Research Scientist, Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.
New York State Psychiatric Institute
Maria A. Ramos Olazagasti, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University, and Research Scientist at New York State Psychiatric Institute. She received her PhD in Community and Developmental Psychology from New York University and completed post-doctoral training in Developmental Psychopathology at NYU Langone Medical Center. She is generally interested in the role of culture, context, and child development. The overarching goal of her research is to study how the health, well-being, and risk behaviors of ethnic minorities, particularly Latinos, are affected by social position and context. Her research and training has been funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Teenage parenthood can set in motion a number of adverse experiences that accumulate over the lifetime and perpetuate the transmission of risk from one generation to the next. Using data from the Boricua Youth Study, a longitudinal study of Puerto Rican children living in the South Bronx, New York and the Metropolitan Area of Puerto Rico, this study aims to determine to what extent risk for teenage parenthood is transmitted across generations among Puerto Rican families, examine the role of culture and characteristics of the location of residence in the intergenerational transmission of risk, and identify individual-level and contextual-level mechanisms of transmission of risk (e.g., parental mental health, exposure to violence, neighborhood disadvantage).
My New Connections Experience
In this critical stage in my career when I am working towards getting established as an independent health scientist, building connections with fellow minority researchers and forming strong mentoring relationships with other minority role models is crucial. The mentoring, networking, skill-building, and financial support that New Connections provides sets an ideal stage for me to pursue my professional goals and thrive as a Latina researcher in a competitive academic environment. New Connections will help me formalize relationships with minority mentors and broaden the network of diverse scholars I am trying to build inside and outside of my institution. The program’s methodological workshops will support my goal of furthering my quantitative skills and using state-of-the-art methods to answer highly relevant public health questions. New Connections gives me the opportunity to enter a diverse network of investigators who share my interest in producing research that advances our knowledge on the social determinants of health and on how to create environments that promote a culture of health for all Americans.
Being part of New Connections will allow me to build a solid network of scholars with a shared interest in eliminating health disparities. The networking opportunities provided by New Connections will open doors for future collaborations and discussions about important public health concerns. The mentoring structure, skill-building, and methodological training offered by New Connections will support my professional development and help me advance to the next stage in my career.
Ramos-Olazagasti’s research focuses on the influence of social position and contexts at different ecological levels (e.g., family, neighborhood, peer) on the health and health risk behaviors of Latinos in the US and elsewhere, with the overarching goal of understanding the processes that lead to the existence and maintenance of health disparities. She has a special interest in using innovative and sophisticated methods to understand change, development, and the processes by which risk and protective factors affect Latino youths’ mental and physical health.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2015
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Child and Family Well-being
- Project Name: Culture, place, and the intergenerational transmission of risk among Puerto Rican families