Brown Bag Lecture (10/25):
Sara M. St. George, PhD
Public Health Sciences
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Brown Bag Lecture (11/08):
Jose Felix Colon Burgos, MS DrPH
Investigador Evaluador de Sistemas de Salud, NIH Diversity Fellow, Proyecto Sindemias
NIMHD Awards Endowment to FIU (PIs: Gil, De La Rosa)
Endowment makes FIU regional hub for the study of HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, obesity, and diabetes
NIAAA Awards R01 Grant to Dr. De La Rosa
Study will Examine Alcohol Use among Recent Latino Immigrants
Dr. Kanamori, CRUSADA Postdoctoral Fellow, Awarded NIH K99/R00 Grant
First investigator from College of Public Health & Social Work to receive an NIH Pathway to Independence Award
CRUSADA/C-SALUD PhD Fellow wins at 2016 Florida Research Symposium
Stephanie Diez won 1st Place in Social Sciences Category for presentation on problem videogame play in children & youth
NIH Awards $12.7 Million to FIU
Three CRUSADA Researchers are Members of Interdisciplinary Team
Frank Dillon Awarded R15 grant from NIMHD
Affiliated faculty member Frank Dillion was awarded a R15 to conduct a study of HIV testing among at risk Latino men
CRUSADA Faculty Featured on NIH Website
Preventing HIV/AIDS in Recent Latino Immigrants
More CRUSADA News
CRUSADA News Page
My Spanish name is Mariano and my Japanese name is Masaru.
I am a Latino epidemiologist with more than 20 years of experience working with underserved populations in the United States, Latin America and Africa. I conduct research that bridges social determinants of health/disease and health disparities among minority and underserved communities. I use socio-ecological theoretical frameworks including determinants grouped in four levels: intra-personal, inter-personal, community and societal levels. This approach has allowed me to identify dietary, social, cultural, environmental, and genetic factors that influence burden of infectious and chronic disease among minorities, mainly Latino populations.
My work has also focused on social network analyses and my interest is to master several analytical approaches such as network density, network connectivity, bridge, centrality, density, homophily (the extent to which actors form ties with similar versus dissimilar others), multiplexity (the number of content-forms contained in a tie), mutuality/reciprocity (the extent to which two actors reciprocate each other's friendship or other interaction), network closure (a measure of the completeness of relational triads), and propinquity (the tendency for actors to have more ties with geographically close others). I would also like to explore different visual representation of social networks.
My interest in public health began in the early 1990's in Peru, where I participated in developing the first national HIV/AIDS prevention program for adolescents and young adults. In 1998, the Ford Foundation and Cayetano Heredia University awarded me a fellowship to perform HIV/AIDS studies with adolescents and young adults living in Pampas de San Juan (a Peruvian shantytown inhabited by refugees who were fleeing terrorist areas). Through this fellowship, I studied how dyadic attachments (e.g., pairs of adolescents, adolescent-parent), as well as family, school, neighborhood, and mass media characteristics influence social networks' configuration, dynamics and transmission of HIV/AIDS preventive messages. In the United States, my Masters degree in Communications, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University combined with National Cancer Institute funded pre-doctoral training under the leadership of Dr. Elmer Huerta (former President of the American Cancer Society), gave me the opportunity to apply socio-ecological and social network theoretical frameworks for studying underlying and proximate determinants associated with recently immigrated Latinos' access to health services.
As a doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Maryland College Park, I had the opportunity to work in a nutritional program with orphans and vulnerable (OVC) families as a result of HIV/AIDS in Africa. These experiences have increased my understanding of how individual cultures influence health and nutritional behaviors. In fact, during his first trip to Ethiopia three years ago, I saw that many of the OVC's mothers and female children had their faces destroyed with acid. I learned that this form of abuse against women is a common way to take social revenge in this country. Since that time, I knew that my work should also help African OVC's caregivers as well as Latino underserved people.
I learned about CRUSADA/C-Salud though the website from the American Public Health Association. I was looking for a NIH funded post-doctoral training that would allow me to work on HIV/AIDS and substance abuse among underserved communities. The application process involved the development of several materials, phone interviews, in person interviews and research presentations. It was difficult to apply to this position. I am glad I did it and I was selected!
I am receiving constant mentorship. In fact, this is what I was looking to have as a post-doctoral researcher. I meet once a week and sometimes even more days per week with Dr. De La Rosa, the Director of the Center as well as once a month with Dr. Trepka and Dr. Dillon who are the Directors of the research training component. Dr. De La Rosa, Dr. Trepka and Dr. Dillon as well as other more senior researchers at CRUSADA are providing me with guidance as well as serving as role models. They are also contacting me with leaders in my research field, the community, and have introduced me into the network of people working in health disparities related to HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. Dr. De La Rosa has also advised me on career moves in terms of preparing me to apply for grants, what grants to apply for, and how to submit a strong grant proposal. In fact, he has offered the opportunity to be the Scientific Director of the Project "HIV Risk Reduction in High Risk Latina Migrant Workers in South Florida" funded by NIH. This is a 3-year, longitudinal, randomized, two-group design, with 6, 12, and 18-month follow-ups. The primary aim of this study is to assess the impact of an Adapted Stage-Enhanced Motivational Interviewing program using social network techniques and mass media education compared to a Health Promotion Comparison condition for producing long-term reductions in HIV risk and increased health behaviors among high risk Latina migrant workers.
I am performing additional social network analyses to describe Latino migrant worker's mobility in the U.S. and the configuration of their community social networks, identify subpopulations of substance users and non-users within the larger network, and compare structural (network density, network size) and compositional characteristics (number of weeks interacting in the crop farm, distance from their communities to the crop farm, available social support) by substance use status and HIV/AIDS risky behaviors.
I like working at CRUSADA as well as living in Miami. As such, I am expecting to continue receiving mentoring from CRUSADA's senior researchers to keep on acquiring the necessary training, practical experience, and knowledge to become a professor as well as a leading independent epidemiological investigator in implementing public health interventions using social network approaches to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in low-income communities.