Dr. Patricia Rodriguez Espinosa, PhD., MPH, is a native of Habana, Cuba, and clinical psychologist by training. She is an Instructor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health and also serves as the Associate Director of Research for the Office of Community Engagement at Stanford Medicine. The ultimate goal of her research is to decrease health inequities among racial/ethnic minority populations, particularly Latinxs and immigrant communities, through transdisciplinary and community-engaged scholarship. Her research aims to understand factors that create and maintain health inequities (e.g., racial residential segregation) and use these insights to develop novel multi-level interventions and health promotion programs to address the inequity gap and that include multi-sectoral collaborations. Dr. Rodriguez Espinosa's research has also centered around developing the science of Community-Based Participatory Research, citizen science, and other participatory research approaches.

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Associate Director of Research, Office of Community Engagement, SOM (2020 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Minority Fellowship, American Psychological Association
  • Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Research Interests

  • Immigrants and Immigration
  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Psychology
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Research Methods

2021-22 Courses

All Publications

  • An in-depth comparison of well-being among Latinx and non-Latinx White adults: A cautionary tale. Preventive medicine reports Rodriguez Espinosa, P., Patel, M. L., King, A. C., Campero, I., Freeman, M. 2., Garcia, D. M., Winter, S. J., Heaney, C. A. 2021; 24: 101513


    Understanding how to optimize the health and well-being of Latinxs is crucial and will aid in informing actions to address inequities. Latinxs' unique cultural backgrounds and lived experiences could have implications for their well-being, which may differ from other racial/ethnic groups. We compared overall and domain-specific well-being and their socio-demographic correlates among two samples of Latinxs and a sample of non-Latinx Whites. Cross-sectional samples were independently drawn from the Stanford WELL Initiative (n=217 Latinxs, n=943 non-Latinx Whites) and the On the Move Trial (n=238 Latinxs), both recruiting in Northern California. Well-being was assessed using the Stanford WELL scale, a novel multifaceted measure. Propensity score matching and mixed effect regressions were employed to compare well-being between samples. Overall well-being levels did not differ between groups. However, when examining constituent domains of well-being, several differences were found. Both Latinx samples reported experiencing more stress, having worse physical health, and being more religious than did the matched non-Latinx White sample. However, on four other well-being domains, only one of the Latinx samples differed from the non-Latinx White sample. Moreover, the two Latinx samples differed from each other in four out of nine domains examined. When evaluating well-being across racial/ethnic groups, we recommend employing multidimensional measures and multiple samples to promote greater confidence in the conclusions. This approach can better inform future research and the tailoring of public health efforts by furthering our understanding of the nature of group well-being differences. Our methods offer a blueprint for similar studies examining well-being in multi-ethnic groups.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pmedr.2021.101513

    View details for PubMedID 34401222

  • Personal Outcomes in Community-based Participatory Research Partnerships: A Cross-site Mixed Methods Study. American journal of community psychology Rodríguez Espinosa, P. n., Sussman, A. n., Pearson, C. R., Oetzel, J. G., Wallerstein, N. n. 2020


    Community-based participatory research (CBPR) has been embraced by diverse populations to address health inequities within their communities. CBPR has been shown to produce favorable health outcomes, but little is known about personal outcomes (e.g., individual growth and capacities) resulting from the direct involvement in a CBPR partnership. We empirically examine which CBPR partnerships' processes and practices are associated with personal outcomes. We hypothesize that higher levels of collaborative approaches and adherence to CBPR principles and practices would be associated with personal outcomes. Based on a national cross-site CBPR study, Research for Improved Health, we utilized mixed-method data from a comprehensive community-engagement survey (N = 450) and seven in-depth case studies to explore the hypothesized relationships. Our multivariate mixed-effects model revealed the importance of various partnering practices. Relationship dynamics emerged as key predictors including the following: respect in the partnership, voice and influence in decision-making among partners, and stewardship. Qualitative findings highlighted individual, partnership, and community-level impacts, within and beyond the partnership. Our findings have implications for CBPR best practices and highlight the potential role of personal outcomes for partnerships' sustainability, long-term outcomes, and health equity research.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajcp.12446

