A fundamental question in global public health nutrition is how to best promote health and disease prevention among high-risk, underserved populations. My studies are focused on this question and have contributed to: 1) produce knowledge of context-specific determinants of diet behaviors in Latin America and the Caribbean; 2) develop and evaluate strategies to address those determinants among Hispanic immigrants to the US; 3) understand the role and interactions of food industry, academia and government health sector to promote nutrition (specifically, trans fatty acids) in Latin America. This work has been seminal to inform nutrition policy in the region.
Trained in nutritional sciences, my approach to public health draws from the fields of sociology, anthropology, and nutrition epidemiology. This interdisciplinary approach is critical to address the question of how to best support healthful nutrition behaviors in underserved populations. I have a solid methodological and theoretical foundation grounded in five years of NIH-funded pre-doctoral research fellowship to study public health nutrition and a post-doctoral Cancer Training Award Fellowship from the National Cancer Institute (NIH) to study preventive approaches and health promotion.
As global health faculty, I have established collaborations in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), including an affiliated investigator position at the Instituto Costarricense de Investigación y Enseñanza en Nutrición y Salud (INCIENSA) in Costa Rica and a faculty consultant on community engagement at the University of Puerto Rico. I have worked as a School Feeding Associate in LAC with the World Food Programme, and as a visiting scholar at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. Spanish is my first language and I speak French fluently –these are important skills that have helped me navigate multicultural collaborations.