Hundreds who create healthier communities will receive diplomas

May 12, 2015

Irene Reyes (far right) with Alley’s House clients.

Irene Reyes, MPH, is better equipped than ever to create healthier communities. She’s among more than 600 UNT Health Science Center students set to receive their diplomas May 16.

In her new job as a health coach for formerly homeless people, Reyes will put to work the skills she gained in the UNTHSC School of Public Health.

As she did while earning her master’s degree in behavioral and community health, she continues to assist  Alley’s House. The Dallas organization helps teen mothers work toward academic success, personal growth and financial independence.

The UNT Health Science Center’s 2015 Commencement begins at 9 a.m. May 16 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. During the ceremonies, eight graduates will be commissioned as members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

In her new job, Reyes uses motivational interviewing to help residents in supportive housing improve their health habits. Her work is part of, a research study of better ways to provide health care.

She started doing this during her MPH coursework, in a pilot study with Professor Scott Walters, PhD. “I’m thrilled that I’ll now be doing this full-time for the Health Science Center,” Reyes said.

UNTHSC 2015 graduates by the numbers:

Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine: 222

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences: 216

School of Public Health:127

Physician Assistant Studies: 71

Physical Therapy Studies: 40

While earning her MPH degree, she served first as an outcomes measurement intern and then joined Alley’s House staff as program supervisor. The organization offers GED tutoring, life-skills courses, mental health services, job training and case management to help teen mothers find additional support services such as housing and Medicaid.

“I believe in Alley’s House and its mission, and I plan to continue as a volunteer,” says Reyes.

She lives the UNTHSC core values, notably respect, in her work that affirms the dignity of every person; and serving others first.

She’s the 2015 recipient of the School of Public Health Bob Crowe Award recognizing an outstanding MPH or MHA student with exemplary leadership and service to the school and community.

UNTHSC’s 2015 Commencement will be live streamed.

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