About Us


The Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) at Florida International University was established in 2003 in order to address the escalating twin epidemics of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS affecting Latino communities throughout South Florida. This pioneering, nationally and internationally recognized Center currently houses grant awards from several of the prestigious institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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Active Grants

CRUSADA is home to the following active NIH grants:

    • National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) U54 Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities (CLaRO) (NIMHD U54 MD002266; PIs: Behar-Zusman, De La Rosa), collaboratively administered with the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies¬†
    • National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) S21 Florida International University-Health Disparities Initiative (NIMHD S21 MD010683; PIs: Gil, De La Rosa)
    • National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) R01 grant titled The Intergenerational Transmission of Alcohol Use Among Latino Mothers and Daughters (R01NR012150; PI: De La Rosa)
    • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) R01¬†Pre- to Post-Immigration Drinking and Driving Among Recent Latino Immigrants: Examining Opportunities for Intervention (NIAAA R01 AA025720; PIs: M. Sanchez, Romano), collaboratively administered with the Pacific Institute For Research and Evaluation (PIRE)
    • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) K99 Testing a culturally tailored behavioral intervention to reduce co-occurring substance use and HIV risk among stimulant-using Latinx men who have sex with men in South Florida (NIDA K99 DA053158; PI: Colon-Burgos)
    • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) F31 Addressing Health Disparities Among Recent Latinx Immigrants Using a Syndemic Approach (NIAAA F31 AA028723; PI: Vazquez)

CRUSADA Administrative Staff execute the following Specific Aims:

    • Manage the administration of grants and budgets;
    • Provide scientific and administrative leadership, overseeing activities of each grant
    • Coordinate and integrate CRUSADA personnel, FIU colleges, schools, and departments, community-based agencies, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and personnel from colleges, schools, and departments outside of FIU; and facilitate collaboration in research projects;
    • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the Center’s activities in achieving its goals and objectives in a timely and efficient manner;
    • Enhance the visibility and reach of the Center at the local, state, and national levels; and
    • Ensure the long term sustainability and expansion of the Center and its community partners in their pursuit towards reducing and/or eliminating HIV/AIDS and substance abuse health disparities in Latino populations and Latina women in Miami-Dade County in particular.