Dr. Alcántara works to advance health equity. She studies how discrimination and other stressors affect sleep and physical and mental health, particularly among Latina/o adults.
Associate Professor Carmela Alcántara’s interdisciplinary research integrates psychology, public health, social work, and medicine to understand how structural and social factors affect sleep, mental health, and cardiovascular health, particularly in racial/ethnic and immigrant communities. These factors include nativity status, socioeconomic status, discrimination stress, and neighborhood circumstances. A licensed clinical psychologist with postdoctoral training in public health and behavioral medicine, she is a faculty affiliate of the Social Intervention Group and the Columbia Population Research Center.
Dr. Alcántara translates epidemiological findings on social determinants of health to the development of culturally and contextually informed, evidence-based behavioral interventions to promote health equity. Her research examines the ecological relationship between sleep, self-regulation, and health behaviors in Latina/o adults, and she is director of the Sleep, Mind, and Health Research Program at the Columbia School of Social Work. She also studies barriers and facilitators to Latina/o surveillance health data disaggregation and the use of e-health to expand access to evidence-based psychological interventions for insomnia in racial/ethnic and immigrant communities. Her work has been supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute of Mental Health; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University; and the Office of the Provost at Columbia University.
Dr. Alcántara previously served as an associate research scientist in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. She completed a clinical internship at New York University-Bellevue Hospital Center and was a Kellogg Health Scholars Program postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Alcántara holds a BA in Psychology and Sociology with a concentration in Latina/o Studies from Cornell University, and an MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan.