Accelerating Innovation Improving Health Building Prosperity Annual Report 2023


In 2023, we continued to build on MCA’s record of success by evaluating our future challenges and executing on a strategic response to those challenges to maintain momentum and advance our record of accomplishments while ensuring MCA’s sustainability into the future. MCA’s success would not be possible without the talents, commitment and focus of its staff. This was particularly noteworthy in 2023 as senior staff members, Nancy Lowery, Xavier Cardenas, Michaele Linden-Johnson and Monica Peña, integrated new staff and supported new leadership to achieve our 2023 accomplishments reported herein.

As you read through the pages in our annual report, you will note that the Cardwell Collaborative substantially reached full occupancy. Signature tenants include Texas Tech Health Sciences Center El Paso, UT Houston School of Public Health, Melinda and Meyer Marcus Foundation Innovation Center as well as local startup companies that have investor funding and are now renting lab and office space.

Additional land for future development increased while demolition and environmental remediation of existing land continued with funding provided by an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant and support from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Gateway Blvd. property development is being optimized with stormwater engineering improvements in process, made possible in cooperation with El Paso Water. Exploration and feasibility of future developments are in process and expected to culminate with project selection in 2024.

The VA Wellness Center continues to provide a critical resource to the community. In 2023, to better serve its patient population, the VA Wellness Center completed improvements to the facility.

During 2023, MCA’s Innovation Center was dedicated to the Melinda and Meyer Marcus Family Foundation for their generous contributions and long-term support.

The Innovation Center continued its work to build a healthy startup culture and a vibrant innovation ecosystem by its support of innovators/entrepreneurs and through networking events and pitch competitions. We operate as both a cohort accelerator as well as a provider of one-on-one support tailored to specific startup needs.

In 2023, we closed out certain US Department of Commerce EDA grants that helped MCA establish a product development and supplier lab and provide an extensive portfolio of trainings and workshops to support Medtech startups with device design, prototyping, development and regulatory pathway support.

MCA STEM Camps continue to connect students with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in creative ways that are fun, engaging and informative. Hands-on science-based experiments excite camp participants about STEM careers.

MCA’s Clinical Trials initiatives continue to make significant progress in expanding its site network, trial activity, training of clinical trial professionals and improving patient access to clinical trials. Our partnership with the Association of Clinical Research Professionals along with funding provided by Bristol Myers Squibb and the County of El Paso through an ARPA grant, has initiated a growing clinical research workforce and community outpatient clinics conducting clinical research in the region. Introductions continue to be facilitated between strategic industry partners to assist in our region’s clinical research and address clinical trials disparities and diversity. Trial specialties include mental health, neurology, oncology, infectious disease, endocrinology, device and GI/liver.

We are sincerely grateful to our community leaders and the City of El Paso as well as the numerous federal and corporate granting organizations and private donors that support and trust the MCA. We look forward to your continued partnership.

Mylena Walker, MCA Board Chair

Carlos Ortega, MCA President & CEO


To develop and catalyze the life sciences ecosystem in the region.


To cultivate a dynamic health industry and innovation / entrepreneurship ecosystem that competes globally.


To ensure that the health care needs of our region are met by facilitating the growth of an entire “life sciences ecosystem”—from delivering health care education and training for our region’s workforce to commercializing biomedical research and innovations.


The MCA is creating a hub where research, innovation, and quality healthcare access can thrive in our region. Efficient infrastructure management and facility construction is essential to the effective execution of the MCA programs. In 2023, in addition to continuing the relationships with our campus partners and tenants, we focused on preparing the MCA for its next phase of growth.

During 2023, we continued to be on track with the environmental cleanup of the 203/309 Chelsea sites utilizing EPA funds in coordination with TCEQ’s Voluntary Clean-up Program. To date, the cleanup project remains on schedule for completion in late Summer 2024, readying it for future development.

We provided effective support, coordination and monitoring of the Coors Channel Project, made possible by El Paso Water, which is planned to be completed in the early part of 2nd quarter 2024, providing for optimal utilization of the existing land site for future development.


  • Completed demolition projects as planned – 309 Chelsea January 2023, 327 Chelsea November 2023
  • Cleaned up and secured 329 Chelsea, September 2023
  • Continued the excellent working relationship with the Veterans’ Administration Wellness Clinic, key for efficient facility operations
  • 99% occupancy rate achieved at the Cardwell Collaborative building, while keeping all tenants satisfied with outstanding customer support and efficient building operating costs
  • On schedule for 2024 completion of environmental cleanup of the 203/309 Chelsea sites and Coors Channel Project.

From better diagnostics, personalized medicine, and telemedicine to environmental safety, and operational improvements, HealthTech startups are developing new and innovative solutions to improve care and build prosperity in our region. The newly named Melinda and Meyer Marcus Foundation Innovation Center is working with companies at the forefront of innovating in the health and biotech industry.

The Innovation Center provides the infrastructure necessary to advance startup success through specialized equipment and access to wet and dry lab space, business planning and coaching, regulatory compliance assistance, training and education, access to capital, and critical networking and partnership opportunities.

Innovation ecosystem building is also an important part of our efforts. A strong ecosystem supports startups and small businesses by bringing increased collaboration between ecosystem stakeholders, accelerating innovation through networks, resources, and support, attracting talent and investment, concentrating resources and expertise, enhancing competitiveness, and driving economic growth. Additionally, a strong ecosystem plays a critical role in addressing healthcare disparities and developing solutions to complex healthcare problems.


