Population Health

India Ornelas

India-OrnelasIndia Ornelas
Assistant professor of health services, School of Public Health
Visit Dr. Ornelas’ faculty page to learn more about her professional background.

What is the area of focus for your work/research?
My research focuses on understanding how social and cultural factors influence the health of vulnerable populations. I work with communities to develop and test interventions to promote health. Most of my work is in the areas of mental health, substance use and cancer prevention. In terms of populations, I work primarily in Latino immigrant communities, however, I also have experience working with American Indian and refugee communities.

How do you see your own work/research contributing to better population health outcomes?
My work helps identify the mechanisms by which social and cultural determinants influence the health of populations. Once we understand these pathways, we can create interventions to prevent or address health disparities. I also aim to develop effective interventions that are also culturally relevant and sustainable. Part of my work is also to teach students about social determinants of health, health disparities, and how to effectively engage with communities to address health issues, so that they can also promote population health in their careers.

What do you hope can be accomplished through this initiative?
I hope that by working across disciplines we can identify more innovative and effective strategies to improving population health. I also hope that we can train the next generation of innovators to solve complex population health problems.