Juan Peña is a first-generation college student of Mexican descent and a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at the University of New Mexico, where he works under the mentorship of Dr. Steven Verney. Juan's primary research interests revolve around three interrelated areas. One area focuses on risk factors that contribute to physical and mental health disparities among Latinos, especially
immigrants. A second area of interest focuses on identifying social and cultural predictors of attitudes towards immigrants; and attitudes of immigrants toward health-related behaviors and health conditions. A third area of research is focused on community-based participatory research (CBPR) and other
participatory approaches to address health and social equity, including expanding evidence-based and culturally appropriate mental health care access and utilization among Spanish-speaking populations. Juan's long-term career aspirations are to acquire a tenure track position at a major research institution,
where he can continue mentoring students from underrepresented backgrounds; develop a long-term research agenda on understanding the risk and protective pathways for the physical and mental health of diverse populations, with a focus on Latino immigrants; and use his research to inform policy decisions.