2012 Fellows

Meghan Althoff, MD, PhD

Physician, Physician Scientist Training Program, Internal Medicine
University of Colorado at Denver

IRTI Mentor: Alan Neaigus, PhD

Meghan Althoff graduated with her MD and PhD in Epidemiology from the Tulane University School of Medicine and School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine in 2016. Her research focused on the impact of social support networks and neighborhood composition on HIV and STI risk behaviors, including drug and alcohol use, among Latino migrants living in New Orleans. Dr. Althoff is currently in the Physician Scientist Training Program at the University of Colorado in Denver, where she is completing her Internal Medicine residency followed by a fellowship in Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine.

Selected Publications:
Rebholz, C., Macomber, M., Althoff, M., Garstka, M., Pogribny, A., Rosencrans, A., Selzer, S., & Springgate, B. (2013). Integrated Models of Education and Service Involving Community-Based Health Care for Underserved Populations: Tulane Student-Run Free Clinics. Southern Medical Journal, 106(3), 217-223.

Kissinger, P., Althoff, M., Burton, N., Schmidt, N., Hembling, J., Salinas, O., Shedlin, M. (2013). Prevalence, patterns, and predictors of substance use among Latino migrant men in a new receiving community. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 133 (5), 814-824.

Althoff, M., Anderson-Smits, C., Kovacs, S., Salinas, O., Hembling, J., Schmidt, N., & Kissinger, P. (2012). Patterns and Predictors of Multiple Sexual Partnerships Among Newly Arrived Latino Migrant Men. AIDS and Behavior, 1-10.

Miguel Ángel Cano, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Florida International University

IRTI Mentor: Seth Schwartz, PhD

Miguel Ángel Cano is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and a Research Associate in the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse at Florida International University. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and minored in sociology and Mexican American studies at Arizona State University. Dr. Cano also completed a Doctorate in Psychology from Texas A&M University, Master of Public Health from the Texas A&M Health Science Center, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Health Disparities Research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Cano’s program of research is in the area of health disparities among underserved racial/ethnic groups with an emphasis on Hispanic populations. His primary research interests include 1) social and ethnocultural determinants of psychiatric disorders/affective symptoms and health risk behaviors associated with chronic diseases, 2) syndemic interactions of psychiatric disorders/affective symptoms and health risk behaviors, and 3) evidence-based health promotion interventions for underserved racial/ethnic groups. To support his program of research, Dr. Cano has received funding from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. In 2014 he received the Outstanding Presentation Award from the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry and in 2016 he received the National Award of Excellence in Research by a New Investigator from the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse.

Selected Publications:
Cano, M. A., Lam, C. Y., Adams, C. E., Correa-Fernández, V., Stewart, D. W., Chen, M., McClure, J. B., Cinciripini, P. M., & Wetter, D. W. (in press). Positive smoking outcome expectancies mediate the association between negative affect and smoking urge among women during a quit attempt. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Adams, C. E., Cano, M. A., Heppner, W. L., Stewart, D. W., Correa-Fernández, V., Irvin Vidrine, J. Li, Y., Cinciripini, P. M. Ahluwalia, J. S., & Wetter, D. W. (in press). Testing a moderated mediation model of mindfulness, psychosocial stress, and alcohol use among African American smokers. Mindfulness.

Castro, Y., Cano, M. A., Mazas, C. A., Businelle, M. S., Correa-Fernández, V., Heppner, W.L., & Wetter, D. W. (2014). A cross-lagged path analysis of five intrapersonal determinants of smoking cessation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 137, 98-105.

NICMHD. Loan Repayment Program. (July 2012- June 2013). Understanding health disparities among Hispanics.

National Cancer Institute (NCI).R25T. (September 2013- August 2015). Associations of acculturations and enculturation with smoking cessation outcomes among Spanish speaking Mexican and Mexican American.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). K01. (September 2017 – July 2022). Ethnic discrimination and alcohol risk behaviors among Hispanic adolescents/Project on Latinos Ending Alcohol Abuse and Discrimination (Project LEAD).

