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Penaloza, Linda Associate Professor

Positions

Linda J. Peñaloza, PhD, is Research Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico’s Division of Prevention & Population Sciences. She received her doctorate degree in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and has BA and MA degrees in Sociology.  Dr. Peñaloza is currently principal investigator on several important research and evaluation projects in New Mexico, including coordinating the data collection, data analysis, and reporting for the New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (NM-YRRS) among middle schools and high schools in all of New Mexico’s eighty-nine public school districts, selected Bureau of Indian Education schools and state-chartered charter schools. A new research program is taking the NM-YRRS data back to the students, working with them to interpret it, and having the students design action plans to address the areas that they see as being of greatest concern.

selected publications

presentations

research overview

  • Dr. Peñaloza’s research interests largely focus on adolescent health issues, tobacco, alcohol and other substance use and abuse. She has conducted survey research projects involving the risky behaviors of youth for over 20 years, initially at the Wisconsin Survey Research Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, and now at the UNM Prevention Research Center. Youth risk behaviors include those behaviors that adolescents engage in that risk their health or life: substance use; violence and unintentional injury; tobacco use; alcohol use; sexual behaviors that can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDs, or pregnancy; unhealthy nutrition; and insufficient physical activity. Beyond the risky behaviors, this research covers protective factors that impact adolescent exposure and resiliency to these risky actions. A significant portion of this research includes disseminating the results to a wide range of audiences who are interested in school health and adolescent health issues. She helped conduct in-person and webinar workshops and presentations to school boards, school staff, public health professionals, and community members about the statewide and county data available to them, and to work with them in identifying ways to use these data for developing interventions, writing grants, and formulating new policies. She is responsible for reports and presentations provided to a wide range of audiences, and these reports are used by thousands of individuals around the state.