    View details for PubMedID 32706125

  • Intersection of Health Informatics Tools and Community Engagement in Health-Related Research to Reduce Health Inequities: Scoping Review. Journal of participatory medicine Rajamani, G., Rodriguez Espinosa, P., Rosas, L. G. 2021; 13 (3): e30062


    BACKGROUND: The exponential growth of health information technology has the potential to facilitate community engagement in research. However, little is known about the use of health information technology in community-engaged research, such as which types of health information technology are used, which populations are engaged, and what are the research outcomes.OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this scoping review were to examine studies that used health information technology for community engagement and to assess (1) the types of populations, (2) community engagement strategies, (3) types of health information technology tools, and (4) outcomes of interest.METHODS: We searched PubMed and PCORI Literature Explorer using terms related to health information technology, health informatics, community engagement, and stakeholder involvement. This search process yielded 967 papers for screening. After inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, a total of 37 papers were analyzed for key themes and for approaches relevant to health information technology and community engagement research.RESULTS: This analysis revealed that the communities engaged were generally underrepresented populations in health-related research, including racial or ethnic minority communities such as Black/African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Latino ethnicity, and communities from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The studies focused on various age groups, ranging from preschoolers to older adults. The studies were also geographically spread across the United States and the world. Community engagement strategies included collaborative development of health information technology tools and partnerships to promote use (encompassing collaborative development, use of community advisory boards, and focus groups for eliciting information needs) and use of health information technology to engage communities in research (eg, through citizen science). The types of technology varied across studies, with mobile or tablet-based apps being the most common platform. Outcomes measured included eliciting user needs and requirements, assessing health information technology tools and prototypes with participants, measuring knowledge, and advocating for community change.CONCLUSIONS: This study illustrates the current landscape at the intersection of health information technology tools and community-engaged research approaches. It highlights studies in which various community-engaged research approaches were used to design culturally centered health information technology tools, to promote health information technology uptake, or for engagement in health research and advocacy. Our findings can serve as a platform for generating future research upon which to expand the scope of health information technology tools and their use for meaningful stakeholder engagement. Studies that incorporate community context and needs have a greater chance of cocreating culturally centered health information technology tools and better knowledge to promote action and improve health outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.2196/30062

    View details for PubMedID 34797214

  • Social support protects against symptoms of anxiety and depression: Key variations in Latinx and non-Latinx White college students Journal of Latinx Psychology Johnson-Esparza, Y., Rodriguez Espinosa, P., Verney, S. P., Boursaw, B., Smith, B. W. 2021

    View details for DOI 10.1037/lat0000184

  • The Underutilization of Community-based Participatory Research in Psychology: A Systematic Review. American journal of community psychology Rodriguez Espinosa, P., Verney, S. P. 2020


    Traditional non-participatory research methodologies have struggled to address the needs of multicultural populations in the United States (U.S.). Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a research paradigm offering a unique opportunity for culturally appropriate research and improving health equity. CBPR is an equitable, strength-based approach involving all stakeholders throughout the research process. We investigate the field of psychology's utilization of CBPR as an approach for working with multicultural populations to collaboratively address relevant and impactful research questions. A total of 1912 CBPR-related articles, from 2004 to 2014, were identified using PsycINFO, PubMed, and CINAHL Complete databases. Of these, approximately 16% (n=311) met our criteria for psychology-related CBPR articles accounting for a negligible amount (<1%) of peer-reviewed publications in mainstream psychological journals during the same time period. Among U.S. psychology-related CBPR articles, 86% focused on multicultural and marginalized populations. Prominent topics of investigation included physical health, mental and behavioral health, and theoretical or methodological articles. Features of publications, including authors' training, types of journals, study populations, and topics under investigation, were explored for all 1912 publications. Findings highlight an opportunity for further utilization of CBPR within psychology, with key implications for health equity. Recommendations for increasing CBPR uptake within the discipline are also offered.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ajcp.12469

