School of Public Health

Cristina Barroso, DrPH, MPH, appointed founding chair of the Health, Behavior, and Society Department

Cristina Barroso


The UT School of Public Health San Antonio is happy to announce the appointment of Cristina Barroso, DrPH, MPH, as the founding chair of the department of Health, Behavior and Society. 

Dr. Barroso has a Master of Public Health specializing in Health Promotion and Health Education and a Doctor of Public Health with a specialty in Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. Barroso’s most recent role was an associate professor with tenure at The University of Tennessee College of Nursing. She was previously on faculty at the University of Tennessee College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences in the Department of Public Health, Arizona State University’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s School of Public Health Brownsville Regional Campus. Additionally, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

A dedicated educator, Barroso's primary teaching focus lies in qualitative research methods. As a health equity researcher, her work centers on childhood obesity, healthy living, body image and e-cigarette use, examining the intersection with policy, systems and the environment. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach and mixed methods, including community-based participatory approaches, Barroso seeks to unravel the mechanisms influencing chronic disease onset and progression among underserved populations, identify intervention targets and formulate evidence-based strategies to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity.

Expressing her dedication, Barroso stated, "My scholarship centers on the lives of underserved individuals, prioritizing the elimination of health disparities through incremental and impactful social, environmental and policy changes. The overarching goal is to create a more equitable physical and social environment, enabling all populations to thrive in their communities ."

The Health, Behavior, and Society department, under Barroso's leadership, emphasizes health priorities in South Texas and the majority-minority Hispanic city of San Antonio. Employing a health equity lens, the department focuses on addressing health disparities in cancer, behavioral health, substance use, diabetes and metabolic disorders, sexual health and infectious diseases. The department encourages scholarly and programmatic activities related to structural and social determinants of health, community-based participatory research, implementation science, structural interventions, evaluation and health communication.

We are grateful to Helen Hazuda, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus in the Department of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine for chairing the search for the School of Public Health’s inaugural department chairs, and the members of the search advisory committee for conducting a thoughtful and comprehensive search for this pivotal position for the school. 

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