Assistant Professor of Social Work
PhD, University of Michigan
Focus: Social determinants of health and mental health care, sleep, cardiovascular health disparities, and Latino immigrant health.
Research: Use quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how understudied aspects of the migration, socioeconomic, and psychosocial context contribute in unique ways to mental health, sleep, and cardiovascular health risk behaviors and outcomes.
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Dr. Carmela Alcántara is an Assistant Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work and a Faculty Affiliate of the Social Intervention Group. She is a clinical psychologist with postdoctoral training in public health and behavioral medicine. Her interdisciplinary program of research integrates frameworks and methodologies from psychology, public health, social work, and medicine to understand how individual-level contextual factors affect health, particularly in racial/ethnic and immigrant communities. Dr. Alcántara is committed to translating epidemiological findings on context and health to the development of behavioral interventions to reduce disparities in mental health care and cardiovascular behavioral risk factors, including sleep. Her work has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University, and the Office of the Provost at Columbia University.
Her current research projects examine:
- Sleep, self-regulation, and health in Latinos, as well as its social determinants, using objective measures and ecological momentary assessment
- Cultural understandings of sleep, anxiety, and health, particularly in the context of migration
- Facilitators and barriers to the use of evidence-based psychological interventions in racial/ethnic and immigrant communities
Before coming to the School of Social Work in July 2015, Dr. Alcántara was an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Alcántara received her BA in Psychology and Sociology with a concentration in Latina/o Studies from Cornell University (magna cum laude), and her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan. Dr. Alcántara completed a full-time APA accredited clinical internship at New York University-Bellevue Hospital Center in New York, and was a Kellogg Health Scholars Program postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.