Mariana Sanchez

Mariana Sanchez

Associate Professor, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention; Program Director, FIU-Health Disparities Initiative; Research Associate, Center for Research on US Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA)

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention/CRUSADA



Alcohol, mental health, stress and coping, culture, Latino/a immigrants, health disparities


Dr. Mariana Sanchez has over 20 years of experience in conducting longitudinal and community-based health disparity research across the lifespan including youth, emerging adults, and adults. Her program of research seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the sociocultural risk and protective factors that influence health behaviors, with an emphasis on substance use and its related consequences among Latino/a populations.

The bulk of her research has focused on examining how sociocultural determinants influence substance use and mental health among vulnerable Latino/a subgroups including recent immigrants, unauthorized immigrants, and farm workers. Dr. Sanchez has been an investigator on five National Institutes of Health-funded studies. She is currently a co-principal investigator of a mixed-methods study funded by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism aimed at understanding the environmental, demographic, and sociocultural factors influencing drinking and driving trajectories among recent Latino/a immigrants.

She also serves as a co-investigator on the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD Study®). The ABCD study is a groundbreaking investigation funded by multiple Institutes of the National Institutes of Health that examines the biological and behavioral trajectories of more than 11,000 children across 21 sites, beginning at ages 9-10 through adolescence into early adulthood. In this capacity, she provides guidance on cultural determinants of health among youth.

Dr. Sanchez is also the Program Director for FIU’s Doctoral Program in Public Health with a Concentration in Health Disparities. The goal of this concentration is to train doctoral students in conducting health disparities research with a focus on the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean region. Ultimately, she aspires that knowledge gained from her research informs the development of culturally relevant evidence-based interventions that target identified vulnerability factors and leverage key protective factors in preventing substance misuse and its related consequences among Latino/a immigrants and other underrepresented populations.


  • Florida International University, Doctorate of Philosophy in Social Welfare
  • Florida International University, Master of Social Work
  • Florida International University, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology


PubMed Bibliography:

Sanchez, M., Dillon, F. R., Concha, M., & De La Rosa, M. (2015). The Impact of Religious Coping on the Acculturative Stress and Alcohol Use of Recent Latino Immigrants. Journal of Religion and Health, 54(6), 1986–2004.

Sanchez, M., Romano, E., Dawson, C., Huang, H., Sneij, A., Cyrus, E., Rojas, P., Cano, M. Á., Brook, J., & De La Rosa, M. (2016). Drinking and Driving among Recent Latino Immigrants: The Impact of Neighborhoods and Social Support. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(11), 1055.

Sanchez, M., Diez, S., Fava, N. M., Cyrus, E., Ravelo, G., Rojas, P., Li, T., Cano, M. A., & De La Rosa, M. (2019). Immigration Stress among Recent Latino Immigrants: The Protective Role of Social Support and Religious Social Capital. Social Work in Public Health, 34(4), 279–292.

Fava, N. M., Sanchez, M., Wuyke, G., Diez-Morel, S., Vazquez, V., Ravelo, G. J., Villalba, K., & Rojas, P. (2020). Associations Between Sexual Trauma and Sexual Relationship Power Among Latina Immigrant Farmworkers: The Moderating Role of Gender Norms. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 33(6), 1093–1101.

De La Rosa, M., Sanchez, M., Wang, W., Angel Cano, M., & Rojas, P. (2020). Alcohol use trajectories of adult Latinx immigrants during their first decade in the United States. Addictive Behaviors, 106, 106352.

Sanchez, M., Romano, E., Wang, W., Barton, A., Ali, B., Villalba, K., & Westick, A. (2021). Pre- and post-immigration factors associated with cigarette use among young adult recent Latinx immigrants during their initial year in the U.S. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1–10. Advance online publication.

Sanchez, M., Hidalgo, B., Rosario, A., Artiles, L., Stewart, A. L., & Nápoles, A. M. (2021). Applying Self‐report Measures in Minority Health and Health Disparities Research. In I. Dankwa-Mullen, E.J. Perez-Stable, K.L.Gardner, X. Zhang & A.M. Rosario (Eds.), The Science of Health Disparities Research (pp. 153-169). 10.1002/9781119374855

Amaro, H., Sanchez, M., Bautista, T., & Cox, R. (2021). Social vulnerabilities for substance use: Stressors, socially toxic environments, and discrimination and racism. Neuropharmacology, 188, 108518.

Balagopal, G., Davidson, S., Gill, S., Barengo, N., De La Rosa, M., & Sanchez, M. (2021). The impact of cultural stress and gender norms on alcohol use severity among Latino immigrant men. Ethnicity & Health, 1–19.

Vazquez, V., Rojas, P., Cano, M. Á., De La Rosa, M., Romano, E., & Sanchez, M. (2021). Depressive symptoms among recent Latinx immigrants in South Florida: The role of premigration trauma and stress, postimmigration stress, and gender. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 10.1002/jts.22768. Advance online publication.

Gonzalez, R., Thompson, E. L., Sanchez, M., Morris, A., Gonzalez, M. R., Feldstein Ewing, S. W., Mason, M. J., Arroyo, J., Howlett, K., Tapert, S. F., & Zucker, R. A. (2021). An update on the assessment of culture and environment in the ABCD Study®: Emerging literature and protocol updates over three measurement waves. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 52, 101021.