Adriana Maldonado

Adriana Maldonado, Ph.D. student, Community and Behavioral Health

Reduces Latinx disparities

“Adriana’s dissertation research responds to recent demographic trends in which Latinos are moving out of established settlement states in favor of better work opportunities and lower cost of living in Midwestern and Southeastern states. Her research is very timely and the findings will have the potential to improve responses to reduce heart disease–the leading cause of death in the United States–including reducing Latino hypertension disparities.” -Paul Gilbert, Associate Professor Community and Behavioral Health

Hometown: Tijuana, Baja California Mexico
Faculty mentor/advisor: Professor Paul A. Gilbert
What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD in Community and Behavioral Health, December 2021
Please describe your research: My primary research interests lie at the intersection of health equity and Latino health. Specifically, with the goal of informing the development of intervention programs, I focus on identifying the factors associated with hypertension-related disparities experienced by the U.S. Latino community and how these factors vary by place of residence.
In simple terms, why does this research matter? Despite the growing recognition of rapid growth, Latinos in the U.S. remain a minority group with an increased risk for certain health disparities. Specifically, while both Latinos and Whites have the same risk for suffering from hypertension, Latinos are less likely to have both treated and controlled hypertension. Thus, identifying and understanding the factors that contribute to the low rates of hypertension treatment and control is a pressing need, as hypertension is the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease – the second leading cause of death among Latinos.
How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I was able to participate in research immediately after starting my doctoral program at the University of Iowa. Through my research assistantship at the University of Iowa Prevention Research Center, I have been involved in several research projects.
How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Conducting research at the University of Iowa has significantly contributed to my development as an independent researcher. I have not only strengthened my critical thinking skills, but also learned valuable problem-solving methodologies, to communicate efficiently, and work in a collaborative environment.
What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? My overall goal is to become and independent researcher at an academic institution where I can continue my work on social justice, health equity, and Latino health. I also envision to mentor first-generation Latino students.

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