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Our Team.


Laura Smith Monti, Ph.D., is a  Research Associate at the University of Arizona College of Public Health and a Senior Fellow at Borderlands Restoration Network in community health and cultural ecology, working with  Indigenous communities on both sides of the border.


Her teaching and leadership in health and biocultural diversity has helped shape students, practitioners, researchers, initiatives, and organizations in the Southwest US and Northern Mexico for over twenty-five years. Her current practice as a nurse in community health includes the development of integrative healthcare with traditional healers and village health promoters and nurses, addressing Covid-19 recovery, diabetes management, food and water, and energy security. 


Her work in cultural ecology supports young indigenous leaders’ initiatives to restore and protect coastal ecosystems and species, including mangroves, seagrasses, sea turtles, and medicinal plants. With a fellowship awarded by the Firebird Foundation, Laura is facilitating youth and elders to preserve and revitalize their ancient songs and stories that are infused with wisdom to guide their future.


Dr. Monti’s holds academic degrees from the University of Arizona (Ph.D. Arid Lands Resources Sciences, Medical Anthropology; St. Louis University N.P. Pediatrics; M.S. Community Health Nursing; Maryville College (B.S.,R.N.) 

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Dr. Laura Monti RN, NP, MPH

Program Director

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Dr. Gary Nabhan, Biocultural Restoration Scientist

Program Advisor

Dr. Gary Nabhan is an agroecologist and biocultural restoration expert with 40 years of research, conservation and community development work in the Sonoran Desert and Sea of Cortes. He is a pioneer in community-based collaborative conservation and in reviving forgotten foods for local livelihoods. Nabhan retired from the University of ArizonA W.K. Kellogg Chair in February 2023 and is focused on garden design and creative natural history writing.  

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Dra. Carmen Gabriela Suárez Gracida

Program Associate

Gabriella graduated from the Center for Higher Studies of the State of Sonora (CESUES) with a degree of Engineer in Ecology. She has a Master's in Science Management, Use, and Preservation of Natural Resources. Her studies and professional work have been in the regions of the Baja California and Sonora Deserts and the Gulf of California in Northwestern México. Gabriela joined Salud Comcaac Program Team in 2021.

Community Health Team
Community Health Team
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Dr. Diego Franco

Medical Director Desemboque 

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Vilma Morales Astorga

Herbalist & Teacher

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Luisa Guadalupe Romero Morales


Nutrition Teacher

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Mariana Cristina Molina Martínez



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Belinda Flores Montano

Community Gardens &  Program Leader

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Dr. Omar Presiado

Medical Director

Punta Chueca

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Francely Isabel García Morales

Health Promoter

Women’s Health, Community Health Program Coordinator

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Betina Romero Morales


Nutrition Teacher

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Romelia Barnett Díaz 

Program Leader

Nutrition & Community Gardens Herbalist

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Omar Herrera Casanova

Health Promoter, Youth Health

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Gemma Odette Torres Monroy

Health Promoter,

 Community Health Advocate

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Filomena Barnett Burgos



Community Health & Diabetes Program Coordinator

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Ismael Blanco Montaño

Program Assistant

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Coastal Ecosystems Team
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Dra. Zulia Mayari Sánchez Mejia

Coastal Ecosystems Program Advisor, Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora-Obregón

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Christian Anibal Silva Ontiveros

Field Research Assistant, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR)

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Alberto Mellado Moreno

Community Relations & Program Leader

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Erika Barnett Díaz

Project Coordinator, 

Mangrove Nursery Manager

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Ivan Eliseo Barnett Romero

Coastal Ecosystems Program Assistant & Technician

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