Elena Avila, RN, MSN, Curandera, is a first generation Chicana born in the barrios of El Paso, Texas. Her parents were born in Mexico and brought their medicine with them out of Mexico, medicine passed down through time. Elena's first language was Spanish, and her family's health care included Curanderismo as well as western medicine.
After graduating from the University of Texas in 1976, with a Bachelor of Science in nursing, Elena obtained her Master's degree from UT in 1981, and specialized in mental health. She began her research into Curanderismo in 1974, gradually incorporating native folk healing into her work as a nurse.