Dr. Gonzales received her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies: Chemistry, Biology and Spanish (1986) and M.S. in Toxicology/Industrial Hygiene from the University of Arizona. She earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Health from the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health. After her doctoral degree she completed a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship at the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development.

Personal Statement

Dr. Gonzales' community-engaged, translational research focuses on 1) understanding the contribution of environmental exposure to health disparities; 2) rural and minority health; and 3) the translation of research for improved health equity through informed policy. Her research and leadership roles at UNM span the Center for Native Environmental Health Equity Research, the UNM UNM Metal Exposure and Toxicity Assessment on Tribal Lands in the Southwest (METALS) Superfund Center, and the Transdisciplinary Research, Equity and Engagement Center for Advancing Behavioral Health (TREE) Center. Her work also includes the Hispanic Moms Study, the Zuni Exposure Study, the Colorectal Disease Prevention Study and the UNM-UTEP ARCH study of asthma and air pollution among children living on the U.S. Mexico border.

Areas of Specialty

Environmental Health Epidemiology Exposure Assessment Health Disparities Translational Research

Achievements & Awards

Environmental Research Award, Environmental Defense Fund/El Paso League of Women Voters, 2002 UNM Department of Internal Medicine, Junior Faculty Research Award for Excellence, 2007 USEPA Scientific and Technological Achievement Award Level III* for an unusually notable research or technological effort” (S08TF012). National Center for Environmental Research, 2008 American Association for Cancer Research Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award, 2011 Senior Fellow New Mexico CARES Health Disparities Center, 2012




  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Italian

Courses Taught

Dr. Gonzales' educational service to UNM HSC began in 2002 as a core faculty member in the Masters in Public Health Program. As founding faculty of UNM Preventive Medicine Residency, she developed and facilitated a series of GME-required core courses through content analysis and competency mapping across the didactic-, experiential- and clinical-based domains, and qualitative input from residents. The courses and assessments were successfully implemented, and GME accreditation achieved within three years of the program’s founding. In addition, she has taught in the Genetics and Neoplasia and Clinical Reasoning blocks and led the Perspectives in Medicine: Culture, Identity and Diversity course in the UNM Undergraduate Medical Education curricula. She also contributes invited lectures to graduate, undergraduate and professional students in the Colleges of Population Health and Pharmacy. Most of her 30+ mentees have completed post-graduate degrees, and have become successful faculty members. she is committed to assisting trainees achieve their educational/professional goals through thoughtful mentorship that is responsive to their individual needs and grounded in competencies of their respective fields.

Research and Scholarship

Center for Native Environmental Health Equity Research (P50 Center for Excellence in Environmental Health Research) 2015-2020 Co-Director; 2020-2025 Community Engagement Lead. UNM METALS Superfund Research and Training Center (P42) 2017-2022 Research PI, Research Translation Core Lead. Hoover, J., Erdei, E., Begay,D., Gonzales, M., Jarrett, JM., Po-Yung Cheng, Johnnye Lewis, and NBCS Study Team. Exposure to uranium and co-occurring metals among pregnant Navajo women. Environ Res. 2020; Jul 17;190:109943. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109943. Gonzales M, King E, Bobelu J, Neha DM, Lesansee S, Madrid T, Shah V. Biological monitoring in environmental health research: Perspectives of a Southwestern Native American Community. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1129; doi:10.3390/ijerph15061129. Institute of Medicine, 2015. Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.og/10.17226/18848.