  • Hosted 63 monthly networking & training events
  • Delivered tailored startup support to 21 companies
  • Provided 5 companies customized product development & FDA regulatory pathway support
  • Hosted University Technology & Entrepreneurship Prep - education on tech innovation, commercialization, and venture capital funding to UTEP students, faculty, and staff
  • Hosted Invest El Paso – to link investors, startups and community leaders
  • Closed out $300,000 EDA Capital Grant and $750,000 EDA SPRINT Grant
  • Innovation Center renamed for the Melinda and Meyer Marcus Family Foundation
  • Organized Global Entrepreneurship Week, 17 community events
  • Launched Elevate HealthTech Proof of Concept Competition

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education is crucial to create interest and prepare students for careers in the new economy which is increasingly technology and digital based. Hands-on science-based activities emphasize critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. They engage youth in experiences that help them to navigate the increasingly technology-driven society and provide tools to address complex global issues like climate change and health disparities. STEM education plays an important role in driving innovation, economic growth, and global competitiveness.

To develop and support the tech ecosystem, the STEM Innovation Lab provides camps for elementary, middle, and high school students in the El Paso region. Camps are established around science-based, hands-on activities that engage students while teaching them about careers in science and engineering fields. Our goal is to connect students to STEM careers through camps that are fun, engaging and informative!


  • Updated STEM curriculum and experiments
  • Hosted 7 day-long camps with 145 students
  • Hosted 4 week-long camps with 53 students
  • Public events for parents, teachers and students with 1,300 participants

Clinical Trials are essential for improving health outcomes by providing access to different treatment options and advancing health care innovations and technologies. In 2023, the clinical trials investigator site network in our region experienced substantial growth, expanding from 43 to 71 sites— a 65% increase over the previous year. This notable expansion was primarily driven by outpatient healthcare clinics incorporating clinical research as a care option. Consequently, trial activity surged to 379 trials, marking an increase of 13.8% from the previous year, enhancing regional trial access for a diverse range of medical conditions.

The burgeoning clinical trial industry also played a pivotal role in supporting employment, generating 153+ high-wage jobs, and contributing $114 million in trial revenue to the economies of West Texas and Southern New Mexico. This growth aligns with a broader trend observed over the past seven years since the inception of MCA’s clinical trial programs and initiatives.


Clinical Trial Academy (CTA) (Infrastructure Expansion)

  • Trained 107 Clinical Research Coordinators
  • Trained 16 Principal Investigators (PIs)/Sub-Investigators
  • Provided site startup support to 5 healthcare clinics
  • Facilitated 10 paid CRC Apprenticeships at local investigator sites

Clinical Trial Network (CTn) (Improving Patient Access)

  • Trained 17 Community Health Workers (CHWs)
  • Enlisted 3 investigator sites, 6 CHWs, and 2 healthcare organizations as participants

Companies & Boards

Honorary Directors


  • City Manager
  • City Council Representative, District #2
  • County Commissioner, Precinct #2
  • State Representative, District #79
  • Texas State Senator, District #29


  • Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • New Mexico State University
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • UT Houston School of Public Health
  • El Paso Community College
  • Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez


  • Children’s Hospital of El Paso
  • Hospitals of Providence
  • Las Palmas / Del Sol
  • University Medical Center of El Paso
  • William Beaumont Army Medical Center
  • Veteran's Administration
  • MCA Clinical Trials Consortium


  • Borderplex Alliance
  • San Juan Neighborhood Association
  • Workforce Solutions Borderplex

Donors & Sponsors


  • Amazon Smile
  • Broaddus & Associates
  • Cardwell Foundation
  • El Paso Electric Company
  • Flo Networks
  • Guy and Cindy Fields
  • Joseph Rodriguez
  • Lauterbach Borschow & Co PC
  • Martha Hood and Will Jewell
  • Melinda and Meyer Marcus Family Foundation
  • Microsoft
  • Nancy Lowery and Michael Acosta
  • ScottHulse PC


  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • City of El Paso
  • County of El Paso
  • El Paso Electric Company
  • U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Wilma D. Moleen Foundation
  • Workforce Solutions Borderplex


  • Exova Diagnostics, LLC
  • Oracle Netsuite
  • Spoeco

EL PASO GIVING DAY - Hosted by the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation

  • Luz Acosta
  • Brandon Arellano
  • Damon Delgado
  • Erica Dominguez
  • Nancy Lowery
  • Christian Mijares
  • Marianne Mijares
  • Monica Peña
  • Rogelio Salomon

Marketing and communications are vital to engaging with our region's current and future life sciences leaders, from innovators to healthcare professionals to educators and entrepreneurs. Effective outreach supports the continued development of our regional life sciences ecosystem.

In 2023, we focused our marketing and promotions on expanding awareness of our organization, reaching a wider audience aligned with our mission, and further connecting with those already supportive of our work.

  • Established program specific social media pages: Innovation Center LinkedIn, Innovation Center Instagram, Clinical Trials LinkedIn, STEM Instagram
  • 1,282 Facebook Followers
  • 13,700 Facebook Reach
  • 4.5% Facebook Engagement Rate
  • 1,660 LinkedIn Followers
  • 32,104 LinkedIn Reach
  • 8.5% LinkedIn Engagement Rate
  • 228 Instagram Followers
  • 9,478 Instagram Reach
  • 18.3% Instagram Engagement Rate
  • 13,370 Unique Website Visitors
  • 25 Newsletters
  • 82 Events

Where you can find us


Melinda and Meyer Marcus Foundation INNOVATION CENTER



3D printed lanterns produced by GOAL Product Development, a startup incubated at the Innovation Center.