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Elizabeth (Libby) Salerno Valdez, PhD, MPH

Elizabeth Valdez headshot

Assistant Professor
Community Health and Prevention
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PhD, Health Behavior Health Promotion, University of Arizona
MPH, MPH Health Behavior Health Promotion, University of Arizona
BA, Latin American Studies, University of Arizona


Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Salerno Valdez is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health & Prevention. Her research program fosters ethical and mutually beneficial academic-community partnerships using participatory, social justice-oriented approaches to examine the structural factors that influence health among historically marginalized communities.

Dr. Valdez received the Kirschstein-National Research Services Award F31 (F31MD01243) from NIMHD to conduct her dissertation, which engaged adolescents in a youth participatory action research project using mixed methods to examine environmental factors that influence adolescent substance use at the U.S.-Mexico border.

She is currently co-PI on the four-year study Using Participatory Methods to Examine Structural Drivers of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Inequities in Massachusetts, funded by MA Department of Public Health. Community-led study findings are actively used by the MA Department of Public Health to initiate policy and systems change in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, housing, transportation, childcare, and other social services. She is also co-PI on a pilot study funded by MA Dept of Public Health to develop a peer-to-peer family ambassador program to combat the effects of structural violence on young parents and their families.

Dr. Valdez’s future research is focused on developing community-led health equity structural interventions that attempt to change the social, physical, economic or political environments that affect the health of young people from historically marginalized backgrounds. Relatedly, she is also interested in testing youth participatory action research as an intervention to combat the negative effects of structural violence on adolescent health.

Research Interests

  • Community-led Health Equity Structural Interventions
  • Adolescent Health
  • Latinx Immigrant Health
  • U.S.-Mexico Border Health
  • Substance Use
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Participatory Action Research


Valdez, Elizabeth & Chan, Jazmine & Donis, Andrea & Collins-Lovell, Camille & Dixon, Saharra & Beatriz, Elizabeth & Gubrium, Aline. (2022). Structural Racism and Its Influence On Sexual and Reproductive Health Inequities Among Immigrant Youth. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 10.1007/s10903-022-01385-x.

Lovell, Camille & Valdez, Elizabeth & Chan, Jazmine & Beatriz, Elizabeth & Gubrium, Aline. (2022). ‘It’s whether or not you got people’: school-based social support to address adolescent sexual and reproductive health inequities. Sex Education. 1-16. 10.1080/14681811.2022.2106560.

Lohr, Abby & Raygoza, Jhenitza & Valdez, Elizabeth & Hassett, Leslie & Gubrium, Aline & Fiddian-Green, Alice & Larkey, Linda & Sia, Irene & Wieland, Mark. (2022). The use of digital stories as a health promotion intervention: a scoping review. BMC Public Health. 22. 10.1186/s12889-022-13595-x.

Lohr, Abby & Mantina, Namoonga & Valdez, Elizabeth & Iglesias, Charisse & Ingram, Maia & Valdez, Luis & Zapien, Jill & Rosales, Cecilia. (2022). Service Learning on the U.S./Mexico Border: Transforming Student Paradigms. Pedagogy in Health Promotion. 8. 207-215. 10.1177/23733799221085250.

Caruso, Isabella & Valdez, Elizabeth & Lovell, Camille & Chan, Jazmine & Beatriz, Elizabeth & Gubrium, Aline. (2022). The Need for Community-Responsive and Flexible Sex Ed for Historically Marginalized Youth. Sexuality Research and Social Policy. 10.1007/s13178-022-00717-8.

Valdez, E. S., Valdez, L., & Garcia, D. O. (2021). Using participatory methods to enhance youth engagement in substance use research. Health Promotion Practice, 1524839921990005. Advance online publication. PMID: 33611963

Simmons, William & Menjívar, Cecilia & Valdez, Elizabeth. (2020). The Gendered Effects of Local Immigration Enforcement: Latinas’ Social Isolation in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. International Migration Review. 55. 019791832090550. 10.1177/0197918320905504.

Valdez, Elizabeth & Gubrium, Aline. (2020). Shifting to Virtual CBPR Protocols in the Time of Corona Virus/COVID-19. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 19. 160940692097731. 10.1177/1609406920977315.

Valdez, Elizabeth & Korchmaros, Josephine & Sabo, Samantha & Garcia, David & Carvajal, Scott & Stevens, Sally. (2019). How the U.S.-Mexico border influences adolescent substance use: Youth participatory action research using photovoice. International Journal of Drug Policy. 73. 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.07.011.

Valdez, Elizabeth & Sabo, Samantha & Butler, Matthew & Camplain, Ricky & Simpson, Rosi & Castro, Yara. (2019). Perinatal depression symptom prevalence on the U.S.–Mexico border. Journal of Rural Mental Health. 43. 38-44. 10.1037/rmh0000107.

See Dr. Valdez's complete list of publications on Google Scholar