Jennifer Kam, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Communication
University of California, Santa Barbara

IRTI Mentor: Felipe Castro, PhD

Jennifer Kam is an Associate Professor and Graduate Director for the Department of Communication at UC Santa Barabara. Based on a stress-coping-resilience framework, her work involves investigating how fear of deportation, separation from family during migration, perceived ethnic/racial discrimination, and language brokering are related to adolescents, depressive symptoms, substance use, and low academic performance. She also is interested in identifying interpersonal-based resources that might protect adolescents from experiencing such negative outcomes. Dr. Kam’s research often involves conducting semi-structured interviews and surveys with Latino/a adolescents and/or children of immigrant families. Her work is intended to inform the design of culturally-grounded substance-use prevention programs that can enhance the well-being of adolescents from underserved backgrounds.

Dr. Kam has published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles, most of which can be found in top communication, prevention, and adolescent journals such as Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Health Communication, Prevention Science, and Journal of Research on Adolescence. She also has presented over 30 papers at national and international conferences and has received several top paper awards. In 2016, she received the Early Career Award from the Interpersonal Division at the National Communication Association, one of the premier associations in her discipline.

Selected Publications:
Lee, C. J., & Kam, J. A. (in press). Explaining the effects of anti-drug media campaign exposure and social capital on targeted parent-child communication about drugs. Communication Research.

Kam, J. A., & Wang, N. (in press). Longitudinal effects of best-friend communication against substance use for Latino and non-Latino white early adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence.          

Kam, J. A., Wang, N., & Harvey, J. (2014). Latino and European American early adolescents’ exposure to music with substance-use references: Examining parent-child communication as a moderator. Journal of Adolescence, 37, 185-196.

Kam, J. A., Steuber Fazio, K. R., & Mendez Murillo, R. (2018). Disclosing one’s undocumented status to non-family members: Exploring the perspectives of undocumented youth of Mexican origin. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 

Kam, J. A., Perez Torres, D., & Steuber Fazio, K. R. (2018). Identifying individual- and family-level coping strategies for undocumented youth of Mexican origin. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 46, 641-664.

Kam, JA. & Yang, S. (2013). Explicating how parent-child communication increases Latino and European American early adolescents’ intentions to intervene in a friend’s substance use. Prevention Science, [epub ahead of print].

Kam, JA. & Middleton, AV. (2013). The associations between parents’ references to their own past substance use and youth’s substance-use beliefs and behaviors: A comparison of Latino and European American youth. Human Communication Research, 39(2), 208-229.

Kam, JA. & Lee, CJ. (2012). Examining the effects of mass media campaign exposure and interpersonal discussions on youth’s drug use: The mediating role of visiting pro-drug websites. Health Communication, 28(5), 473-485.

Fatima A. Muñoz, MD, MPH

Physician and Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Global Public Health
University of California, San Diego 

Fatima A. Muñoz is a Mexican physician and postdoctoral fellow in the UC San Diego Division of Global Public Health, is a native of the San Diego/Tijuana border region. Dr. Muñoz obtained a Medical Degree and a Master’s in Public Health from Universidad Autonoma de Baja California (UABC). She has over 10 years of experience working in outreach community health prevention programs, specifically in underserved populations. She served as Director of a community clinic in Ensenada, B.C. Mexico on behalf of the government for three years, and afterwards joined Universidad Xochicalco School of Medicine as a Medical coordinator for the Community and Research Program for 10 years. During this time, Dr. Muñoz coordinated prevention campaigns on addictions and STIs, including HIV among youths. She also has participated as a clinical advisor in two interventions to reduce risk behaviors among adolescents in junior and high schools in Tijuana, Mexico. Dr. Munoz’s interest in community–based, participatory research, particularly with vulnerable populations, led her to start a Fellowship in HIV/AIDS and associated co–morbidities in the US-Mexico Border region at UC San Diego, and two post-doctoral fellowships since 2008.

