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Assistant Professor

Contact Info

Research Interests

youth; adolescent; mental health disparities; mental health equity; behavioral health equity; racism; discrimination; immigrant health; Latinx health; Latino health; suicide prevention; mixed methods; implementation science; family-centered care; trauma-informed care; multilevel interventions
Experiences & Accomplishments
University of Texas at Austin
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Harvard University
Kiara Alvarez, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a licensed psychologist and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her work focuses on mental health equity for children, adolescents, and young adults. She has particular interests in the prevention of suicidal behavior; the integration of behavioral health care across clinical, school, and community settings; and the mental health and well-being of Latinx and immigrant youth and their families. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the William T. Grant Foundation.

Dr. Alvarez completed her psychology internship training at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and received her doctorate from the APA-accredited School Psychology program at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins, she was a faculty member in the Disparities Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She holds an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Literature from Harvard University. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Prevention Research and the steering committee of the Youth Suicide Research Consortium.
Honors & Awards
Children’s Mental Health Policy Research Fellow, NYU IDEAS Center and the Implementation Research Institute (2020-2022)

Mixed Methods Research Training Program for the Health Sciences Scholar, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2018-2019)

Child Intervention, Prevention, and Services (CHIPS) Fellow, CHIPS Interdisciplinary Training Consortium (2015-2016)

Benjamin & Dorothy Fruchter Centennial Award for Excellence in Educational Psychology Research at the Doctoral Level, University of Texas at Austin (2015)

HRSA Graduate Psychology Education Program Trainee, Integrated Health Care Services for Underserved Children and Families, University of Texas at Austin (2010-2012)

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Predoctoral Fellowship, American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program (2008-2011)
Select Publications
Selected publications across a range of projects and methodologies:
  • Alvarez K, Polanco-Roman L, Samuel Breslow A, Molock S. Structural Racism and Suicide Prevention for Ethnoracially Minoritized Youth: A Conceptual Framework and Illustration Across Systems. Am J Psychiatry. 2022 Jun;179(6):422-433. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.21101001.
  • Alvarez K, Cervantes PE, Nelson KL, Seag DEM, Horwitz SM, Hoagwood KE. Review: Structural Racism, Children's Mental Health Service Systems, and Recommendations for Policy and Practice Change. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2022 Sep;61(9):1087-1105. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2021.12.006.
  • NeMoyer, A., Alvarez, K., Mukthineni, R., Tendulkar, S., & Alegría, M. Addressing youth-focused research questions in a community context: Collecting and integrating mixed methods data at multiple ecological levels with the photostories project. J Mix Methods Res, 2021, 15(4), 507-525.
  • Alvarez K, Fillbrunn M, Green JG, Jackson JS, Kessler RC, McLaughlin KA, Sadikova E, Sampson NA, Alegría M. Race/ethnicity, nativity, and lifetime risk of mental disorders in US adults. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2019 May;54(5):553-565. doi: 10.1007/s00127-018-1644-5.
  • Alvarez K, Wang Y, Alegria M, Ault-Brutus A, Ramanayake N, Yeh YH, Jeffries JR, Shrout PE. Psychometrics of shared decision making and communication as patient centered measures for two language groups. Psychol Assess. 2016 Sep;28(9):1074-86. doi: 10.1037/pas0000344.