Dr. Cacari Stone has dedicated over 30 years of public health leadership, practice and policy work. She is the founding Principal Investigator and Director of the Transdisciplinary Research, Equity and Engagement Center for Advancing Behavioral Health (TREE Center) which is one of twelve research centers of excellence funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD Grant # U54 MD004811-08). The TREE Center aims to test solutions for eliminating structural racism and advancing health and behavioral health equity. Comprised of over 50 under-represented minority scholars, over 120 community partners from racial and ethnic, rural/frontier and border communities of the southwest the TREE Center trains and mentors postdoctoral, early stage investigators and under-represented minority scholars in conducting community engaged, multi-level intervention research. She has extensive experience working as part of a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds in the roles of Assistant Director with the Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy and Director of the Community Engagement Core (NM CARES Health Disparities Center/P20). Her investigations encompass the macro-level determinants of health (e.g. immigration policy, political ideologies), community level (e.g. access to care, social and contextual influences of substance use), and the individual level (e.g. psychosocial risks factors for hypertension management among Latinos). Her studies along the U.S.-Mexico border have involved multi-disciplinary collaborations (e.g. economics, medical sociology, anthropology) with community and academic partners to develop and evaluate evidence-based interventions and policies that promote health equity. Since 2008, she has acquired over $26 million in extramural competitive research grants as a collaborating Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator. From 2010-2012, she received an NIH grant to conduct a Comparative Effectiveness Study of a Primary Care-Promotora Intervention among Latino Adults with Hypertension in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region. Working with Hidalgo Medical Services, one of the largest federally qualified health centers in New Mexico, she led a team of primary care providers, health administrators, community health workers, doctoral students and faculty researchers from public health, economics, sociology and anthropology. Her expertise is in national, state and local policy developing and is trusted for her work in translating and disseminating data for policy making with governments, community-based organizations and foundations (e.g. Congressional Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; NM Legislative Health and Human Services Subcommittee; Con Alma Health Foundation; RWJF Access Project; Pan American Health Organization). She is a thought- leader in health equity and has published numerous peer-reviewed policy briefs, public reports and papers. Her science and policy work is supplemented with 15 years of as a behavioral health specialist, state health care administrator and licensed marriage and family therapist. Her applied behavioral health work is complemented with my training in health and social policy and in the social determinants of health at The Heller School, Brandeis University and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is an expert member of the research group with the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, member of the National Hispanic Science Network, board member to the Prevention Institute (Oakland) and previous WK Kellogg Fellow in Health Equity and Policy. In 2019, she received the Faculty Research Excellence Award in Population Health Science from University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

Areas of Specialty

  • Immigration, Welfare and Health Policies
  • Structural Racism, Intersectionality and Health Equity
  • U.S.-Mexico Border Health
  • Community Engaged and Decolonized Policy Analysis
  • Behavioral Health

Key Publications

  • Cacari Stone, L. & Osterfoss, P. Health Equity in New Mexico and the Affordable Care Act. Report for the Con Alma Health Foundation, 2017. Accessed at:
  • Cacari Stone, L., Diaz Fuentes, C., Josh, JR, Castillo, F., Lopez, N., & Lauvidaus, M. (2017) The Heart of Gender Justice in New Mexico: Intersectionality, Economic Security and Health Equity.
  • Cacari Stone, L., Minkler, M., Freudenberg, N. & Themba, M. (2016). Chapter 21, Community-Based Participatory Research for Health Equity Policymaking. In Community-Based Participatory Research for Health: 3rd Edition.
  • Cacari Stone,L., Nina Wallerstein, Analilia P. Garcia, and Meredith Minkler. The Promise of Community-Based Participatory Research for Health Equity: A Conceptual Model for Bridging Evidence with Policy. American Journal of Public Health: September 2014, Vol. 104, No. 9, pp. 1615-1623.doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301961
  • Cacari Stone, L., Bettez, S., Marley, T., Boursaw, B. & Waitzkin, H. (2015). Place as a predictor of health insurance coverage: A multivariate analysis of counties in the United States. J. Health & Place, Volume 34, July 2015, Pages 207-214 May;15(3):356-64
  • Cacari Stone, L., Stiemel, L., Vasquez, E. & A. Kaufman(2014). The potential conflict between policy and ethics in caring for undocumented immigrants at academic health centers. Academic Medicine, Apr;89(4):536-9.
  • Sánchez, *Cacari Stone,L., Moffett, M, Muhammad,M., Nicolae,L, Bleecker,M., Chauvin, R. & Nguyen, P.G. (2014) Process Evaluation of Corazon por la Vida: A promotora intervention to reduce health disparities among Latinos in New Mexico border communities. Health Promotion & Practice, May;15(3):356-64. *Corresponding Author.
  • Bruna-Lewis, S., *Cacari Stone, L., Wilger,S., Cantor, J., Maynes, C. & C. Guzman (2014). The Role of Community Health Centers in Assessing the Social Determinants of Health for Planning and Policy: The Example of Frontier New Mexico. J Ambulatory Care Management, Vol. 37, No. 3, pp. 258–268 *Corresponding Author.
  • Cacari Stone, L. & Avila, M. (2012) Rethinking Research Ethics for Latinos: The Policy Paradox of Health Reform and the Role of Social Justice. Ethics and Behavior 22(6):445-460.
  • Acevedo-Garcia, D. & Cacari Stone, L. (2008). State Variation in Health Insurance Coverage for U.S. Citizen Children of Immigrants. Health Affairs, 27(2):434-446.
  • behavioral-health-concerns
  • equity


Transdiciplinary Research, Equity and Engagement Center

Courses Taught

  • Equity ‘n Policy Training Institute
  • Advanced Community Engaged Policy Analysis
  • Social Epidemiology and Health Policy in Maternal and Child Health
  • Health Policy, Politics and Social Equity 
  • Border Migration, Health & Social Policy
  • Public Health Integrative Experience