India J. Ornelas
University/Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Project Name: Perceived Racism and Cancer Risk Among Latino Immigrant Men
Research Interests: Latino health, Cancer prevention and control, Social determinants of health
Mentor: Eugenia Eng, Dr.P.H.
My goal of becoming an academic researcher focused on Latino health issues has been shaped by my diverse educational and work experiences. I received my undergraduate degree at Brown University, where I concentrated in Health and Society. After graduating, I served as a VISTA volunteer working on Latino health issues in a local health department in Oregon. I then pursued a Master's degree in Public Health at the University of Washington, where I continued to focus on the racial and ethnic health disparities. After completing my M.P.H., I worked as a Public Health Prevention Specialist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Later, I managed the planning of a National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded partnership between the UCSD Moores Cancer Center and San Diego State University. Through these experiences, I learned how little research had been done to identify the underlying causes of Latino health disparities and decided to pursue a doctoral degree.
Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Education and Health Behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My doctoral dissertation research, which is funded by a NRSA from NCI, focuses on the influence of perceived racism on tobacco and alcohol use among Latino immigrant men.
After finishing my doctoral program, I hope to obtain a faculty position in a School of Public Health, where I can both train the next generation of Latino health researchers and continue my own research with Latino communities.