Health Promotion Sciences Department
Dr. Heidi Pottinger is originally from the U.S.- Mexico border town of Nogales, Arizona. Over her career, she has focused extensively on advocacy, education, nonprofit, research, and service efforts. She holds BS (Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and MA (Biomedical & Health Ethics) degrees, as well as MPH (Global Family & Child Health) and DrPH (Maternal & Child Health) degrees.
She has 20 years of experience in basic, translational, preclinical, clinical, and public health research. Most recently, from 2014 - 2021, Dr. Pottinger helped to lead a multi-site, NICHD-sponsored clinical trial with Dr. Duke Duncan to improve motor function in very young children with spastic cerebral palsy. The intervention was designed to improve motor function through harnessing participants' neuroplasticity during the early stages of development - through intensive, repetitive, active therapies. The results of this work are forthcoming. Her earlier efforts include time spent on preclinical vaccine development, to protect against select pandemic diseases and, later, on understanding and addressing vaccine hesitancy in high exemption regions of Arizona.
She is the Founder of the nonprofit Child Health & Resilience Mastery (CHARM). CHARM offers Southern Arizona educators and families strengths- and evidence-based approaches for strengthening resiliency in health-promoting ways. Programs include Camp Druzy for grieving families, workshops and community-based work to strengthen resiliency through the Choose Love Movement and other approaches, and more. In 2019, CHARM received the Spirit Organizational award from the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, & Families.
Past leadership roles include research, advocacy, and policy efforts as the national director of clinical research for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She also previously co-led and was an executive board member of LUCHA, a MEZCOPH-led organization providing service opportunities to cultivate awareness and advocacy for border health and human rights issues in the U.S.-Mexico border region. From 2014- 2019, she served as Chair of the Research & Evaluation Committee for Integrative Touch for Kids (ITK).
In 2017, Heidi was recognized as a "40 Under 40" by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as nationally by the American Public Health Association for her work. From 2018-2019 she was a Fellow of The OpEd Project. Since 2014, she has served as an executive member of the Arizona Sonora Border Projects for Inclusion (ARSOBO) board of directors.
Recent Courses Taught
FCM 492A - Disability Directed Research Experience
HPS 498H - Honors Thesis
HPS 405 - Biology in Public Health
HPS 532P - Planning of Public Health Programs