Mariana Sanchez, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Florida International University
MSW Florida International University
B.A. Florida International University
I am a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center of Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA). I have 20 years of experience in conducting longitudinal research with Latino youth and young adults, in Miami-Dade County, Florida including data collection and analyses, community outreach and quality assurance. To date, my research has focused on examining how sociocultural determinants (particularly culture, acculturation, and religious/spiritual factors) impact health risk behaviors among U.S. Latino immigrants. These long-standing research interests have been fostered over the past 7 years by the pre- and post-doctoral research training I have received at CRUSADA. In this capacity I have worked independently and collaboratively with a multi-disciplinary research staff in planning, organizing, and conducting NIH funded longitudinal research focused on sociocultural influences of namely substance abuse and HIV/AIDS among Latino populations. In my current position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at CRUSADA my duties include: (a) collaborating with and other Junior and Senior Researchers in writing scientific manuscripts and grant proposals; (b) conducting quantitative data analysis; (c) disseminating research findings via national and international conferences; and (d) providing leadership and mentoring to doctoral students in data analysis, writing of peer reviewed manuscripts, and conference presentations.
The overarching aim of my research agenda is reducing and ultimately eliminating substance abuse and HIV related health disparities among U.S Latinos. Specifically my research to date has examined the impact that social and cultural factors have on the substance use and HIV risk behaviors of Latino immigrant in the US. As an NIH funded Ruth L. Kirschstein (F-31) Pre-Doctoral Fellow, I was mentored by Dr. Mario De La Rosa, Director of CRUSADA at Florida International University and PI of the NIMHD funded P20 Exploratory Center of Excellence titled C-SALUD (P20MD002288). My dissertation, titled “Influence of Religious Coping on the Substance Abuse and HIV Risk Behaviors of Recent Latino Immigrants,” utilized data from one CRUSADA’s longitudinal investigations, the Recent Latino Immigrant Study (RLIS), to examine how religious coping interacted with acculturative stress to impact substance abuse and HIV risk in this population. It is my aspiration that my research on sociocultural determinants of health has a significant public health impact by informing social policy and development of efficacious interventions that target identified vulnerability factors and take advantage of key protective factors associated with substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors among various US Latino immigrant populations.