Mariana Sanchez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a Research Associate at the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at Florida International University. She has over 20 years of experience in conducting longitudinal research with youth and young adults in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Her program of research seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural mechanism that influence health behaviors, particularly alcohol misuse, and its related consequences among Latinos. To date, the bulk of her research has focused on examining how sociocultural determinants impact alcohol and HIV risk behaviors among particularly vulnerable Latino populations including recent immigrants, unauthorized immigrants, and farmworkers. Dr. Sanchez is also primary department faculty for a new graduate track in Health Disparities housed in the Department of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention. The goal of this concentration is to train doctoral students and expand FIU’s capacity to conduct health disparities research in HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and obesity among African Americans, Latinos, Haitians, and other underserved communities in South Florida and the Caribbean region. Dr. Sanchez has been an investigator on 5 National Institutes of Health funded studies. She is currently a co-principal investigator of a mixed methods study funded by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism aimed at understanding the environmental, demographic, and sociocultural factors influencing drinking and driving trajectories among recent Latino immigrants. Ultimately, she aspires to apply knowledge gained from her research towards developing culturally relevant evidence-based interventions that target identified vulnerability factors and take advantage of key protective factors in preventing substance use and other related health disparities among minority populations.
Health disparities, cultural adaptations, culturally tailored evidence-based health promotion interventions, socio-cultural determinants of alcohol use and HIV risk behaviors