From left, Linda Villarreal, M.D.; Albert Lopez, Edinburg CISD Coordinator of Health Services; Sandra Rodriguez, Monte Cristo Elementary School Principal; David Lakey, M.D., Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services; and Ann Millard, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health


Albert Lopez, coordinator of health services for the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) and a current graduate student at the McAllen Campus of the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health, recently received the 2011 Excellence in Texas School Health Discover Award.

“The Healthy Edinburg Schools Project received two grants from the Texas Department of State Health Services to initiate obesity prevention programs,” Lopez said. “With those two grants, we built a walking trail and installed playground equipment on the school playgrounds at Monte Cristo Elementary and Villarreal Elementary, which have both ignited interest in health and wellness in our students, parents and staff.”

Ann Millard, Ph.D., associate professor at TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health, served as project director on one grant and evaluator on the second.

Edinburg CISD is one of three districts in Texas to win the award for new and innovative school health projects, which also included a $1,500 cash award.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell