Stempel researcher receives national recognition

Mario De La Rosa received a national award for his research on drug abuse.

Mario De La Rosa received a national award for his research on drug abuse.

Mario De La Rosa, professor of social work in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, recently received the “National Award of Excellence in Research by a Senior Investigator” from the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse. The National Hispanic Science Network (NHSN), in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), works to make significant advances in the field of drug abuse research.

“The Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work is immensely proud of Dr. Mario De La Rosa’s work as director of the Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) and the Center for Substance Use and HIV/AIDS Research on Latinos in the United States (C-SALUD). He has made and is continuing to make important contributions to the science of disease prevention and drug abuse. Dr. De La Rosa’s award is presented to an investigator of outstanding merit for scientific contribution and publication in the field of drug abuse. This award is well deserved and his colleagues in the College and at FIU congratulate him,” says Mark Williams, acting dean of Stempel.

De La Rosa, who has been with FIU since 1999, says he is “both humbled and honored to be recognized by my peers as one of only a handful of scholars to have received such an award from one the most prestigious networks of Hispanic behavioral and biomedical scientists in the country.”

De La Rosa founded CRUSADA and C-SALUD in 2007 to help reduce, educate, prevent, and eventually eliminate HIV and substance abuse health disparities affecting Latino minorities in the U.S., in particular among Latinos residing in Miami-Dade County.

In 2012, the center received a renewal of the P-20 funding for $5.8 million.


Cube photo: CC BY 2.0 Kiran Foster.

New studies underway at CRUSADA include a community and evidence-based HIV intervention study in collaboration with MUJER, a community-based agency that provides HIV, substance, and domestic violence counseling and help to Latina women living in the Homestead area. “The upcoming intervention’s primary purpose is to reduce HIV and substance abuse health disparities among the more than 200 Latina women who will be participating in the intervention,” says De La Rosa. This project is sponsored by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).

Additionally, CRUSADA, with the support of the National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR), is in the process of finalizing the collection of data on a study conducted since 2004 on 148 biological mother-daughter dyads. Preliminary analysis of data from the study suggests a reduction in substance abuse over the years among the women participating in the study. Several papers detailing the most significant findings of the mother–daughter dyads will be submitted in the near future for publication to peer review journals.

And in more CRUSADA news, the American Psychological Association’s Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) has chosen to feature a CRUSADA publication, “Acculturative Stress and Diminishing Family Cohesion Among Recent Latino Immigrants (2012),” in its Ethnicity and Health in America Series: The Shared Impact of Immigration and Acculturative Stress.