Originally, we began as The El Paso Institute for Medical Research and Development in 1985. Western Sky Medical Research has performed over 354 clinical research investigations, involving pharmacologic, biologic treatments, and studies of devices or tests.
In the past years, thanks to a dedicated professional staff, Western Sky has developed a reputation for excellent ethical clinical research.
Western Sky focuses on clinical trials in the areas of Asthma, COPD, Urticaria, Food Allergy and Eczema. They have also conducted studies on Type II Diabetes, Allergic Rhinitis, Pneumonia, Acute Sinusitis, Acute Bronchitis and Hypertension.
Dr. Todd Funkhouser was a Sub-Investigator with Western Sky from 2006-2010 and took over as the Principal Investigator in July of 2021.
Along with all the clinical trials listed above, Dr. Funkhouser also has experience in Pulmonary Hypertension.
We are most proud of our clinical research volunteers. The vast majority have found clinical research experience to be rewarding for many reasons. Most would and do volunteer again.
Our site is very proud to have a Certified Principal Investigator on its staff. Laura P. Herrera, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, CPI has been a Sub-Investigator at Western Sky Medical Research since 2010 and is the only CPI in the entire region.
Western Sky is proud to have 3 of our Research Coordinators that are Certified through ACRP (Association of Clinical Research Professionals).
Laura Herrera graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1997. Her experience as a Registered Nurse was in the Cardiovascular and Psychiatric Mental Health areas. She pursued higher education and obtained her Masters of Science in Nursing at the University of Texas at El Paso with a concentration in Adult Psychiatric Mental Health.
Laura also has a Post Graduate Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. As an Advanced Practice Nurse, she has worked in the areas of Internal and Family Medicine, Women's' Health, Hospice, Nephrology, Asthma, Allergy, Immunology, and Clinical Research.
On May 13, 2017, Laura received her Doctor of Nursing Practice from The University of Texas at El Paso. She became a Certified Principal Investigator in 2021 through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. She has been a sub-investigator for Western Sky Medical Research since 2010. She feels very passionate about the uniqueness and challenges of treating patients with Allergic Diseases.
Ruby Velasquez was born and raised in El Paso, TX. She became a Certified Medical Assistant in 2008 when she graduated from Western Technical College. She also received her certification as a Clinical Research Coordinator in March 2012, through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). Ruby is experienced in working with various Asthma, Allergy, Urticaria, and COPD clinical research trials for over 14 years.
Elisa Hernandez was raised in Fabens, TX and graduated from Fabens High School in 2004. She then became a Certified Medical Assistant after graduating from Western Technical College in 2011. She joined Western Sky Medical Research as a study coordinator in February 2013. She received her certification as a Clinical Research Coordinator from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) in 2016. Her primary experience has been in Asthma, Allergy, Urticaria, and COPD clinical trials. She also has experience as an Unblinded Pharmacist in Peanut Allergy trials, requiring food challenges.
Sylvia has been our research recruiter since 2018. Prior to that, she was one of our fabulous research volunteers for many years. She is a lifetime El Pasoan and graduated from Ysleta High School. Sylvia has a great personality and rapport with all our research subjects and is one of our friendly front desk staff members.
Brenda Lara graduated in May 2020 from Rochester Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in Biotechnology and Molecular Biosciences. In early 2021, she completed the Clinical Research Coordinator Foundations Course at the Clinical Trial Academy in El Paso. She joined Western Sky as a Clinical Research Coordinator in May 2022 and has experience in Asthma and Food Allergy clinical trials. She likes to read thriller and horror books in her spare time.
Ms. Glenda Cardona is the Director of Clinical Operation at Access Allergy and a Certified Physician Assistant, licensed by the New Mexico and Texas Medical Board of Medicine who has practiced in the allergy field since 2010. She has worked in clinical research as a CRC and Sub-investigator since 2013. Her areas of expertise include management of food allergies and sensitivities, chronic urticaria, asthma, nasal allergies, sinusitis and immunodeficiency. Ms. Cardona graduated top of her class and received her degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Miami Dade College and her Master's in Advanced Physician Assistant Studies from A.T. Still University. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the American Academy of Physician Assistants in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAPA-AAI), the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology (AAAAI), the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI) and the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). Ms. Cardona has been a guest speaker at multiple health fairs and community events and has lectured on Food Allergies at the University of Texas. She believes that exercise and diet are a key component to the function of every part of our body and she encourages her patients to eat unprocessed, organic, whole foods to achieve greater health and vitality.
Ms. Cardona is fluent in English and Spanish.
Laura Herrera graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1997. Her experience as a Registered Nurse spanned Cardiovascular and Psychiatric Mental Health. She later earned a Master's in Nursing with a concentration in Adult Psychiatric Mental Health and holds a Post Graduate Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. As an Advanced Practice Nurse, she has worked in Internal and Family Medicine, Women's Health, Hospice, Nephrology, Asthma, Allergy, Immunology, and Clinical Research.
In 2017, Laura earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice from The University of Texas at El Paso. Serving as a Certified Principal Investigator since 2021, she's been involved in about 60 trials in nephrology, asthma, allergy, and immunology since 2010. Currently working full-time at Western Sky Medical Research and as a clinician at Access Allergy & Immunology, Laura also holds academic positions at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center & The University of Texas at El Paso Schools of Nursing. She's a faculty and consultant for the Clinical Trial Academy in El Paso, Texas, driven by a passion for addressing the unique challenges in treating patients with Allergic Diseases.