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Research Interests

Dr. Hernandez received her PhD in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago, in 2012. Before becoming an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work, she completed training as a Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Hernandez’s interests are in exploring the link between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health, particularly in underserved minority populations. She explores whether characteristics like optimism and resilience are associated with low-risk cardiovascular disease profiles, and whether interventions geared toward increasing psychological well-being can favorably impact subclinical and clinical manifestations of disease. Dr. Hernandez’s goal is to employ theories from positive psychology to help inform primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in Hispanic/Latino and African American adults.


BS, Biological Sciences, University of Illinois Chicago, 2005

MPH, Public Health, University of Illinois Chicago, 2010

PhD, Public Health, University of Illinois Chicago, 2012


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