Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas
Luz Maria Garcini, PhD, MPH

Luz Maria Garcini, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences
Rice University

Faculty Scholar, Center for the United States and Mexico, Baker Institute

Dr. Luz Maria Garcini is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Rice University and a faculty scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. She is also an affiliate faculty at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Population Research Center at the University of Texas Austin. Dr. Garcini obtained her doctoral degree in clinical health psychology from San Diego State University/University of California San Diego (SDSU/UCSD) and a combined MPH with concentration in epidemiology from SDSU Graduate School of Public Health. She holds two additional master’s degrees in psychology.  

Dr. Garcini’s research, community, advocacy and policy work focuses on identifying, understanding, and addressing the health needs of historically marginalized communities from a biobehavioral and sociocultural perspective. Using a socioecological approach and a social determinants of health lens, her interdisciplinary research is aimed at informing population health by identifying mechanisms of risk and resilience in the face of social disadvantage and life adversity. In using community-engaged science, biomarkers in the field, and a wide range of epidemiological and mixed-methodologies to the study of historically marginalized populations, her goal is to contribute to health equity by increasing inclusivity and diversity in science.

Dr. Garcini’s contributions to equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice are evident in her track record of publications, presentations, awards received, and funding allocated. Her work and advocacy efforts have received widespread media coverage in avenues such as Univision, Telemundo, CBS, Medical News Today, U.S. News & World Report, MSN, Global News Report, and the Oprah’s Book Club, among others.

Dr. Garcini’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the health and social sciences is evident through her service and mentoring endeavors across settings and organizations. Currently, she serves as the representative of the National Latinx Psychological Association to the Council of Representatives for the American Psychological Association (APA) and as a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board to the APA Council. She is a strong and committed advocate to increase diversity in science, including opening avenues for increased retention and representation of students and professionals from underrepresented backgrounds. Dr. Garcini has an extensive record of mentoring students from diverse backgrounds and across the fields of psychology, medicine, nursing, public health, and marketing.

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