El Paso, Texas, USA  downtown city skyline at dusk with Juarez, Mexico in the distance..jp
BBI Mountian Logo 9-10-2021.png


This is your platform. These are your transformative conversations; your new and inspiring ideas that will progress the borderland region and beyond. 


Come ready to feed your curiosity, there is so much to discover.

This is BBI.


About Us

Borderland Big Ideas is an accessible ideas platform that aims to inspire curiosity and innovation by amplifying the big ideas already progressing the borderland region, and introducing big ideas from around the world.

This platform provides an opportunity to learn from leading subject experts and engage with big ideas through hands-on experiences.

It is a platform to expand the mind through connective and transformative conversation on all topics important to the borderland region and beyond.


A big idea brings together like-minded people from a multitude of backgrounds.


A big idea challenges your current understanding.


A big idea inspires you to follow your passions.


A big idea has the power to transform your city, your country, and the world.

What is a "Big Idea"?

Event (9 of 55).jpg

Borderland State of Mind:

Exploring the Region's Mental Health

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

6:00 - 8:30 PM

Join us as we dive into this topic that is critical to consider now more than ever. Learn more about the event at the link above, and learn about our speakers below.

We're sharing live event updates on our social media, you should follow us!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram



Meet the Speakers


Dr. Thenral Mangadu

Dr. Mangadu has more than 20 years of experience in community-engaged interdisciplinary public health research and workforce development in the U.S.-Mexico border region and underrepresented communities globally. Specifically, she focuses on Substance Use Disorder, Mental Health, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, primary care access, and healthcare workforce-related minority health disparities. She is the Associate Vice President for Interdisciplinary Research

at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), is an Associate Professor in Public Health, the founding Director of the Minority AIDS Research Center (MARC) at UTEP, and directs multiple regional projects addressing minority health disparities. She also leads the Rural Health Interdisciplinary Research Core (RHIRC) and the Global Alliance for Healthier Populations (GAHP) for MARC.

Dr. Mangadu is a recipient of the 2021 Lone Star Award for outstanding leadership and contributions to the field of Substance Use Disorder treatment and recovery in Texas. She currently directs multiple large-scale federally funded regional community-engaged projects. Her research has been published and presented in various community and scientific forums/journals

Isidro Torres

Isidro is a proud born and raised El Pasoan. He received his BA in Organizational and Corporate Communication (2017) and MBA (2020) from the University of Texas at El Paso. He began his time with NAMI El Paso in 2015 as a volunteer working on the website and other small projects. Having seen the impact stigma and the “machismo” culture has on mental health, he found a deep passion for the mission. He has held various roles within the organization since joining such as a Board

Isidro Torres Headshot.jpg

Member, Outreach and Fundraising Coordinator, and Director of Outreach and Fundraising. He now proudly serves as the Executive Director. He is committed to working alongside the board, staff, and wonderful volunteers to expanding mental health education awareness, support, and advocacy across the region.

Anaysa Headshot.JPG

Anaysa Arce

Anaysa Arce is a project coordinator with six years of experience working in the borderland. Anaysa is a native El Pasoan and proud UTEP alumnus. In 2017, she received her Bachelor of Science honors degree in Health Promotion with a minor in Community Health and Nutrition. Anaysa was introduced to research as an undergraduate student through the Minority Health International Research Training Program in Panama, which heightened her interest to work with the community and educate on topics around mental

mental health, substance use, healthy eating, and active living. Currently, she is completing her master’s in Mental Health Counseling intending to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in the region. Anaysa brings high energy to the workplace and extends this force as a cycling instructor at CycleBar El Paso West. She uses her positive attitude to encourage others to reach their full potential in hopes of one day opening her own practice and giving back to the community.

Luciana Garcia

Luciana Garcia is an Emotional Mastery Coach, a Holistic Practitioner, and an Acharya from the Mahajrya Buddhist tradition. She has a Degree in Mind-Body Transformational Psychology and over ten years of experience teaching others how to master their emotions using mindfulness. Her passion is to help others find emotional balance and overall well-being.

Luciana Garcia Photograph.jpg
Denise Franco Headshot.JPG

Denise Franco

Denise is best known in her hometown of El Paso, TX for her active role as a Realtor in her community. She has been active in the real estate industry for over seven years and has had the opportunity to learn and teach all about the different opportunities that real estate can provide not only to her clients but her peers, partners, and the El Paso community. She has since created a strong brand and successful business by cultivating long-term, profitable relationships centered around referrals from past clients, partners, and her sphere of

influence. Denise uses her platform as a public figure not only to market her business but to spread empowering messages geared toward mental health awareness. She hopes to help bring awareness to the community on how to overcome anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts by being a vocal advocate of the continued research and support in the Mental Health Space.

Richie Marrufo

Richie David Marrufo is an educator, writer, and performer from El Paso, TX. His creative path is led by his passions for rhythm, language, and improvisation. He is the Project Director of The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series (BWOMS), teaches English classes at El Paso Community College, leads creative writing workshops via BorderSenses and Tumblewords, and has cultivated performance spaces around his city and globally online. He's 

Richie Marrufo Headshot.jpg

been featured at the 2022 Nottingham Poetry Festival, on The Poetry Global Network’s Poet’s Lighthouse, People on Point Podcast, El Paso Creatives Podcast Show, and many more.

DJ Prince Jett.JPG

DJ Prince Jett

Extroverted and hard-working DJ intimately familiar with El Paso nightlife and bar scene for over ten years. He’s skilled at spotting developing industry trends and introducing exciting new music and mixes to audiences, while consistently maintaining an air of positivity and excitement. Jett has the ability to read the crowd and entertain in a “show” environment and is always looking to collaborate with new artists and venue owners.