    View details for PubMedID 33165973

  • Well-Being without a Roof: Examining Well-Being among Unhoused Individuals Using Mixed Methods and Propensity Score Matching. International journal of environmental research and public health Ahuja, N. J., Nguyen, A., Winter, S. J., Freeman, M., Shi, R., Rodriguez Espinosa, P., Heaney, C. A. 2020; 17 (19)


    The morbidity and mortality experiences of people who are unhoused have been well-described, but much less is known about the overall well-being of these individuals. In this mixed methods study, housed and unhoused participants completed a multi-faceted 10 domain measure of well-being (the Stanford WELL Survey), and a subset of unhoused participants shared their experiences during qualitative interviews. Using propensity score matching, unhoused participants (n = 51) were matched at a ratio of 1:5 with housed participants (n = 255). The mean overall well-being score of the unhoused participants was significantly lower than that of the matched housed participants (B = -5.022, p = 0.013). Additionally, the two groups differed on some of the constituent domains of well-being, with unhoused participants reporting statistically significantly lower mean scores on social connectedness (B = -1.086, p = 0.000), lifestyle and daily practices (B = -1.219, p = 0.000), stress and resilience (B = -0.493, p = 0.023), experience of emotions (B = -0.632, p = 0.009), physical health (B = -0.944, p = 0.0001), and finances (B = -3.099, p = 0.000). The unhoused participants had a statistically significantly higher mean score for spirituality and religiosity (B = 2.401, p = 0.000) than their matched housed counterparts. The qualitative interviews further highlighted spirituality and religion as a coping mechanism for the unhoused. The results of this study highlight both unexpected strengths exhibited by the unhoused individuals and areas of challenge.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/ijerph17197228

    View details for PubMedID 33023231

  • Testing the effectiveness of physical activity advice delivered via text messaging vs. human phone advisors in a Latino population: The On The Move randomized controlled trial design and methods. Contemporary clinical trials King, A. C., Campero, I., Sheats, J. L., Castro Sweet, C. M., Espinosa, P. R., Garcia, D., Hauser, M., Done, M., Patel, M. L., Parikh, N. M., Corral, C., Ahn, D. K. 2020: 106084


    Physical inactivity is a key risk factor for a range of chronic diseases and conditions, yet, approximately 50% of U.S. adults fall below recommended levels of regular aerobic physical activity (PA). This is particularly true for ethnic minority populations such as Latino adults for whom few culturally adapted programs have been developed and tested. Text messaging (SMS) represents a convenient and accessible communication channel for delivering targeted PA information and support, but has not been rigorously evaluated against standard telehealth advising programs. The objective of the On The Move randomized controlled trial is to test the effectiveness of a linguistically and culturally targeted SMS PA intervention (SMS PA Advisor) versus two comparison conditions: a) a standard, staff-delivered phone PA intervention (Telephone PA Advisor) and b) an attention-control arm consisting of a culturally targeted SMS intervention to promote a healthy diet (SMS Nutrition Advisor). The study sample (N = 350) consists of generally healthy, insufficiently active Latino adults ages 35 years and older living in five northern California counties. Study assessments occur at baseline, 6, and 12 months, with a subset of participants completing 18-month assessments. The primary outcome is 12-month change in walking, and secondary outcomes include other forms of PA, assessed via validated self-report measures and supported by accelerometry, and physical function and well-being variables. Potential mediators and moderators of intervention success will be explored to better determine which subgroups do best with which type of intervention. Here we present the study design and methods, including recruitment strategies and yields. Trial Registration: Identifier = NCT02385591.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cct.2020.106084

    View details for PubMedID 32659437

  • Employing Participatory Citizen Science Methods to Promote Age-Friendly Environments Worldwide. International journal of environmental research and public health King, A. C., King, D. K., Banchoff, A., Solomonov, S., Ben Natan, O., Hua, J., Gardiner, P., Rosas, L. G., Espinosa, P. R., Winter, S. J., Sheats, J., Salvo, D., Aguilar-Farias, N., Stathi, A., Akira Hino, A., Porter, M. M., Our Voice Global Citizen Science Research Network, O. B. 2020; 17 (5)


