Dr. Cruz received a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia. She then earned a Masters degree in Public Health from George Washington University. Following her MPH, Dr. Cruz was awarded a doctoral degree in Epidemiology (PhD) from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

Personal Statement

My position has allowed me to pursue my interests in community-engaged prevention research with a focus on public health and health equity. It has also afforded me the opportunity to provide training and mentorship to students and staff and to develop capacity among government agencies and community partners through prevention research, evaluation research, and technical assistance. My research and service focus on public health priorities in New Mexico communities, including addressing obesity, sexual violence and opioid overdose. I am particularly concerned with the disproportionate risks faced by the Hispanic and Native American populations in our state and by those living in rural and under-resourced communities. I engage with organizations, agencies and community partners to study and address these health concerns collectively. My work is connected by my commitment to community engagement for public health, primary prevention, and health equity.

Areas of Specialty

Community-engaged prevention research Primary prevention of chronic disease Injury and violence prevention Epidemiology Program evaluation

Achievements & Awards

UNM Outstanding Supervisor Award Nominee, February 2016 New Mexico Public Health Association, Special Award Nominee, April 2015 Recognition for Exemplary Service, Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, Board of Directors, 2011-2014, March 2015 Certificate of Appreciation, US Department of Agriculture, April 2015 Robert Verhalen Endowed Scholarship in Injury Prevention/Trauma Management, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Public Health, 2004 Director’s Corporate Award, Health Director, Mecklenburg County North Carolina, 2001 - For service to the community that exemplified the mission of public health


  • Spanish

Research and Scholarship

• Carmody M, Cruz TH, Soto Mas F, Qeadan F, Handal AJ. (2020) Violence and the Academic Lives of College Students at the Intersection of Race/Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. • Cruz TH, Borrego M, Page-Reeves J. (2020) Increasing the number of underrepresented minority behavioral health researchers partnering with underresourced communities: lessons learned from a pilot research project program. Health Promotion Practice. doi:10.1177/1524839920907554. • Bakhireva LN, Bautista A, Cano S, Shrestha S, Bachyrycz AM, Cruz TH. (2018) Barriers and facilitators to dispensing of intranasal naloxone by pharmacists, Substance Abuse, 39:3, 331-341, doi: 10.1080/08897077.2017.1391924 • Davis SM, Cruz TH, Kozoll R. (2017) Research to practice: disseminating physical activity recommendations. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 52(3S3):S300-S303. • Cruz TH, Davis SM, Myers OB, O’Donald E, Sanders SG, Sheche JN. (2016) Effects of an obesity prevention intervention on physical activity among preschool children: the CHILE randomized controlled trial. Health Promotion Practice, 17(5):693-701.