Dr. Muñoz’s research focuses on improving the health of Latino populations living in the US-Mexico border region. Specific areas of health research include: HIV and related co-morbidities, HIV-transmitting risk behaviors, and health care delivery systems in the US and Mexico. In 2009, she was awarded with a diversity supplement. These training opportunities have contributed to her development of critical research skills and her growth as an independent researcher. She is currently working on a T32 training grant focused on HIV perceptions and drug use stigma related to HIV and HCV risk behaviors among injection drug users living in the US-Mexico border region.

Kathryn M. Nowotny, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
University of Miami

IRTI Mentor: Alice Cepeda, PhD

Kathryn M. Nowotny (PhD, University of Colorado Boulder) is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Miami and a current Early Career Fellow in the NIDA-funded Lifespan/Brown University Criminal Justice Research Training (CJRT) Program on Substance Use, HIV, and Comorbidities. Dr. Nowotny’s research explores how mass incarceration contributes to health inequalities, the intersections of crime and health behaviors, and the contextual influences on health more broadly for vulnerable populations. These complementary “streams” of research center on understanding the health of disadvantaged and underserved populations using both quantitative and qualitative methods. As an IRTI early career fellow, she was the recipient of a NIH Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellowship and a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant.

Selected Publications:

Nowotny, K. M. (2018). A Social Ecological Framework of Inmate Health: Implications for Black-White Health Disparities. Inequality, Crime, and Health Among African American Males (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, Volume 20), 7-34.

Nowotny, K. M., Cepeda, A., Perdue, T., Negi, N., Valdez, A. (2017). Risk Environments and Substance Use among Mexican Female Sex Work on the U.S.-Mexican Border. Journal of Drug Issues, 47(4): 528-542. 

Cepeda, A. & Nowotny, K.M. (2014). A border context of violence: Mexican female sex workers on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Violence Against Women.

Nowotny, K.M., J. Belknap, S. Lynch, & D. DeHart. (2014). Risk Profiles and Treatment Needs of Women in Jail with Co-occurring Serious Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders. Women & Health.

Nowotny, K.M., Frankeberger, J., & Cepeda, A. (in press). “Research on Drugs and Social Characteristics”. In Henry H. Brownstein (Ed.) Handbook on Drugs and Society, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell.

Cepeda, A., Nowotny, K.M. & Valdez, A. (In Press). Childhood Trauma among Mexican-American Gang Members and Delinquent Youth: A Comparative Study. Child Abuse Review.

Nowotny, K.M., Fackler, J.L., Muschi, G., Vargas, C., Wilson, L., & Kotarba., J.A. (in press). “Established Latino Music Scenes: Sense of Place and the Challenge of Authenticity.” In Sara Horsfall, Meghan Probstfield, and Jan-Martijn Meij (Ed.) Ritual, Authenticity and Globalization: The Role of Music in Social Life, Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press.

Daw, J., Nowotny, K.M., & Boardman, JD. (2013). The changing association of cigarette smoking and drinking by gender in the United States, 1976-2010. Demographic Research, 28 (22), 637-648.

Nowotny, K.M., & Graves, JL. (2013). Substance use and intimate partner violence among White, African American, and Latina women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28(17), 3301-3318.                      


Pilot award NIMHD/NIH Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities (CLaRO). U54. Minority Stress and Sexual Identity across Life Course of Mexican-American Women Who Have Sex with Women and Men.

NIDA. F31. (2014-2017). Examining health disparities: Health and healthcare of incarcerated adults.

National Science Foundation (NSF). Doctoral Dissertation Improvement. Doctoral Dissertation Research: Applying a Social Ecological Framework to Inmate Health. Co-Principal Investigator.