    The trajectory of aging is profoundly impacted by the physical and social environmental contexts in which we live. While "top-down" policy activities can have potentially wide impacts on such contexts, they often take time, resources, and political will, and therefore can be less accessible to underserved communities. This article describes a "bottom-up", resident-engaged method to advance local environmental and policy change, called Our Voice, that can complement policy-level strategies for improving the health, function, and well-being of older adults. Using the World Health Organization's age-friendly cities global strategy, we describe the Our Voice citizen science program of research that has specifically targeted older adults as environmental change agents to improve their own health and well-being as well as that of their communities. Results from 14 Our Voice studies that have occurred across five continents demonstrate that older adults can learn to use mobile technology to systematically capture and collectively analyze their own data. They can then successfully build consensus around high-priority issues that can be realistically changed and work effectively with local stakeholders to enact meaningful environmental and policy changes that can help to promote healthy aging. The article ends with recommended next steps for growing the resident-engaged citizen science field to advance the health and welfare of all older adults.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/ijerph17051541

    View details for PubMedID 32121001

  • Exploring health and well-being in Taiwan: what we can learn from individuals' narratives. BMC public health Rodriguez Espinosa, P. n., Chen, Y. C., Sun, C. A., You, S. L., Lin, J. T., Chen, K. H., Hsing, A. W., Heaney, C. A. 2020; 20 (1): 159


    Our aim was to explore the concepts of health and well-being from the point of view of the people experiencing them. Most of the efforts to understand these concepts have focused on disease prevention and treatment. Less is known about how individuals achieve health and well-being, and their roles in the pursuit of a good life. We hoped to identify important components of these concepts that may provide new targets and messages to strengthen existing public health programs. An improved understanding of health and well-being - or what it means to be well - can guide interventions that help people lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.Using a grounded qualitative approach drawing from narrative inquiry, we interviewed 24 Taiwanese adults. Thematic inductive coding was employed to explore the nature of health and well-being.Eight constituent domains emerged regarding well-being and health. While the same domains were found for both constructs, important frequency differences were found when participants discussed health versus well-being. Physical health and lifestyle behaviors emerged as key domains for health. Disease-related comments were the most frequently mentioned sub-category within the physical health domain, along with health care use and aging-related changes. For well-being, family and finances emerged as key domains. Family appears to be a cornerstone element of well-being in this sample, with participants often describing their personal well-being as closely tied to - and often indistinguishable from - their family. Other domains included work-life, sense of self, resilience, and religion/spirituality.Health and well-being are complex and multifaceted constructs, with participants discussing their constituent domains in a very interconnected manner. Programs and policies intended to promote health and well-being may benefit from considering these domains as culturally-appropriate leverage points to bring about change. Additionally, while the domains identified in this study are person-centered (i.e., reflecting the personal experiences of participants), the stories that participants offered provided insights into how well-being and health are influenced by structural, societal and cultural factors. Our findings also offer an opportunity for future refinement and rethinking of existing measurement tools surrounding these constructs.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s12889-020-8201-3

    View details for PubMedID 32013898

  • Power Dynamics in Community-Based Participatory Research: A Multiple-Case Study Analysis of Partnering Contexts, Histories, and Practices. Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education Wallerstein, N. n., Muhammad, M. n., Sanchez-Youngman, S. n., Rodriguez Espinosa, P. n., Avila, M. n., Baker, E. A., Barnett, S. n., Belone, L. n., Golub, M. n., Lucero, J. n., Mahdi, I. n., Noyes, E. n., Nguyen, T. n., Roubideaux, Y. n., Sigo, R. n., Duran, B. n. 2019; 46 (1_suppl): 19S–32S


