Analyze | Improve | Empower

July 20, 2023  |  8:30 AM to 4:30 PM  |  HSC MET 

This conference will intersect health literacy, patient safety, and health & well-being by analyzing the root causes and outcomes of health literacy barriers. These barriers, or social determinants of health, will be examined in the Healthy People 2030 objectives and Whole Health principles framework.

The goal of the conference is to empower attendees to transform advice into actions for themselves, their families, and their communities. This will, in turn, improve healthcare and information access, understanding, and use to bring solutions to current and future public health and patient safety issues.

Professional development opportunity. Click the button below to learn more!

Meet our Speakers

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Eric Griggs (Doc Griggs)

"Doc Griggs” is the health and wellness awareness persona of Eric D. Griggs, M.D., a New Orleans-based Community Medicine Doctor and Health Educator who has dedicated his professional life to raising health and wellness awareness in communities, nationally and internationally.  In addition to being recently appointed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, he also serves in the same capacity at the LSU School of Medicine and the Xavier University College of Pharmacy and maintains a continued role as Director of Community Medicine at Access Health Louisiana, a Federally-Qualified Health Center. Dr. Griggs proudly serves as the founder and Executive Director of the Doc Griggs Foundation, a community-driven, student-activated, and professionally-mentored organization that promotes community health by empowering the community to ‘Get Checked. Get Fit Get Moving!®
In 2020, the world was affected by the global pandemic of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since then, Doc Griggs has become a local, state, national and international figure in explaining the risks, exposure, care, prevention, and treatment against COVID-19. He has been adamant and intentional in providing ever-evolving information and opportunities for testing and vaccinations through community town hall meetings, news media outlets, animations, policy support, in-person events, community health clinics, and more. In an ever-changing world of uncertainty, Dr. Griggs has proven a trusted voice of calm and reliable, evidence-based information for the community as the world continues to strive for a new sense of 'healthy normal.'

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Scott Walters, PhD

Dr. Walters’ research focuses on developing better ways of helping people change. This has included developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions for drug and alcohol abuse, mental health, interpersonal violence, cancer risk, and other health outcomes. A consistent focus of his work has been on advancing health equity and improving outcomes for underserved populations. His recent projects include: 1) developing and evaluating a “just-in-time” adaptive smartphone intervention to reduce drinking among adults experiencing homelessness; 2) developing and evaluating a communication skills training for US Army operational units; 3) evaluating an online vocational training program for veterans with justice involvement; 4) disseminating and implementing strategies to address pain, opioid use, and overdose deaths; and 5) developing, disseminating and implementing substance use interventions for adolescents, young adults, and people with developmental disabilities. He is also the Steering Committee Chair for the HEALing Communities Study, a large implementation science research study that is testing the impact of evidence-based practices across health care, behavioral health, justice, and other community-based settings on reducing opioid-related deaths in 67 highly-impacted communities.

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Jacque Yates, MPH

Jacque's passion for public health was ignited during her time in public service, leading her to pursue a master's degree in public health from Purdue University Global in 2021. After graduation, Jacque and her husband relocated to Texas, where she joined the CDC Foundation as a Program Analyst Lead. She currently works to serve the residents of Texas, ensuring that they have access to the resources and support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. In addition to her work at the CDC Foundation, Jacque is also the founder of The Maternal Mission, a maternal wellness company that provides education and support to birthing persons and healthcare professionals on birth equity. She has also obtained certifications as a life coach and postpartum doula, using her knowledge and skills to mentor and inspire others. Jacque's commitment to excellence is evident in her pursuit of a Doctorate of Education in public health policy from Nebraska Methodist College. She plans to use her academic training and natural talent for making meaningful connections to advocate for health equity through policy and legislation tailored for maternal wellness.

