Natasha Mendoza, Ph.D., LMSW
Ph.D. The Ohio State University
MSW The University of Wyoming
B.S. Park University
A.S. Laramie County Community
I am a researcher for two reasons: 1) I have a profound, personal, and existential commitment to better understanding drug and alcohol use and the human condition that underlies addiction and 2) In 2001, while at the University of Wyoming, I was introduced to Dr. Gail Leedy. I helped Dr. Leedy expand her project related to sexual minority women. Research with Dr. Leedy served as the foundation for my Masters of Social Work thesis, helped launch my research career, and solidified a mission to seek social justice with vulnerable populations. My entire world view changed at the same time I began to understand my own intersecting identities. Ultimately, I became a researcher to effect change in the world and within myself.
I make the assumption that motivation to change substance use behaviors is both intrinsic and a function of interpersonal relationships, occurring within the context of culture and across multiple systems. Essentially, my scholarship is based on the premise that behavioral health is indelibly linked to identity (i.e., gender, ethnic, and sexual orientation) and the ecological systems in which identities develop. My research is aligned with my substantive interest areas and manifests in two major areas: 1) Factors associated with problematic substance use among individuals mandated to treatment via criminal justice and child protective service systems and 2) Factors associated with problematic substance use among individuals with intersecting identities of gender, race, and sexual orientation.