Lizette Ojeda, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology
Texas A&M University

IRTI Mentor: Kurt Organista, PhD

Lizette Ojeda’s career agenda and life mission is to help move the Latino community forward within the broad domains of education, work/career, and mental health. She focuses on the Latino community specifically because they are the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S., yet they lag behind academically, are overrepresented in low-wage labor-intensive jobs, and underuse mental health services. She particularly focuses on people of Mexican descent because at 64%, they are the largest Latino subgroup, yet are not as well off educationally and economically compared to other Latino subgroups such as Puerto Ricans and Cubans. More recently Dr. Ojeda has narrowed her focus onto Mexican American and Mexican immigrant boys and men because they are worse off in the abovementioned domains than their female counterparts and because less is known about Mexican-origin males in general.

Selected Publications:
Ojeda, L., & Liang, C. (2014). Ethnocultural and gendered determinants of coping among Mexican American adolescent men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, [epub ahead of print].

Ojeda, L., & Piña-Watson, B. (2014). Caballerismo may protect against the role of machismo on Mexican day laborers’ self-esteem. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, [epub ahead of print].

Ojeda, L., Castillo, L. G., Rosales Meza, R., & Piña-Watson, B. (2014). Mexican Americans in higher education: Cultural adaptation and marginalization as predictors of  college persistence intentions and life satisfaction. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 13, 3-14.

Piña-Watson, B., Ojeda, L., & Castellon, N., & Dornhecker, M. (2014). Familismo, ethnic identity, and bicultural stress as predictors of Mexican American adolescents’ positive psychological functioning. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 1, 204-217.

Navarro, R. L., Ojeda, L., Schwartz, S., Piña-Watson, B., & Luna, L. L. (2014). Cultural self, personal self: Links with life satisfaction among Mexican American college students. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 2, 1-20.

Ojeda, L., Edwards, L. M., Hardin, E., & Piña-Watson, B. (2014). The role of behavioral and cognitive cultural adaptation on Mexican American college students’ life satisfaction. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 13, 63-74.

Ojeda, L., & Piña-Watson, B. (2013). Day laborer’s life satisfaction: The role of work, health, familismo, spirituality, and discrimination. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19(3), 270-278.

Martha Zapata Roblyer, PhD, MA

Research Scientist, Department of Human Development and Family Science
Oklahoma State University

IRTI Mentor: Richard Cervantes, PhD

Martha Zapata Roblyer works as a research scientist in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Oklahoma State University, in Tulsa. She is the co-investigator of various evaluation research studies of early childhood education and parenting programs being implemented in Oklahoma. These programs, funded by local and national private foundations, aim to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty and improve educational and health outcomes for families and children in the state. Dr. Zapata Roblyer has expertise in quantitative and qualitative research; program design, implementation and evaluation; training on issues of corporate diversity; and cultural competence in the delivery of services to minority populations. Her projects and collaborations have led to publications in peer-reviewed journals, a book chapter on mixed-status families, and numerous presentations at scientific and community events. She holds a PhD in Human Development and Family Science from Oklahoma State University.

Selected Publications:
Grzywacz, J. G., Suerken, C. K., Zapata Roblyer, M. I, .Trejo, G., Arcury, T. A., Ip, E., Lang, W., & Quandt, S. A. (In press). Physical activity of preschool-aged Latino children in farmworker families. American Journal of Health Behavior.

Zapata Roblyer, M. I., & Grzywacz, J. G. (In Press). “’We thought we had a future.’ Adversity and resilience in mixed-status families”. In A. Schueths & J. Lawston (Eds.), In Between the Shadows of Citizenship: Mixed Status Families.

Cox, RB., Jr., Zapata-Roblyer, M., Merten, MJ., Shreffler, KM., & Schwerdtfeger, KL. (2013). Do parent-child acculturation gaps affect early adolescent Latino alcohol use? A study of the probability and extent of use. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 8(1), 4-4.

NIDA. R36. (March 2014-March 2016). Parent immigration status and Latino youth substance use-Drug abuse dissertation research: Epidemiology, prevention, treatment, services, and/or women and sex/gender differences.