Toby Savitz

Toby is the Director of Programs at Pathfinders, a nonprofit with the mission to eliminate poverty from our community by empowering individuals and families to find their path to social and financial well-being.  She provides oversight for the Mentoring and Financial Capability programs, helping individuals gain the skills and tools they need to become economically stable. Toby has over a decade of experience working with individuals seeking to successfully reenter the community after incarceration. Her passion for reentry work has a focus on men and women in jail-based substance use treatment and justice involved veterans. Toby is member of the Tarrant County Reentry Coalition, the Youth Offender Reentry Project (YORP) Steering Committee, the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and serves on the Raise Texas Narrative Change Coalition.


Kara Hanaoka, MA

Kara Prior Hanaoka is the Vice President of Impact for It’s Time Texas – the nonprofit creating a healthier Texas through a focus on health prevention. Kara is a purpose-driven leader, connector, project manager, and strategist with over a decade of experience in leading organizations to achieve measurable results. She has a proven track record for the design and funding of innovative and award-winning programs that have impacted more than a million Texans. Kara got her start volunteering for food pantries which led to her becoming an advocate for equitable food access and policy change. Kara serves in leadership roles on several statewide and regional health coalitions including Live Smart Texas, Partnership for Healthy Texas, Michael Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living Advisory Committee, and Unidos Contra La Diabetes.


Andrea Rosario, MPH CHES

Andrea Rosario is the Senior Director of Health and Civic Education for It’s Time Texas, the nonprofit creating a healthier Texas through a focus on health prevention. With more than 12 years of experience in public health, her work spans health curricula creation, program management and advocacy through community outreach. At It’s Time Texas, Andrea oversees the development of community-informed and evidence-based health and civic education programs, ensuring they impact Texans’ health in meaningful ways. Additionally, she oversees the execution of a major partnership with SNAP-Ed to make healthy choices the easiest choices for Texans. A social and reproductive justice advocate, Andrea serves on the boards of Health Literacy Texas and Healing Hands Community Doula Project.

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Jesse Sifuentez

Jesse Sifuentez brings over 20 years of experience working in and around the Texas Legislature and state agencies. Currently, he works for Baylor Scott and White Health as the Director of Health Plan Advocacy where he leads the health plan’s Congressional and State Legislative advocacy efforts. He is also a board member for Health Literacy Texas. Prior to joining Baylor Scott and White Health he worked in Texas state government for the Speaker of the House, Texas Department of Insurance, and the House Committee on Insurance. His policy responsibilities focus on commercial health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and other payor and provider relationships. He received his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law with a concentration in health law, his Master of Arts from Newcastle University, and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Gabriela Gallegos, JD MPP

Gabriela Gallegos is an Associate Professor at the El Paso campus of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health Houston) School of Public Health in the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health as well as a member of the Center for Community Health Impact. Her work centers on policy analysis, advocacy, and interventions related to food access and physical activity. She is an attorney and social entrepreneur who owns an organization dedicated to increasing physical activity in communities of color through goal setting and peer support. She teaches courses in leadership, management, and policy advocacy. Gabriela earned her Bachelor of Arts at Cornell University. At the University of California – Berkeley, she earned a Master’s in Public Policy and a law degree.

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Teresa Wagner, DrPH, MS, CPH, RD/ LD, CPPS, CHWI, DipACLM, CHWC

Dr. Wagner is a registered and licensed dietitian with a doctorate in public health. She’s certified in Public Health, Patient Safety, Lifestyle Medicine, Health Coaching and is a certified Community Health Worker Instructor. She’s an assistant professor in the Department of Personalized Health & Well-Being, School of Health Professions and the Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems, School of Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Wagner has delivered multiple programs, speaking engagements and trainings on health literacy issues. Additionally, she established both a multi-stakeholder health literacy collaborative with the DFW Hospital Council Foundation and Health Literacy Texas, a statewide nonprofit. Dr. Wagner’s research focuses on alleviating health disparities in underserved communities through health literacy to improve population health. As a result of her work, she has received both the 2018 Texas Health Literacy Hero Award as well as the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award from Texas Christian University. In 2022, she was one of 25 National Institute of Health researchers selected to study the use of artificial intelligence to abate health disparities and in 2023, she received the UNTHSC School of Health Professions Faculty Achievement Award.


