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Latinx Advisory Council

The Latinx Advisory Council has existed for over a year, and it partners and collaborates with University of Utah administration to advise the Vice President for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion in the recruitment and retention of Latinx students, faculty, administrators, and staff while supporting their continued growth and addressing the ongoing climate of the Latinx community at the University of Utah.


  • Actively support the VP of EDI to discuss and understand the climate of Latinx on campus
  • Serve as a resource in support of diversity initiatives for Latinx faculty, staff, students, and administrators at the University of Utah
  • Support fundraising to support Latinx faculty, staff, and students
  • Hold the annual Envisioning the Future of Latinx U conversation bi-annually
    • Fall
    • Spring


portrait of Ivette Lopez

Ivette Amelia López (Chair)

Professor of Public Health

Ivette Amelia López, PhD, MPH is a Professor of Public Health at University of Utah Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. She is also the PI/Director of the Utah Area Health Education Centers. Dr. López was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and came to the United States mainland to pursue an advanced education. She is, and has been for decades, a dedicated professional in pursuit of health equity for Latinos and other disadvantaged populations in the United States. From AIDS (the epidemic that drew her to public health) to diabetes, obesity causal explanations among minority women, to community health worker involvement in health career student education, her research and service are dedicated to engaging minority communities in finding solutions to their health burdens. She has focused on social disparities, which have resulted in adverse health outcomes disproportionally affecting Latino and other minority or disadvantaged populations: Type 2 diabetes, weight issues, heart disease, hypertension, sexually transmitted infections, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and environmental contexts of health. Her research interests also include mitigating factors that align with those health disparities: physical activity, food security, neighborhood, reproductive health, community-based mixed research and pedagogy, cultural humility, health literacy, and racial and ethnic disparities in higher education and health academic faculty/administration.

Further, Dr. Lopez advised and directed the masters and doctoral thesis preparation of over 70 students; chaired and labored with committees resulting in 30 doctoral degrees in 15 years. She Co-chairs the Community Engagement Committee in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and works on the inclusion of Community Health Workers as a vital component of the health workforce. She is also the Chair of the Latino Faculty and Staff Advisory Board, at the University of Utah Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Representation. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and daughter.

Gabriela Garcia

Gabriela Garcia (Secretary)

LIFT Simulation Design Lab Manager

Gabriela (Gaby) García (she/her/ella) is a first-generation Mexican-American and is the LIFT Simulation Design Lab manager. She earned her bachelor’s in healthcare administration with minors in Spanish and French from Weber State University and master’s in healthcare administration from the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business. She holds a project management fundamentals certificate from the University of Utah. As manager of the LIFT Simulation Design Lab, she wholeheartedly agrees with the core belief that an experience is worth a thousand lectures.

She is responsible for planning and executing the Lab’s mission of elevating conversations and bringing systems change, and maintaining the stories of the historically unheard in the core of the projects and grants she serves. She strives to improve access to Latinx and historically underrepresented communities, with an interest in maternal health and family planning. She has participated in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Outreach committees and was on the hiring committee for the first Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Utah College of Nursing. She is currently serving as secretary on the Latinx Advisory Council for the University of Utah.

In her free time, she enjoys watching British television, reading books, and being with her familia.

the University of Utah's Block U installation on campus

Leticia Alvarez

Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor of Education, Culture & Society

portrait of Daniel K. Cairo

Daniel K. Cairo

Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

Dr. Daniel K. Cairo (he/him/él) brings over 10 years of experience in leading programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an educator and organizational leader, he has developed successful equity and inclusion programs at multiple institutions.

the University of Utah's Block U installation on campus

Jason Castillo

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor, College of Social Work

Jose Crespo

Jose Crespo

Associate Instructor, Honors College

Jose Crespo joins the Honors College while on staff leave from Salt Lake Community College; where he served as the Director of STEM Learning until July of 2023. He grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and came to the University of Utah to complete his Ph.D. After finishing his biology degree, Jose worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Utah, and completed his MBA at Westminster University. He also holds computer science and biomedical informatics degrees; and is currently working on his Community College Leadership Certificate at the University of Utah. Jose also likes to volunteer at different non-profit organizations. He was a member of the Board of Directors for Utah Global Diplomacy, and is currently working at Utah PTA. He loves spending time with his wife and two children. With his family, Jose enjoys playing board games, watching movies, and traveling.

