Linda Peñaloza, phd
Research Associate Professor, Prevention Research
the university of new mexico
My research interests largely focus on adolescent health issues, tobacco, alcohol and other substance use and abuse. I have conducted survey research projects involving the risky behaviors of youth for over 24 years, initially at the Wisconsin Survey Research Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, and now at the UNM Prevention Research Center. I am Principal Investigator for data collection for the New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (NM-YRRS), which provides detailed epidemiological surveillance data on youth risk behaviors. Risk behaviors include those behaviors that adolescents engage in that risk their health or life: substance use; violence and unintentional injury; tobacco use; alcohol use; sexual behaviors that can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDs, or pregnancy; unhealthy nutrition; and insufficient physical activity. Beyond the risky behaviors, this research covers protective factors that impact adolescent exposure and resiliency to these risky actions. A significant portion of this research includes disseminating the results to a wide range of audiences who are interested in school health and adolescent health issues. I helped conduct in-person and webinar workshops and presentations to school boards, school staff, public health professionals, and community members about the statewide and county data available to them, and to work with them in identifying ways to use these data for developing interventions, writing grants, and formulating new policies. I am responsible for reports and presentations provided to a wide range of audiences, and these reports are used by thousands of individuals around the state.
adolescent health issues,