Melanie Stone, DrPH, MPH, MEd

Melanie Stone directs the Community Service Learning (CSL) program through the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. This innovative program promotes student and faculty engagement with community organizations in conducting service projects which benefit medically underserved populations in Texas. She is an adjunct faculty at The University of Texas School of Public Health, San Antonio regional campus and she is currently a Co-Investigator on a multi-year US Department of Health and Human Services grant “Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to COVID-19.” She is actively involved in the community, serving as Co-President of Health Literacy Texas and on the governing council of the Texas Public Health Association. She is an alumnus of Leadership San Antonio and Leadership Texas.

Conference Agenda

8:30 a.m. On-site Check-in/ Meet and GreetN/AMET 125 South Room
9:00 a.m.Welcome
Dr. Teresa Wagner, Interim Director for SaferCare Texas, Co-President and Founder of Health Literacy TexasMET 125 South Room
9:10 a.m.Keynote
Dr. Eric “Doc” Griggs
Community Health Director, Access Health Louisiana
MET 125 South Room
10:10 a.m.Reducing Opioid Overdose and Related Harm: Evidence-Based Approaches
Scott Walters, PhD
Regents Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems, UNT Health Science Center
MET 125 South Room
11:10 a.m. – 12:10 PMFrom Awareness to Action: The Vital Role of Health Literacy in Achieving Maternal Health EqualityJacque Yates, MPH
Program Analyst Lead for the CDC Foundation
Institutional Research Analyst for Nebraska Methodist College
MET 125 South Room
12:20 – 1:20 PMLunch & Financial LiteracyToby Savitz
Director of Programs, Pathfinders
MET 125 South Room
1:30 – 2:30 PMIt’s Time Texas – Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change
PSEs of Healthy Living
– Andrea Rosario, MPH CHES, It’s Time Texas
Sr. Director, Health & Civic Education
– Kara Hanaoka, Vice President of Impact
MET 109-111
2:30 – 4:00 PMHealth Literacy Advocacy Workshop-Jesse Sifuentez, Director for Health Plan Advocacy at Baylor Scott & White Advocacy Director, Health Literacy Texas

-Dr. Gabriella Gallegos
Professor at UT Health Houston School of Public Health, El Paso Regional Campus, Advocacy Workshop Developer for Healthcare Professionals
MET 109-111
4:00 – 4:30 PMClosing RemarksDr. Melanie Stone, Co-President of Health Literacy Texas, Assistant Director of Community Service Learning at UT Health San AntonioMET 109-111

Download Our Conference Booklet

Want to learn more about parking, the nearest hotels, our conference exhibitors, and social media hashtags? 

Download our Conference Booklet below! 

Conference Location

Our Partners

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Accreditation Statements

In support of improving patient care, The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

American Osteopathic Association

The University of North Texas Health Science Center is accredited by the American Osteopathic Association to award continuing medical education to physicians.

National Board of Public Health Examiners

The University of North Texas Health Science Center is accredited by the National Board of Public Health Examiners’ Certified Public Health recertification program.

Designation Statements


The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth designates this program for a maximum of  6.5 hours of AOA Category 2A CME credits and will report CME and specialty credits commensurate with the extent of the physician’s participation in the activity. 

The University of North Texas Health Science Center designates this activity for a maximum of 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


This activity provides up to 6.5 contact hours.

Certified Public Health Professionals

This activity provides 6.5 CEU credit.

Social Workers

This activity is approved for a maximum of 6.5 Clock Hours for Social Workers.

This activity has been reviewed and approved for a total of 6.0 Entry-Level CECH and 6.0 Advanced-Level CECH.

Certificate of Attendance

The University of North Texas Health Science Center certifies this activity for 6.5 hours of participation.