Biography

Dr. McGaha has had the pleasure of serving the people of East Texas in the field of public health for over 30 years. Holding a specialty in preventive medicine and equipped by a Master of Public Health, his vocational mission is to help improve health outcomes in East Texas and to reduce health disparities in the area. For over 19 years he served as the Regional Medical Director for Public Health Regions 4 and 5 (North) of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in Tyler. The department interfaced closely with nine local health departments/districts and served as the primary public health entity for the remaining 26 counties. Additionally, from 2012 to 2013, he served as Acting Assistant Commissioner for DSHS.

In April of 2015, he joined the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler team in the Northeast Texas Center for Rural Community Health as Deputy Director, later to be named Director. The “Center” was the focal point for 21 Medicaid Transformation Waiver projects with a goal to transform service delivery practices to improve quality, health status, patient experience, coordination and cost effectiveness. In 2016, he was named the inaugural Chair of the Department of Community Health for the School of Community and Rural Health where he directs classroom instruction related to social determinants of health and community engagement. Furthermore, the department oversees several grant-funded projects related to cancer screening, tobacco cessation, and maternal/child health. The department continues to collaborate with communities to further develop initiatives aimed at improving the health status of East Texans, including efforts to curb tobacco use, projects to improve dietary habits, and activities to increase physical exercise and manage obesity.

Most importantly, he has been married to his wonderful wife Zelia for 38 years and they are proud parents of six children.

Education and Training

University of Texas Health Science Center- Houston
School of Public Health
Master of Public Health (MPH), 1992

Oklahoma State University
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), 1983

Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy, 1980

Research Interests

Social Determinants of Health
Health Disparities
Rural Health Inequities
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Adoption of Healthy Lifestyles

Courses Taught

COMH 6320 – Health Promotion Theory and Methods
PBHL 6350- Capstone Project I
PBHL 6360- Capstone Project II