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El Mundo Boston 2018.

ANDREA LÓPEZ-CEPERO

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Age: 30

Heritage: Puerto Rican

 

Notable Accomplishments:

  • American Society for Nutrition, two-time Finalist Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Competition.

  • American Society for Nutrition, Community and Public Health RIS, Outstanding Young Scientist Award.

  • University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, Distinguished Student in Academic Excellence and Leadership in Research.

 

Dr. Andrea López-Cepero was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She completed her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and a master'sdegree in Nutrition at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). She then moved to Massachusetts to complete a PhD in Clinical and Population Health Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. López-Cepero is currently a postdoctoral researcher in Nutrition at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.  

 

As a Latina in population health research, Dr. López-Cepero is committed to contribute to the Latinx community through her research. Her work focuses on identifying stress and nutrition-related factors influencing chronic diseases in Latinxs, to help reduce health disparities. Her research portfolio includes important studies that discuss the poor diet quality of Puerto Ricans on the Island and in Massachusetts, underscoring the importance of studying and targeting behavioral factors to improve health disparities of all Puerto Ricans. She has also done pioneering work that documents how poor diet, weight gain and stress may increase risk of chronic diseases in Puerto Ricans in Massachusetts. In parallel, she has also conducted groundbreaking research on emotional eating in Latinxs that have concluded that emotional eating is linked withfood insecurity, overeating, and chronic diseases in this ethnic group. Overall, her work has generated scientific knowledge on stress and nutrition-related causes of health disparities in Latinxs and has shed light into novel interventions targets that can be used to improve Latinx health.

 

As a minority researcher in science, Dr. López-Cepero acknowledges the importance of having strong Latina role models for a successful career. She credits the success of her research career to several mentors: Dr. Milagros Rosal (PhD advisor), Dr. Cristina Palacios (master’s advisor), Dr. Emma Fernandez (UPR advisor) and Dr. Josiemer Mattei (postdoctoral advisor). As a result of this, she is committed to mentor Latinxs interested in health disparities research. Moving forward, Dr. López-Cepero plans to continue to conduct new research that contributes to the health of her Latinx community. Furthermore, she hopes to continue to motivate and mentor students of minority backgrounds to increase diversity and Latinx representation in research.