University of Texas School of Public Health
I am an assistant professor in epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health interested in the associations between tobacco, alcohol, and mental health among diverse populations – especially Latinos. I completed my PhD in epidemiology at the University of Miami in 2012 and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, in Tobacco Control in 2014. Many studies have grouped Latinos together, ignoring the diversity within Latinos. My program of research considers differences in smoking, alcohol, and mental health problems among Latinos by country of origin (e.g., Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican). Since Latinos of certain groups reside in different geographical areas of the United States, my research informs healthcare practitioners and public health policymakers which Latino groups are at greater risk for substance abuse and mental health. Further, my research informs coping and behavioral interventions in these groups at-most risk. My research will help level health disparities among Latinos, a priority of RWJF Culture and Health.
Hispanics are a diverse group by country of origin. Previous studies have been limited by collapsing Hispanics as a group, mostly Mexican Americans, and ignoring diversity in Hispanics. A new study is finding differences in heart and respiratory disease by Hispanic country of origin (e.g., Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban). The aim of this study is to find differences in tobacco use, alcohol use and mental health among Hispanics by country of origin.
My New Connections Experience
I applied to New Connections because this is a special program meant for minorities to advance their careers. I am able to pursue a project that will give me direction as a new faculty member. I will receive guidance and feedback on research and career advice from officers in RWJF. In addition, I will also have an excellent mentor, meet other senior mentors dedicated to mentoring minorities, and network with other RWJF peers and senior members. I will also attend the webinars to further advance my career. I will become acquainted with RWJF priorities for future opportunities with RWJF.
It means that I will be able to pursue a project that will serve as an initial project for future projects. I will also receive excellent mentorship from my mentor. I will meet like-minded peers and also be able to network with other RWJF members that will advance my career.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2015
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Healthy Communities
- Project Name: Tobacco- and Alcohol-related Health Disparities in Mental Health among Latinos.