Joanna Barreras, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach and the Associate Director of Research and Evaluation at Bienestar Human Services, Inc. Her scholarly work focuses on addressing comorbidities and disparities linked to HIV among Latinx—as health inequities continue to affect Latinx communities. Specifically, she aims to develop and test culturally responsive interventions to improve health care service utilization among vulnerable populations.


As a first-generation Mexican American born and raised in East Los Angeles, CA, a predominantly Latinx community, Joanna witnessed the lack of health care access and utilization at the individual and community levels. These personal experiences drive her passion to generate knowledge that examines and seeks to address these gaps.


Joanna draws upon over a decade of research experience on Latinx health and mental health disparities, eight of which include research with the sexual and gender minority communities and HIV prevention and intervention. She has contributed to several community-based initiatives and professional undertakings that address the needs of disenfranchised and marginalized groups.


As a recipient of the Mark Etzel Scholarship, Joanna strives to continue promoting science and the importance of increasing capacity-building on intersectional stigma and discrimination and mistrust around care related to HIV prevention and treatment. Specifically, Joanna has been collaborating with her mentors to address coping with intersectional stigma and discrimination among Latina transgender women, a population highly affected by HIV prevention and treatment inequities. The scholarship program will support her efforts to develop an intervention to address intersectional stigma and discrimination and improve HIV-related prevention and treatment behaviors Outside of work, Joanna enjoys hiking local trails and watching the sunrise.