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Alex Ortega, PhD

Alex Ortega

Professor of Health Policy and Chair
Health Management and Policy, Center for Population Health and Community Impact
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BA, Economics, University of New Mexico; MPH, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Boston University; PhD, Epidemiologic Science, University of Michigan


Alex Ortega is Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy and Director of the Center for Population Health and Community Impact in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. His first five years as a faculty member were at Yale University, where he was an Assistant Professor of Health Policy. He then spent a year as an Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Promotion at The Ohio State University and the next 11 years as a Professor of Health Policy at UCLA. At UCLA, he also served as the Director of the Institute for Social Research, Director of the Center for Population Health and Health Disparities, and Associate Director of the Chicano Studies Research Center. He has been a Visiting Professor at Columbia University, a Senior Scholar In-Residence at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ortega is internationally recognized as a public health scholar who specializes in the health of Latino children and families in the U.S. He has conducted studies in the areas of pediatric asthma treatment and management disparities, access to primary care, mental health care access, psychiatric epidemiology, and community-engaged health interventions to reduce chronic disease risk in a variety of sites and contexts, including Puerto Rico, New England, and Southern California. He is most recognized for his community intervention work in East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights, where he and his colleagues worked to reduce heart disease risk in these communities by transforming the physical health environment.

Research Interests

  • Epidemiological methods in health services research
  • Health needs of Latino children and families
  • Health disparities intervention research
  • Youth engagement in community interventions


Kuo AA, Sharif MZ, Albert SL, Glik D, Prelip ML, McCarthy WM, Roberts C, Belin T, Ortega AN. Training the next generation of Latino health researchers: A multi-level, transdisciplinary, community-engaged approach. Health Promotion Practice, in press. PMC Journal: In process.

Ortega AN, McKenna RM, Langellier BA, Alcala HE, Roby DH. Experiences in care by parental citizenship and language use among Latino children in California. Academic Pediatrics, in press. PMC: No federal funds for this study.

Alcalá HE, Chen J, Langellier BA, Roby DH,Ortega AN. The impact of the Affordable Care Act on health care access and utilization among Latinos. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 2017;30:52-62. PMC Journal: In process.

Ortega AN, Albert SL, Chan-Golston AM, Langellier BA, Glik DC, Belin TR, Garcia RE, Brookmeyer R, Sharif MZ, Prelip ML. Substantial improvements not seen in health behaviors following corner store conversions in two Latino food swamps. BMC Public Health, 2016;16:389. PMCID: PMC4864998.

Chen J, Vargas Bustamante A, Mortensen K, Ortega AN. Racial and ethnic disparities in health care access and utilization under the Affordable Care Act. Medical Care, 2016;54(2):140-146. PMCID: PMC4711386.

Alcalá HE, Albert SL, Roby DH, Beckerman J, Champagne P, Brookmeyer R, Prelip ML, Glik DC, Inkelas M, Garcia RE, Ortega AN. Access to care and cardiovascular disease prevention: a cross-sectional study in two Latino communities, Medicine, 2015;94(34):e1441. PMCID: PMC4602927.

Ortega AN, Rodriguez HP, Vargas Bustamante A. Policy dilemmas in Latino health care and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Annual Review of Public Health, 2015;36:525-44. PMCID: PMC4890541.

Vargas Bustamante A, Fang H, Garza J, Carter-Pokras O, Wallace SP, Rizzo JA, Ortega AN. Variations in healthcare access and utilization among Mexican immigrants: the role of documentation status. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 2012;14:146-155. PMCID: PMC3256312

Vargas-Bustamante A, Chen J, Rodriguez HP, Rizzo JA, Ortega AN. Use of preventive care services among Latino subgroups: How much are disparities attributable to the health system? American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2010;38:610-619. PMC: No federal funds for this study.

Ortega AN
, Fang H, Perez VH, Rizzo JA, Carter-Pokras O, Wallace SP, Gelberg L. Health care access, use of services, and experiences among undocumented Mexicans and other Latinos. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007;167(21):2354-2360.

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