Dr. Joanna L. Barreras’ research focuses on understanding and addressing health and mental health disparities among Latinos. Joanna is particularly interested in the role of Latino cultural factors, such as familism, fatalism, family cultural conflict, acculturation, and acculturative stress, with regard to wellbeing and healthcare service utilization. Through her research, Joanna aims to develop culturally grounded policies and interventions to increase health and mental health service utilization.
Ms. Barreras is well-trained in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. In collaboration with faculty at UCLA, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the RAND Corporation, and Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Research & Evaluation, Ms. Barreras has worked on projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)— including PI and Co-I roles. Joanna has presented her work at interdisciplinary academic conferences, has taught graduate and undergraduate classes at UCLA and California State University Los Angeles, and has publications in high impact journals.
Joanna is currently the Associate Director of Research and Evaluation at Bienestar Human Services, Inc., a community-based organization that focuses on identifying and addressing health issues faced by Latino sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations. Drawing upon 10 years of research experience on Latino health and mental health disparities, five of which include research with the SGM communities and HIV prevention and intervention. Further, Joanna has contributed to several community-based initiatives and professional undertakings that address the needs of disenfranchised and marginalized groups.
Through her research, Joanna aims to develop interventions to improve the well-being of diverse minority communities. Joanna is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach (BA in Psychology) and California State University, Los Angeles (MSW). She was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California and is fluent in Spanish.