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2020 Scholars

Karen Flórez, DrPH, MPH


Assistant Professor 
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

Karen Flórez’s training and research experiences are directly related to her deep-rooted interest in the sociocultural determinants of health. She first began exploring the intersection between culture and health as an undergraduate medical anthropology student, when she focused on understanding medical systems and health equity among disadvantaged populations. Upon graduation, she worked for a nonprofit research firm to investigate the barriers that impeded low-income Latino women from receiving preventive cancer screening exams, an experience that solidified her commitment to public health and served as a catalyst for her decision to pursue research at the graduate level. She further developed her interest in the sociocultural determinants of health behaviors at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health through the training she received in Department of Sociomedical Sciences. Currently, she is PI of an NIH-funded R21 exploring the influence of the personal social networks of English-dominant and Spanish-dominant Mexican American adults on diabetes-related outcomes such as dietary intake, physical activity, and weight. The study will quantitatively characterize the personal networks across the acculturation spectrum in the sample, test the network characteristics that are associated with diet, physical activity, diabetes, and obesity; and qualitatively explore the values and norms that influence diabetes-related behaviors. Flórez is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.