The RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico is a physical, educational and cultural home for promising health policy scholars and researchers. The varied knowledge, background, and experience of its fellows enable the center to address the full spectrum of issues that affect health and health care in our communities.

Meet the Scholars

  • Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Eastern Washington

    Dr. Munchnik-Izon earned his PhD in economics from the University of New Mexico. He was a Doctoral Fellow with the RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM, and is currently an Associate Professor of Economics at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, WA. His specialty areas are environmental and health economics.


  • For the past 12 years, Dr. Saavedra’s academic training, behavioral research initiatives, and community-based experience have been focused on elucidating the significant impact that healthcare system and other social determinants of health have on the delivery of optimal care in breast cancer care among medically underserved and underinsured women in New Mexico. In 2003, Dr. Saavedra and local community breast cancer survivors co-created the Comadre a Comadre Program, a community-based peer patient navigation and support intervention to improve the breast cancer outcomes for Hispanic/Latina women and their loved ones. The Comadre a Comadre Program’s peer patient navigation component is a community-based adaptation of Dr. Harold Freeman’s nationally renowned Patient Navigation Model in cancer care. Dr. Saavedra is recognized both nationally and regionally for her expertise in breast cancer disparities and her research on the breast cancer experiences among Hispanic/Latina women in New Mexico. Dr. Saavedra has received numerous awards in acknowledgement of her numerous community engagement efforts and most especially for her work with the community of Hispanic/Latina breast cancer survivors and their loved ones. Dr. Saavedra’s research interests include patient centeredness in cancer care, patient navigation and healthcare systems change. Dr. Saavedra is a Research Faculty in the Health Education Program in the Department of Health, Exercise, Sports Science, at the College of Education where she teaches Healthcare System and Patient Advocacy in the Spring semesters. Dr. Saavedra has been a Senior Fellow at the RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM since 2010.