Message from Dr. Mario De La Rosa, Director


I established the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) at Florida International University in 2003 in order to address the escalating twin epidemics of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS affecting Latino communities throughout South Florida. Since the Center's inception, I have led our trainees, faculty, and staff in applying multidisciplinary and community based research and training approaches to advance our understanding of the underlying individual, family, and community factors that influence the spread of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse among Latinos.

CRUSADA is uniquely positioned to advance our understanding of these growing problems because of its geographical location and its association with Florida International University (FIU), one of the twenty-five largest universities in the country and the largest Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the mainland United States. CRUSADA positions FIU at the forefront of research on health disparities in Latino populations because of its collaborative efforts across the University and the community. The Center provides a significant opportunity to translate research into best-practice models that could be utilized by community-based agencies to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse.

This pioneering, nationally and internationally recognized Center currently houses several grants awarded by institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The NIAAA grant is collaboratively administered and investigated with Dr. Eduardo Romano, Pacific Institute For Research and Evaluation (PIRE).

[Read more about CRUSADA in the About Section]

CRUSADA's considerable experience in the areas of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS is the foundation by which we develop research focusing on health disparities and issues (e.g., access to health care) confronted by Latinos, as well as other emerging immigrant populations. The multidisciplinary and community based research and training approaches established by CRUSADA shed light on the underlying individual, family, and community factors that influence the spread of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse among Latinos. In this regard, the staff, faculty, and students affiliated with the Center will continue to work diligently to develop more effective interventions so that the prevalence of these twin epidemics can be reduced, making significant contributions toward improving the health status of immigrant populations; the primary aim of CRUSADA is to help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in Latino communities. I invite you to learn more about our Center through this website.

Mario De La Rosa, PhD
Director, Center for Research on U.S. Latino
HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA)