Executive Director's Message

Welcome to the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Explore these pages, and you'll be inspired by the efforts of professionals and volunteers across this great state. Read about programs and women's health screening that could impact your life or the life of someone you love.

The Institute was founded in 2007 to promote research specific to women's health, to provide advanced education to health care professionals and to enrich the lives of women and girls through community programs and health screening.

The Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health is growing each year and reaching more girls and women with empowering messages and real solutions. Programs that began in Amarillo, Lubbock and San Angelo are spreading across the state to Midland, Corpus Christi, Dallas and Fort Worth.

Our National Advisory Board, including Mrs. Laura Bush, meets twice each year to discuss the Institute's progress, share the unique needs of each community and bring new ideas for research, education and community service.

Please join us by attending events, volunteering, becoming a research partner or by supporting the mission to make the lives of girls and women healthier and more fulfilling. I look forward to meeting you!

Warmest regards,
Connie Tyne
Executive Director

Connie Tyne

National Advisory Board

The National Advisory board is a group of community leaders across Texas who share a passion for improving women's health. The members come from varied backgrounds and advise the Executive Director on ways to advance and enhance the Institute's mission and programs while serving as ambassadors for the Institute.

National Advisory Board


Back Row:

Connie Tyne, Elizabeth Webb, Lisa Troutt, Maggie Murchison, Laura Street, Larry Gill, Nancy Neal, Norman Dozier, MD, Christy McClendon, Marjorie Jenkins, MD, Elisa Brown, MD, Janet Tornelli-Mitchell, MD, and Margaret Purvis

Front Row:

Meredith Land, Diane Scovell, Lee Ann White, Lana Andrews, Nancy Weiss, Jeanne Tower Cox, Laura Bush, Jan Rees-Jones, Kit Moncrief, Liz Bates, Donna Williams, Lea Wright, and Debbie Francis

Not Pictured:

Gloria Hicks, Betsy Sowell, Diana Strauss, Jackie Martin, and Sheryl Pfluger

Abilene, Texas

  • Pearl Merritt, Ed.D., M.S., MSN, FAAN, Regional Director
  • Megan Allred
  • Allison Alvarez
  • Elyse Lewis
  • Emerald Cassidy
  • Lisa Chavez
  • Julie Denny
  • Joy Ellinger
  • Mary Gill
  • Sue McWilliams
  • Kaye Price-Hawkins
  • Katherine Rinard, MD
  • Sara Trammell, MD
  • Jackie Zimmerman, DO

Amarillo, Texas

  • Angela Knapp Eggers, Senior Director
  • Melody Alexander
  • Ashley Forti
  • Mary Bagwell
  • Denise Blanchard
  • Kelly Caviness
  • Meaghan Collier
  • Cindy Cunningham
  • Beth Duke
  • Ana Estevez
  • Amy Henderson
  • Valerie Kiper
  • Toni Knapp
  • Danna Krause
  • Mary Nell Lemert
  • Julie Mitchell
  • Helen Piehl
  • Julie Puckett
  • Vicky Richmond
  • Carolyn Sherrod
  • *Laura Street
  • Shauna Thornhill
  • Courtney Vanderham
  • Nancy Williams
  • *Lea Wright

Lubbock, Texas

  • Betsy Jones, Ed.D., Regional Director
  • Maggie Ryan
  • Kelly Crofoot
  • Linda Greenstreet
  • Claudia Griffin
  • Heather Hocker
  • Paula Key
  • Liane Locke
  • *Christy McClendon
  • *Janet Mitchell
  • Cyndy Morris
  • *Nancy Neal
  • Ainsley Nelson
  • Cathy Porter
  • *Nancy Weiss
  • Leisha Womble
  • Karen Worley

San Angelo, Texas

  • Dinah Cummings, Ph.D. Regional Director
  • Sheila Alley
  • Caroline Drain
  • Linda Thorsen Bond
  • Michael Boomershine
  • Sherian Briley
  • Susan Brooks
  • Penni Cambre
  • Edward Carrasco
  • Rosalinda Carrizales
  • Dinah Cummings
  • Crystin Darby
  • Kristen Finlayson
  • Retha Fortenberry
  • Val Frank
  • Suzan Gargan
  • Deborah Hajovsky
  • Virginia Howell
  • Malinda Huffman
  • Nancy Hughes
  • Deanne Hume
  • Scott Jameson
  • Kendal Jastrow
  • Codi Kingman
  • Flor Madero
  • Jackie Martin
  • Angie McCasland
  • Carolyn McEnrue Ridge
  • Genevieve Mejia
  • Trish Mertz
  • Jennifer Moss
  • *Sheryl Pfluger
  • Linda Ross
  • Kam Stribling
  • Leana Talbott
  • Lesli Uherik
  • Will Welch
  • Mia West

San Angelo Executive Board

  • Dinah Cummings, Ph.D. Executive Board Chair
  • Jeremy Riney
  • Caroline Drain
  • Steve Ewing
  • Leslie Mayrand, Ph.D.
  • Sheryl Pfluger
  • Patty Gardner
  • Clifton T. Jones, Ph.D.
  • Ann West ex officio

San Angelo Medical Board

  • Dinah Cummings, Ph.D. Medical Advisory Board Chair
  • Michael Blanc, M.D.
  • Rosalinda Carrizales, D.O.
  • Penni Camber, M.D.
  • Duncan Fischer, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Deborah Hajovsky, M.D.
  • Charles Harzke, M.D.
  • Clyde Henke, M.D.
  • Sharon Kulig, Ph.D.
  • Bryan Mejia, M.D.
  • Genevieve Mejia, M.D.
  • Shelly Weise, Ed.D., PT

Permian Basin (Midland and Odessa), Texas

  • Elisa Brown-Pruett, MD Regional Director
  • Lisa Platner, Ph. D

*Serves as a National Advisory Board Member

Scientific Council 2021-2022

Marjorie Jenkins, MD

Marjorie Jenkins, MD

Marjorie Jenkins, MD, is the founder of the Laura Bush Institute and a member of the National Advisory Board. Dr. Jenkins is the Dean of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, and the Chief Academic Officer for Prisma Health Upstate. She is the co-author of Eat Like a Woman with Staness Jonekos.


Alyson McGregor, MD

Alyson McGregor, MD

Alyson McGregor, MD, is Professor and Director for the Division of Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. Dr. McGregor is the author of Sex and Gender in Acute Care Medicine and Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women’s Health and What We Can Do About It. She serves on the editorial board for the journal Gender and the Genome.


Dr. Sarah Wakefield

Elisa Brown-Pruett, MD

Elisa Brown-Pruett, MD, is an Associate Professor in the TTUHSC School of Medicine, department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Director of Reproductive Endocrinology, and Regional Director of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health in the Permian Basin. She supervises OB/GYN residents and oversees a federal grant aimed at lowering the teen pregnancy and maternal mortality rates in the Permian Basin where both are extremely high. Dr. Brown-Pruett also recently completed a master’s degree in public health.


Sharmila Dissanaike, MD

Sharmila Dissanaike, MD

Sharmila Dissanaike, MD, is a University Distinguished Professor and Surgical Chairman at TTUHSC in Lubbock. She is a clinically active trauma, burn and acute care surgeon who has won over 50 awards for clinical, academic, and research excellence during her career. Dr. Dissanaike is internationally known as an advocate for the advancement and equality of women in surgery and the sciences.