Faculty honored at National Hispanic Science Network Conference

At the 2019 National Hispanic Science Network conference, two faculty members from FIU’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work were honored for their respective work and research.

Dr. Diana Sheehan, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, received the National Award of Excellence in Research by a New Investigator for her work researching HIV disparities among Latinos.

“My ethnic background definitely contributed to my choice of studying Latinos and health disparities. I previously worked in public health and I was able to see both personally and professionally the disparities in access to care among Latinos,” said Sheehan. “Once I started researching HIV, I saw that there were disparities among Latinos that weren’t really being recognized and I wanted to identify individual groups or subgroups of Latinos that were at higher risk to then be able to build intervention strategies.”

Dr. Sabrina Sales Martinez, assistant professor in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, was honored with National Award of Excellence for Best Poster by a New Investigator. Her poster looked at the psychosocial factors of food insecurity in the Miami Adult Studies on HIV (MASH) cohort – how it is associated with depressive symptoms and HIV disease progression.

“What I found was -even accounting for age, sex, education, income, household size, race and ethnicity- food insecurity still remained significantly associated with mild to major depressive symptoms,” said Sales Martinez. “I also looked at depressive symptoms and their relationship with HIV disease progression parameters, and saw that those with major depressive symptoms were at higher risk for a lower immune response.”

In total, nine members of the college attended the conference, which featured Distinguished University Professor Dr. Hortensia Amaro as the featured plenary speaker.