Denise  Herrera's profile photo

Denise Herrera

Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center

Denise  Herrera's profile photo
Location: Santa Fe, NM
TRHT Pillar: Racial Healing and Relationship Building


Denise Herrera, PhD, is a nationally recognized social change agent with expertise in health policy, culturally responsive program evaluation, and human development across the lifespan. Denise is a community capacity builder with much success in leading change management and transforming large organizations, while infusing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) into all practices and policies. Denise has devoted much of her academic and philanthropic career to leveling the playing field for underserved communities to receive quality health services and education.

Her proudest accomplishment was establishing the “Herrera Internship Endowment” in 2016, which provides internship and scholarship opportunities for Hispanic students throughout New Mexico. Denise has managed broad portfolios of federally funded studies, statewide quality improvement efforts, and initiatives focused on improving health and education outcomes. She has provided programmatic and evaluation expertise on issues related to leadership development, community health, and civic engagement in the U.S. and abroad. Denise has held various leadership positions at three of the largest health foundations in the U.S., currently holds a faculty appointment with UTHealth, and serves on various nonprofit boards. Denise completed her BS in Health Education from the University of New Mexico, MS in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona, and PhD in Health Education from the University of Texas at Austin.

Future Focus

With an authentic approach to leadership and a strong passion for advancing health equity, Denise works with philanthropy and nonprofit organizations to catalyze positive change in communities. She has committed her life’s work to improving health outcomes and quality of life for all people, especially those in rural and underserved areas. She is passionate about creating leadership and career opportunities to diversify the philanthropic sector to more closely resemble communities served.

She is inspired by the meaningful social change happening in the U.S.-Mexico borderland region through her board membership with the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership (BPP), a binational membership organization. Through leadership, collaboration, and philanthropy, Denise is optimistic about thriving, vibrant, and healthy communities on both sides of the border.

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Culture of Health Leaders Institute for Racial Healing

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program