Dr. Cerda's interests include the social epidemiology of risk behaviors and psychiatric disorders, particularly violence, substance abuse and depression, and the influence of massive disasters on risk behavior trajectories. Her current work looks at individual, family, peer and neighborhood influences on psychiatric comorbidity, and focuses on developing innovative methods to simultaneously measure the onset and acceleration of risk for multiple risk behaviors or psychiatric disorders. She is particularly interested in examining how social factors shape the development of co-occurring problems of violence, substance use and mood/anxiety disorders. Dr. Cerdá is also using natural experiments and innovative methods of causal inference to understand the role that neighborhoods play on violence, mental health and substance use in the United States and Latin America. Before obtaining her doctorate, Dr. Cerdá worked at the World Health Organization, where she advised countries such as Mozambique on the development of national policies on violence prevention, coordinated the development of global guidelines for collecting forensic evidence in sexual violence cases, and was a co-author of the youth violence chapter of the World Report on Violence and Health.
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact that an instance of policy-initiated neighborhood change, the installation of a cable car in low-income communities in the mountainous periphery of Medellin, Colombia, has on neighborhood social conditions and on resident levels of violence.
New York City Neighborhoods and Mental Health in the Elderly Study:
The purpose of this NIMH-funded study is to examine the relationship between neighborhood conditions, depression and physical activity among the elderly in New York City. We are recruiting a cohort of 4200 older adults aged 65-75 at baseline and following them over 3 years.
Community factors, HIV and related health outcomes in men who have sex with men:
The purpose of this NICHD-funded study is to assess neighborhood characteristics that may affect sexual risk behaviors, alcohol and drug abuse and depression among men who have sex with men.