Theresa Cruz, Ph.D., is an epidemiologist and research associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, and serves as Deputy Director of the UNM Prevention Research Center. She has 20 years of experience in public health, study design, data collection and analysis, evaluation and use of mixed method research. She is currently involved in several prevention research and evaluation projects on topics including healthy eating and active living and sexual violence prevention. Dr. Cruz received a Doctorate of Philosophy in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina ? Chapel Hill.
My research interests are in understanding the causal mechanisms involved in injury and violence and developing and evaluating community and clinic-based prevention strategies. Injury problems of interest include sexual violence and unintentional poisoning, specifically prescription drug overdose. I am also interested in advancing physical activity and studying the effects of interventions on physical activity and related disease outcomes. I am concerned with the disproportionate risks faced by racial and ethnic minorities and low-income families. I am also motivated by cross-cutting issues including surveillance, rural disparities, and research in under-represented populations, principally Hispanics and American Indians. The use of policy and environmental approaches are of particular interest. My current research focuses on primary prevention of sexual violence; evaluation of healthy eating interventions: and, translation of research into practice around the implementation of the CDC's community guide recommendations promoting physical activity.