Dr. López is a public health researcher who uses her clinical practice skills to further advance the field of sexual health using public health and social work theories and frameworks.
To date, she has worked to integrate her clinical expertise as a licensed social worker in community mental health settings and substance use treatment with the research design and methodology for analyzing, interpreting, and disseminating data across a myriad of settings and populations. By building on this foundation, Dr. López has focused on addressing gaps in research and clinical practices in the areas of sexual and gender minority (SGM) health, racial disparities, HIV care, and women’s health and its relationship to mental and physical health outcomes. She is compelled to understand multilevel barriers of marginalized communities related to both mental health and substance use. Her goal is to engage and provide a platform for these populations through practice, research and community collaboration.
To that end, her focus is to reduce health disparities affecting SGM populations by understanding the mechanisms through which different types of trauma/minority stress impact mental health and substance use. She is also passionate about elucidating the needs of women of color. Specifically, women of color living with HIV who are marginalized and often underserved within the HIV care system. She believes that with this research, she will be able to develop and test interventions, in collaboration with community partners, to reduce disparities and inform clinical practice. She is committed to public health interventions and clinical care by way of behavioral and social science research, with a priority to maximize translation into community.