Dr. Nervi is an international health scholar with extensive experience in teaching, research, mobilizing resources and working with multi-disciplinary teams in cross-cultural settings. Her academic background includes a bachelor’s in social anthropology, a master’s degree in social sciences, a master’s degree in public health, a PhD in medical anthropology, and a residency at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization’s International Health Training Program.

She has focused her research on national and international health policies associated with health systems and services reform; the importance of community participation as a critical factor in these reforms; the composition, trends and engagement of the health workforce; and the technical and financial factors that strengthen health systems at home and abroad. Dr. Nervi has worked in nearly every country of the Americas with universities, governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, communities and nongovernmental organizations. She has led baseline studies and implementation of evidence-based health programs and policies and built stakeholder networks for global health initiatives to contribute to the democratization of knowledge and to address health inequities that afflict underserved, low-income, and vulnerable populations. Currently, she is an assistant professor of health systems, services and policies at the UNM College of Population Health where she continues focusing her teaching, research and community service on the long road to equity and health justice locally and globally.

Areas of Specialty

  • Health systems, services, and policies
  • Global health policies and health sectoral reforms
  • Health program evaluation and strategic planning
  • Health literacy and community health education

Key Publications

Birn AE, Nervi L. (Re-)Making a People’s WHO. American Journal of Public Health. 2020; Vol 110:9. 352-1353.

Spanish versions of (Re-)Making a People’s WHO: Translation by Nervi L.
- Construyendo una OMS para la gente. Social Medicine. 2020; Vol 13:2.
- HIPA, Andalusian School of Public Health, Granada, August 3, 2020.

French version of (Re-)Making a People’s WHO: Re-faire l’OMS pour le people.

German version of (Re-)Making a People’s WHO: Die (Wieder-)Herstellung einer WHO für die Menschen. July, 2020.

Soto Mas F, Nervi L. COVID-19 in the Land of Enchantment. Scientific Blog of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), June 29, 2020.

Gravitt P, Rositch A, Jurczuk M, Meza G, Carrillo L, Jeronimo J, Adsul P, Nervi L, Kosek M, Tracy JK, Paz-Soldan V. Integrative Systems Praxis for Implementation Research (INSPIRE): An Implementation Methodology to Facilitate the Global Elimination of Cervical Cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020; Vol 20:9. 1710-1719.

Birn AE, Nervi L. What Matters in Health (Care) Universes: Delusions, Dilusions and Ways towards Universal Health Justice. Globalization and Health. 2019; Vol 15:0. (Special Issue on the political determinants of health inequity and universal health coverage).

Rodriguez MI (Commissioned), Brito P, Campos F, Nervi L, Rovere M [equal contribution]. Human Resources for Health as Protagonists of Health Systems Based on PHC. High-level Commission of the Universal Health in the 21st Century: 40 Years of Alma-Ata, PAHO/WHO. Report of the HLC (Group 5, Human Resources), Washington DC, September 2019. Spanish (original) and English.

Birn AE, Nervi L, Siqueira E. Neoliberalism Redux: The Global Health Policy Agenda and the Politics of Cooptation in Latin America and Beyond. Development and Change. 2016; Vol.47:4. ttp://

Iriart C, Nervi L, Schoj V, Rios, B, Castronuovo L. New challenges to Control Tobacco Consumption in Latin America: International Trade and Investment Agreements. Diversitates International Journal. 2015; Vol 7:2.1-23.

Birn AE, Nervi L. Political Roots of the Struggle for Health Justice in Latin America. The Lancet. 2015; Vol 385:14.1174-1175.

Birn AE, Nervi L. Las Raíces Políticas de la Lucha por la Justicia en Salud en América Latina II. [Political Roots of the Struggle for Health Justice in Latin America II]. Social Medicine Journal. 2014; Vol 9:3. 251-255. ttp://

Nervi L. Acerca de los Procesos de Cooperación Internacional en Salud y sus Problemas. [About the Processes of International Cooperation in Health and their Problems]. Diversitates International Journal. 2014; Vol 6:1.  ttp://

Nervi L. Easier Said than Done in Global Health: A Glimpse at Nonfinancial Challenges in International Cooperation. GESPAM Equilibri, 2014.

Chiriboga D, Buss P, Birn AE, Garay J, Muntaner C, Nervi L. Investing in Health. Correspondence. The Lancet. 2014; Vol 383: (9921):949.


  • • English • Spanish • Portuguese (working knowledge) • Italian (working knowledge)


The principles that guide Nervi’s research approach and cooperation with Latin America, the region of her expertise, are based on the recognition of the diversity and heterogeneity of the region; avoiding rapid and superficial explanations for the complexity of its historical processes and struggles; avoid patronizing or idealizing the region; overcome epistemological approaches based on the ethnocentric otherness of Latin America and the populations of Latin American descent in the US; recognize that Latin America has a strong tradition of scientific production and that its educators and researchers are a continuous source of learning and dialogue; and build sustainable, symmetrical, and cooperative relationships with Latin America’s peoples and institutions.

Courses Taught

  • Health Systems, Services, and Policies
  • Health Care Systems
  • International Cooperation in Health Policies, Management, and Trends
  • Global Health (Independent Studies)