Director, JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health
Universidade Federal, Brazil: B.A., Psychology
Universidade Federal, Brazil: M.A., Social Psychology
University of California, Davis: Ph.D., Human Development
University of Kansas Medical Center: Post-doctorate
As a faculty member, my goal has been to initiate a new line of health disparities research in the Latino community in Kansas tied to binational initiatives in Mexico and Brazil. As a social behavioral scientist, my tobacco control research has focused on smoking cessation and access to cessation treatments among underserved and understudied populations with a primary focus on Latinos. I also have experience in the development and implementation of research projects incorporating cultural factors and principles of community-based participatory research.
My teaching activities represent a direct expansion of my research as a social behavioral scientist focused on health disparities among racial/ethnic groups, culturally competent health intervention, social determinants of health, and community-based participatory approaches that enhance health equity. Although the overlap across teaching and research creates some complexity, this reflects my commitment to addressing health disparities faced by Latino immigrants in the U.S. As a result, I have continuously expanded my core educational activities for medical students, community-based organizations, and health care professionals within my department, medical center and across the state of Kansas. As an educator, my goal is to empower students to become independent thinkers and self-sufficient learners, while growing more inquisitive and confident in their ability to use scientific methods to solve complex health disparities problems.
Increasing the number of physicians from underrepresented groups requires effective health career pipeline efforts. Since 2008, I have implemented the Latino Summer Internship in Health Disparities Research program.