Gladys Ibañez, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Geogia State University
M.A. Geogia State University
M.A. Appalachian State University
B.A. Florida International University
I’ve always been interested in learning about behavior and why people do the things they do. After a few years of working as a substance abuse therapist, I realized there were not a lot of options for people who used substances. I became increasingly interested in developing and implementing my own programs and interventions rather than doing individual therapy. As a Latina woman and a child of immigrants, I was particularly interested in developing programs that were tailored to immigrant Latino communities; and programs that did so in positive and empowering ways. Programs that took cultural values and beliefs into account. My post-doctoral fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helped me focus on HIV+ populations and to learn more about the intersection of HIV and drug use. Through my fellowship, I realized that there needed to be more attention on HIV among Latinos. My work around issues like HIV, substance use; and among vulnerable populations such as incarcerated populations or the elderly, is very rewarding to me. Currently, I’m very interested in how people age with HIV especially older HIV+ Latinos; and how we can help improve health outcomes for this population.
My research interest for the last 15 years have focused on HIV and substance use; and working with at-risk Latino populations such as Latino sexual minorities and the incarcerated population. Going forward, my interest will focus more on how people are aging with HIV and the role that substance use plays in the aging process. I will be conducting a pilot project this year on the cognitive functioning of HIV+ older Latinos, many of which are substance abusers. I will first be examining the association between cognitive functioning and HIV care. The second step will be to examine the moderating effects of drug use on cognitive functioning and HIV care. For example, is there any difference in cognitive functioning among those who start using drugs earlier versus those who start after 50? I would like to develop a cognitive intervention for HIV+ individuals to help improve HIV care. Another interest is research with incarcerated populations. I am currently working on developing a web-based version of an HIV/Hepatitis C prevention intervention for drug-involved Latino criminal justice clients that may be efficacious and easier to deliver than a small group intervention format.