Current Research

Affective Influences on Adolescent Sexual Risk Behavior: Couple & Family Contexts

National Institute of Child Health and Development
Grant No. 1R01HD064734-01
Duration of the study: 09/2010 – 06/2015

The project is studying Latino and African American adolescents, their parents and their romantic partners in order to gain a better understanding of the relevant dynamics surrounding adolescent sexual risk behavior. The aim of the research is to gain insight into the bases of adolescent sexual risk behavior by taking into account both the family contexts and the couple contexts that affect sexual risk behavior. This knowledge can then be used to inform the design of parent-based prevention interventions to address risk behavior, as well as other forms of intervention, such as school-based programs. 

Reducing Sexual Risk Behavior: A Clinic Based Approach

National Institute of Child Health and Development
Grant No. 1R01HD066159-01
Duration of the study: 7/2010 – 6/2015

The study seeks to test and refine a parent-based intervention, Families Talking Together (FTT), designed to prevent adolescent sexual risk behavior in Latino and African American inner city populations. The intervention uses a novel outreach approach relative to extant parent-based interventions. Specifically, the intervention takes place in a primary healthcare clinic and will be coordinated through allied health professionals when physicians see adolescents for their annual physical examinations. The overall goal of the clinic-based FTT research program is to further develop and evaluate a practical, effective, and cost-efficient parent intervention that can be used in healthcare settings that will reach large numbers of parents and prevent and/or reduce future adolescent sexual risk behavior.

Underage Drinking in Latino Youth

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Grant No. 5R01AA016212
Duration of study: 2009-2014

The present research is a longitudinal study of young Latinos and their mothers. The primary aim of the proposed research is to examine how individual, cultural, and parental/familial factors contribute to drinking behavior among Latino youth. Specifically, we seek to understand the emergence of drinking activity during two crucial transitional periods (from grades 7 to 8 and then from grades 8 to 9).

HIV Transmission and Illicit Drug Use in a Caribbean Tourism Area

University Global Public Health Research Challenge Fund
Duration of study: 2011-2012

The primary aim of this project is to describe the role of illicit drug use in a tourism area of the Dominican Republic (D.R.). The proposed research is significant in that it seeks to examine an important risk factor for HIV transmission- illicit drug use, which has been neglected by current HIV prevention science efforts in the Caribbean.  Results from this study will be used to generate preliminary data related to drug use and how drug use impacts HIV transmission and lead to the development of a future HIV-prevention intervention targeted for drug users in tourism areas of the D.R.

Family and Cultural Influences on Sex among Latino Youth

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Grant No. DP000175-01
Duration of study:  2005 – 2011

The primary aim of the present research is to examine factors associated with sexual risk taking in Latino youth. The project seeks to examine social, familial, and cultural forces that impact adolescent sexual decision-making among a sample of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican youth.

Network Determinants of Risk among Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men

National Institute of Mental Health
Grant No. 1RC1MH088636-01 – Challenge Grant in Health and Sciences Research
Duration of study: 2009 – 2011

The research study aims to examine the familial and social network factors of drug use and sexual risk behavior among formerly incarcerated Latino men (FILM) in order to develop a network-based intervention to reduce HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

High-Use Alcohol Venues: Tourism, Sex Work and HIV in the Dominican Republic

National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism           
Grant No. 1R21AA018078-01   
Duration of study:  2008 – 2011

The primary aim is to examine factors associated with tourism, alcohol use and HIV-related sexual behaviors in Sosúa, a major international tourist destination in the Dominican Republic affected by high rates of alcohol and drug use, transactional sex and population mixing between native Dominicans and tourists.