Dr. E. Angeles Martínez Mier has been associated with the Indiana University School of Dentistry for two decades, as both a student and a faculty member. Dr. Martínez Mier is currently associate professor of Preventative Dentistry and director of the Binational/Cross-Cultural Health Enhancement Center and the Division of Community Dentistry. After receiving her dental degree from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, in Mexico City, Mexico, in 1989, Dr. Martínez Mier completed a Masters of Science in Dentistry, majoring in Preventive Dentistry at Indiana University School of Dentistry, in 1994; and a three-year clinical fellowship in Periodontics, also at the Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1995. She then obtained a PhD in Dental Sciences in 2000 from Indiana University.
Her focus on service to underserved populations and collaboration with academic and health care institutions in her native Mexico resulted in the establishment of an institution at IUPUI that defines international collaboration. It began with a service learning partnership with Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalgo in Mexico in 2000. That developed into a multidisciplinary program in 2004, primarily under her leadership. Dr. Martínez Mier then helped forge this into an IUPUI Signature Center that was recognized by the university as an innovative driver of international education and health care in the wider context of social and community health and growth. This partnership metamorphosed into the Binational/Cross Cultural Health Enhancement Center (BiCCHEC). Dynamic binational academic partnerships like the BiCCHEC are a cornerstone to implementing IUPUI’s Strategic Plan for Internationalization and allow partner universities to achieve more than they could ever accomplish on their own.
An overall goal of the BiCCHEC is to develop research on binational health issues of recent immigrants to Indiana and of the rural communities in Mexico from where those immigrants come. This research leads to understanding the web of interactions across biological, cultural, behavioral, and demographic domains and to advance knowledge in these areas with real-life, practical applications to the future of Indiana. Under the leadership of Dr. Martínez Mier, BiCCHEC members have received $2.7 million in grants, published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles or book chapters, and presented their research at more than 80 symposiums, showcases, workshops, or conferences.
The impact of her international work in BiCCHEC goes well beyond the Mexican border, and it has a direct effect on what she does in Indiana. Because of the importance of communication and language, Dr. Martínez Mier established a new course in basic Spanish for dental and health care personnel at the dental school, and a class in cultural sensitivity. Both classes have proven to be important for a city such as Indianapolis, which has a growing Hispanic population. Dr. Martínez Mier also began working directly with the Hispanic community in Indiana, realizing that migrant and binational health were natural extensions of the work she and her colleagues conducted in Mexico. Aspects of cultural sensitivity that impact health care immediately became salient issues, as they are some of the many factors modulating health behaviors.
Dr. Martínez Mier previously held the positions of Preventive Dentistry Department Chair and Coordinator of undergraduate periodontics at the Universidad Intercontinental in Mexico City, Mexico. Dr. Martínez is the past president of the Indiana Chapter of the Hispanic Dental Association and is a member of the International Association of Dental Research, the American Dental Education Association, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry and the European Organization for Caries Research.