the intersection of health behavior, communication, and politics.

Minte Dye, BS EDUC*

Assistant Project Administrator

Minte Dye is a student assistant within the Family & community Health Unit at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and currently assists with content creation and media resources. After completing her associates degree, Minte is continuing her education at Texas A&M in the College of Education and Human Development. She is studying education with a focus in early childhood through sixth grade.