2018 Speakers

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Linda Penaloza
Session #60

Linda J. Peñaloza, PhD, is Research Associate Professor in Pediatrics, in the Division of Prevention &
Population Sciences. She received her doctorate degree in Mass Communication from the University of
Wisconsin – Madison, and has BA and MA degrees in Sociology. Since 2003, Dr. Peñaloza has been
principal investigator on several important research and evaluation projects in New Mexico, including
coordinating the data collection, data analysis, and reporting for the New Mexico Youth Risk and
Resiliency Survey (NM-YRRS) among hundreds of middle schools and high schools in New Mexico. A new
research program is taking the NM-YRRS data back to the students, working with them to interpret it,
and having the students design action plans to address the areas that they see as being of greatest
concern.

Dr. Peñaloza’s research interests largely focus on adolescent health issues – those behaviors that
adolescents engage in that risk their health or life: substance use; violence and unintentional injury;
tobacco use; alcohol use; sexual behaviors that can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, such as
HIV/AIDs, or pregnancy; unhealthy nutrition; and insufficient physical activity. She is also active in
addressing health issues surrounding the LGBT community, both adult and adolescent, including
assessing school climates for safe and supportive environments for its most vulnerable populations.