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BCOM Names New Department Chair and Associate Dean

The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine has appointed Miriam Donohue, Ph.D., as the new chair of the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, and Nancy Minugh-Purvis, Ph.D., as the associate dean of graduate education.

Dr. Donohue is a native of Las Cruces where she studied animal science at New Mexico State University. She did her post-graduate work at SUNY Upstate Medical University, earning her doctorate in anatomy and cell biology. She completed a one-year post-doctoral fellowship in neurosurgery and then taught gross anatomy and neuroanatomy at SUNY Upstate Medical University for two and a half years. She conducted thesis research on intraoperative neuromonitoring, a field in which she is published and has presented on across the country. She returned to Las Cruces to join the BCOM faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy.

As the new chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Dr. Donohue says she hopes to, “continue the exemplary job that was initiated here by Dr. Minugh-Purvis and further establish our anatomy and cell biology program into a cornerstone of our curriculum, supporting and integrating with our other academic and clinical departments as well as leading the charge on innovative anatomic imaging and didactic delivery for the purpose of producing students and future doctors who will improve the health and wellness of this incredible region.”

Dr. Minugh-Purvis earned her BA in anthropology and Latin American studies from the University of New Mexico and her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the Medical College of Pennsylvania, now Drexel University College of Medicine, as an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy in 1991. She also served as director of gross anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and director of advanced gross anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, now the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

She is the recipient of awards for her teaching in medical gross anatomy at both Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania and she has 31 years of clinical experience in patient care as growth specialist for the cleft palate and craniofacial teams at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Minugh-Purvis has developed and instructed courses in medical Spanish and emphasizes the importance of human diversity and cultural competence in all aspects of medical education. While at Drexel, she administered the largest post-baccalaureate/medical preparatory program in the nation.

As the new associate dean of graduate education, Dr. Minugh-Purvis’ priority is to grow BCOM’s medical preparatory and allied health programs in support of the college’s mission to improve the health of our region. An integral part of this endeavor will be launching outreach programs designed to assist increased numbers of students from the Southwestern United States to successfully enter career paths in the health professions.

“I hope that by establishing collaborations with colleges and universities around the state, and on both sides of the border, BCOM will be instrumental in creating mutually enriching, culturally sensitive programs of study to meet the unique healthcare needs of many New Mexican communities,” she said.

Currently, Dr. Minugh-Purvis is working on a BCOM initiative aimed at enabling underrepresented and economically disadvantaged college students access to affordable health professional preparatory academic materials, a challenge BCOM plans to undertake through online distance learning.