Coralee Pérez-Pedrogo, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Carlos Albizu University, San Juan Campus
M.S. Carlos Albizu University, San Juan Campus
B. A. University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus
I am a young investigator with a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. I have ample experience working with patients with Substance Use Disorders (SUD). In addition, I have ten years of experience in clinical research studies that include providing manualized culturally adapted evidence-based interventions for affective and anxiety disorders. I am currently the PI of two funded studies. The first one funded by NIMHD-RCMI is a mixed methods study which explores the magnitude of stigma towards drug users among a purposeful sample of drug abuse treatment providers in PR and their conceptions of the challenges involved in servicing patients with SUD and HIV. The second study is one of two funded projects included in the Resource-Related Research Project Grant (R24) entitled Diversity-promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program (DIDARP). We are currently exploring in this study the extent of self-stigma in treatment adherence as well as its correlates in people with SUD and HIV. In addition, as part of my DIDARP research capacity building activities, I am participating as a post-doctoral fellow at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, under the sponsorship of Dr. Timothy Flannigan’s R25 NIH training grant in SUD, HIV and mental illness clinical research. My long-term career goals are to become a successful independent investigator with a programmatic line of research focused on making available to Spanish-speaking Latinos innovative evidence-based treatments to reduce self-stigma among people with SUD and SUD/HIV that identify and intervene with participant attributes that moderate treatment outcome.
As a young Puerto Rican woman and as a member of the Latino community, I feel strongly about contributing to the well being of my people and making a difference in my community. Therefore, I believe I can contribute the most to my community by first educating myself and then working towards obtaining a successful career in research. My commitment to research evolves from my consistent participation in research since the year 2000. As an undergraduate major in Psychology, I was a NIMH-COR mentee and participated in projects evaluating the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions for children with ADHD. NIMH-COR program provided opportunities for research training and to develop competitiveness for application to a doctoral program. Throughout the subsequent years I have sought opportunities to strengthen my research capabilities so that I could realistically aspire to an academic career in the behavioral sciences. While obtaining my master’s degree, I participated as a research assistant in several effectiveness trials. Since receiving my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, I have played increasingly larger roles in the design of new studies and joined the Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research at the Graduate School of Public Health-UPR as an adjunct professor. During the last ten years I have collaborated in clinical research studies that include providing manualized, culturally adapted evidence-based interventions for affective disorders; data analysis; and authorship and co-authorship of research manuscripts. Through these projects I have gained insight into the potential role of individual attributes as treatment moderators in effectiveness trials. Through activities conducted by the Diversity-promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program (NIDA-R24) team, I realized that addressing the topic of self-stigma in a vulnerable population affected by two stigmatized attributes, HIV and Substance Use Disorders, presented an opportunity to merge the study of stigma and my experience with clinical interventions based on using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy modalities, since there is emerging evidence that these are effective in reducing self-stigma.