Annie Isabel Fukushima

Annie Isabel Fukushima

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies

Dr. Annie Isabel Fukushima (she/her/ella) is a KoreXicana scholar activist. At the University of Utah, she serves as the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, and is an Associate Professor in the Division of Ethnic Studies with the School for Cultural & Social Transformation. In 2023, she was appointed as the Interim Associate Dean of Research and Academic Affairs for the School for Cultural & Social Transformation. In 2020 – 2021, she was a University of Utah Presidential Leadership fellow. Prior to joining the faculty of University of Utah, Dr. Fukushima was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University (2013 – 2015) with the Institute for Research on Women and the Department of Women and Gender Studies. She received her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in Ethnic Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. She is the co-lead for the Institute of Impossible Subjects project, “Migratory Times” and the Project Lead & Co-Principal Investigator for the Gender-Based Violence Consortium. In 2019, she published her award-winning book Migrant Crossings: Witnessing Human Trafficking in the US with Stanford University Press. Her book on Decolonial Feminism co-authored with K. Melchor Quick Hall is forthcoming with University of Illinois Press. Committed to praxis, the practice of theory, she is the author of multiple community based studies and scholarly articles that focus on racialized and gender-based violence, human trafficking, labor, and migration.

Jessica Hurtado

Jessica M. Hurtado

Director of Admissions, Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine

Jessica M. Hurtado (she/her/ella) is the inaugural Director of Admissions at the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah and a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Leadership Program at Colorado State University. Her lived experiences drive her scholarly research interests that center the professional development of admissions officers to create equitable career pathways for themselves and to support the social mobility opportunities to transform medical education outcomes for the students they serve. Jessica recently led her team to receive the 2022 Leadership in Inclusive Excellence Award in the category of Equity Transformation. As a higher education advocate, she has ten+ years of strategic enrollment management experience at two Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the southwest, the University of New Mexico and New Mexico Highlands University, respectively. She earned a BA and an MPA from the University of New Mexico, where she led mission-critical admissions efforts at the UNM School of Medicine Combined BA/MD Degree Program. She received additional training in higher education leadership through the Management Development Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the New Leadership Academy at the University of Utah. Jessica has recently co-authored an article entitled A Möbius Model of Racialized Organizations: Durability of Racial Inequalities in Admissions in the Journal of Higher Education along with a co-authored book chapter published by the Harvard Education Press entitled Rethinking College Admissions Research-Based Practice and Policy, edited by OiYan A. Poon and Michael N. Bastedo. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her partner Tranquilino “Kino” Hurtado and their three dogs Dozer, Diesel, and Bentley. Kino is also a higher education practitioner and scholar at Salt Lake Community College where he serves as the Inaugural Director of Hispanic Initiatives and leads the emerging Hispanic Serving Institution initiatives.

the University of Utah's Block U installation on campus

Osvaldo Miranda

Latinx Student Union

Pedro Romero-Zambrana

Pedro Romero-Zambrana

Director for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Price College of Engineering

Dr. Pedro Romero-Zambrana (He, Him El) is the inaugural Director for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Price College of Engineering at the University of Utah. As director, Dr. Romero, co-chairs the College Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee and coordinates initiatives across eight different departments. Under his direction, the College obtained Bronze Level Status from the American Society of Engineering Education Diversity Recognition Program in 2023. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where he currently serves as the Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies and works in advancing the curriculum to include issues related to sustainability, equity, and inclusion. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Penn State University and has authored multiple journal papers with over 1400 citations. He enjoys the outdoors and bikes to work every day.

Sylvia Torti

Sylvia Torti

Professor, Honors College
Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Sylvia Torti is an ecologist and writer. Her PhD in Biology (1998) from the University of Utah focused on the unique and little understood phenomenon of tropical monodominance in Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa.

In addition to ecology, Dr. Torti is a creative writer. Her first novel, The Scorpion’s Tail (Curbstone Press) was published in 2005 and won the Miguel Mármol Award for best debut fiction by an American Latino/a. Her second novel, CAGES, won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature (Schaffner Press, 2017). Her short stories and essays have been published in a numerous magazines and edited volumes.

From 2012-2023 she served as dean of the Honors College at the U. Previously she directed the U’s Bonderman Field Station near Moab. Previously, she was President and Vice-President of Writers at Work and the conservation biologist for Red Butte Garden.

She is a native English speaker and fluent in Spanish and Danish.

the University of Utah's Block U installation on campus

Lucas Zagal

Undergraduate Student, University of Utah