    Community-based participatory research has a long-term commitment to principles of equity and justice with decades of research showcasing the added value of power-sharing and participatory involvement of community members for achieving health, community capacity, policy, and social justice outcomes. Missing, however, has been a clear articulation of how power operates within partnership practices and the impact of these practices on outcomes. The National Institutes of Health-funded Research for Improved Health study (2009-2013), having surveyed 200 partnerships, then conducted seven in-depth case studies to better understand which partnership practices can best build from community histories of organizing to address inequities. The diverse case studies represented multiple ethnic-racial and other marginalized populations, health issues, and urban and rural areas and regions. Cross-cutting analyses of the qualitative results focus on how oppressive and emancipatory forms of power operate within partnerships in response to oppressive conditions or emancipatory histories of advocacy within communities. The analysis of power was conducted within each of the four domains of the community-based participatory research conceptual model, starting from how contexts shape partnering processes to impact short-term intervention and research outputs, and contribute to outcomes. Similarities and differences in how partnerships leveraged and addressed their unique contexts and histories are presented, with both structural and relational practices that intentionally addressed power relations. These results demonstrate how community members draw from their resilience and strengths to combat histories of injustice and oppression, using partnership principles and practices toward multilevel outcomes that honor community knowledge and leadership, and seek shared power, policy, and community transformation changes, thereby advancing health equity.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1090198119852998

    View details for PubMedID 31549557

  • Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR): Towards Equitable Involvement of Community in Psychology Research AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST Collins, S. E., Clifasefi, S. L., Stanton, J., Straits, K. E., Gil-Kashiwabara, E., Espinosa, P., Nicasio, A. V., Andrasik, M. P., Hawes, S. M., Miller, K. A., Nelson, L. A., Orfaly, V. E., Duran, B. M., Wallerstein, N., LEAP Advisory Board 2018; 73 (7): 884–98


    Community-based participatory research (CBPR) answers the call for more patient-centered, community-driven research approaches to address growing health disparities. CBPR is a collaborative research approach that equitably involves community members, researchers, and other stakeholders in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each bring. The aim of CBPR is to combine knowledge and action to create positive and lasting social change. With its origins in psychology, sociology, and critical pedagogy, CBPR has become a common research approach in the fields of public health, medicine, and nursing. Although it is well aligned with psychology's ethical principles and research aims, it has not been widely implemented in psychology research. The present article introduces CBPR to a general psychology audience while considering the unique aims of and challenges in conducting psychology research. In this article, we define CBPR principles, differentiate it from a more traditional psychology research approach, retrace its historical roots, provide concrete steps for its implementation, discuss its potential benefits, and explore practical and ethical challenges for its integration into psychology research. Finally, we provide a case study of CBPR in psychology to illustrate its key constructs and implementation. In sum, CBPR is a relevant, important, and promising research framework that may guide the implementation of more effective, culturally appropriate, socially just, and sustainable community-based psychology research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/amp0000167

    View details for Web of Science ID 000446233100003

    View details for PubMedID 29355352

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6054913

  • Partnership agreements: A practical guide to developing data sharing, ownership, and publishing agreements Community-based participatory research for health: Advancing social and health equity Rodriguez Espinosa, P., Richmond, A. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2017; 3: 385–393
  • Does the Race of the Discrimination Agent in Latinos' Discrimination Experiences Influence Latino Group Identity? SOCIOLOGY OF RACE AND ETHNICITY Sanchez, G. R., Rodriguez Espinosa, P. 2016; 2 (4): 531–47


    American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) have a unique, traumatic, and alienating history of education in the U.S., which may be directly related to overall health and well-being. Community engagement is critical in well-being research with Native communities, especially when investigating culturally sensitive topics, such as early education experiences. This study investigates the value of a community-based participatory research approach in gaining valuable culturally sensitive information from Native people in a respectful manner. Assessment participation and feedback are analyzed and presented as indicators of Native participant engagement success in a potentially sensitive research project exploring early education experiences.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000392723800014

    View details for PubMedID 27383096