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Patricia I Documet, MD, DrPH

Associate Professor, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences

Associate Professor, Clinical and Translational Science

Scientific Director, Center for Health Equity

Associate Director, Evaluation Institute

Associate Professor, Center for Latin American Studies


6133 Parran Hall
R-znvy: cqbphzrg@cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-179-6156

Personal Statement


Education is an integral part of all that I do as a faculty member. My focus is on the influence of social relationships on health among disempowered minorities, especially Latinos. My ultimate goals are 1) to increase health equity by using social network and participatory theories to train researchers and practitioners, especially those from disadvantaged groups, and 2) to empower communities. The research I conduct contributes to scientific development, and also enriches my in-class instruction. Over time, my studies have become increasingly participatory, enabling me to involve students in data collection and analysis as well as in collaborative design.  

Most of my current work involves peer support or community health workers (CHW). For seven years I have been associated with the Latino Engagement Group for Salud (LEGS), a coalition comprised of community members and organizations working with Latinos, focused on community-based participatory initiatives. Together, we have completed an assessment of the health of Latino immigrant men and have implemented a male promotores (CHW) network in Pittsburgh. Trained promotores have assisted participants in building community connections and obtain health services. Our team continues working with the LEGS in new initiatives. In the same vein, I am collaborating with faculty across campus in implementing a CHW intervention to prevent obesity among Latino children. In another study, Raices, I team up with faculty of the School of Education to use quasi experimental methods to test a community health worker initiative for Latinos.  My research interests include social relationships, cancer, breastfeeding, racial and ethnic disparities, evaluation, violence and global health. 


Since July 2012, I have been serving as Scientific Director of the Center for Health Equity (CHE). Within the CHE, we are working on expanding our Health Advocates in Reach program, where local barbershops offer a space to provide health education and screening right in a trusted community space. Last year we were funded to a Year of Diversity Project, OjO Latino, a Photovoice to increase visibility for the growing local Latino community. They answered to the question “What does it mean to be Latino in Pittsburgh?” We held exhibitions at Pitt and in the community where photographers could share their experience. The photographs are now online at I also am a member in the BCHS Doctoral Committee. Outside the University, I have served as a reviewer for several journals, including Health Education and Behavior, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the Journal of the National Medical
Association, and the Journal for Health Care for the Poor and Underserved among others. I have been active in the Latino Caucus of APHA, having served as the Scientific Program Organizer for the 2007 and 2008 meetings and as Treasurer between 2010 and 2011. However, the service project I hold most dearly is La Feria Latina, a community-based participatory practice effort to design and implement a church-based service fair offering a single event with information about various health and human services available to Spanish-speaking residents of Allegheny County. 


MD, 1984  Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
Pediatrician, 1988  Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
MPH, 1995, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
1996, Certificate in Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
2002, DrPH, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA


I hold three core beliefs about education: 1) research, teaching and practice are complementary activities; 2) a carefully built curriculum supports the best education; and 3) diversity is enrichment. My students are professionals in training. My task is to help them discover and develop their talents and identify how they can contribute to their fields and their communities. By including my students as collaborators in research studies, exposing them to research design, data collection and analysis as well as ethical considerations, I am able to blend education and research. I have mentored students within the context of a variety of my own research projects, from population-based surveys to community-based participatory research (CBPR). In the same spirit, I engage students in service opportunities with communities to increase their cultural competence, and in service with professional organizations to broaden their connections for future research and practice. In summary, research and practice ground education in real issues that matter to communities as well as in the field of social and behavioral sciences. 

Students are most engaged if they find the material useful for their careers. To illustrate, in “Introduction to Applied Research,” students talk about positions they foresee holding after finishing their degree. The discussion then focuses on what aspects of the course are beneficial for them, especially for those who want a career in public health practice. At their request, I have emphasized materials and approaches likely to be used by practitioners in implementing and evaluating interventions. Recently, I am also teaching “Measurement in the Social and Behavioral Sciences,” where I emphasize on practical aspects of the selection and use of scales that fit the particular community students are working with.

I regularly work with students who wish to conduct research or community work with Latinos. For example, I have mentored medical students in organizing and implementing an interpreter service for Latinos at a clinic offering free medical services to adults as part of the University of Pittsburgh’s Program for Underserved Populations. Frequently, I serve on theses or dissertations of Anthropology students. Because of my affiliation with the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, I regularly mentor students designing research in or about Latin America.


Since July2012, I serve as Scientific Director of the Center for Health Equity (CHE). Withinthe CHE, I am involved in an initiative to prevent violence in AlleghenyCounty.  We are working on expanding ourHealth Advocates in Reach program, where local barbershops offer a space toprovide health education and screening right in a trusted community space. Ialso am a member in the BCHS Doctoral Committee. Outside the University, I haveserved as a reviewer for several journals, including Health Education andBehavior, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the Journal of the NationalMedical Association, and the Journal for Health Care for the Poor andUnderserved among others. I have been active in the Latino Caucus of APHA,having served as the Scientific Program Organizer for the 2007 and 2008meetings and as Treasurer between 2010 and 2011. However, the service project Ihold most dearly is La Feria Latina, acommunity-based participatory practice effort to design and implement achurch-based service fair offering a single event with information about varioushealth and human services available to Spanish-speaking residents of AlleghenyCounty. 

Selected Publications

Documet PI, Macia L, Thompson A, Gonzalez M, Boyzo R, Fox AR, Guadamuz TE. A Male Promotores Network for Latinos: Process Evaluation From a Community-Based Participatory Project. Health Promot Pract. 17(3): 332-342, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/PubMed PMID: 26463171 PMCID: PMC4833632.

O'Malley TL, Documet PI, Burke JG, Garland R, Terry A, Slade, RL, Albert SM. Preventing violence: A public health participatory approach to homicide reviews. Health Promotion Practice. Published online Mar. 2017

Taverno-Ross, SE, Documet, PI, Pate, RR, Smith-Tapia, I, Wisnieswski, LM, Gibbs, BB. Study protocol for a promotora led obesity prevention program in Latino preschool children. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, Accepted for publication May 5, 2017.

 Niebler, M, Documet, PI, Chaves-Gnecco, D, Guadamuz, TE. Childbirth experiences of immigrant Latina women in a new growth community. Journal of Racial Health Disparities, 3(3):466-472, 2016. DOI 10.1007/s40615-015-0159-y

Elias TI, Williams KR, Hershey TB, Documet PI, Barinas-Mitchell, E, Gary-Webb, T. The Health Equity Certificate Program: A targeted approach to reducing health disparities and increasing the competence of health professional students. Pedagogy in Health Promotion. Published online 2016 August 2428402692.

Holliday CN, McCauley HL, Silverman JG, Ricci E, Decker MR, Tancredi DJ, Burke JG, Documét P, Borrero S, Miller E. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Women's Experiences of Reproductive Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence, and Unintended Pregnancy. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2017 Apr 12. doi:
10.1089/jwh.2016.5996. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID:

Agimi, Y,  Albert SM, Youk, AO, Documet, PI, Steiner, CA. Mandatory Physician Reporting of At-Risk Drivers: The Older Driver Example. Gerontologist. 2017 Jan 9. pii: gnw209. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw209. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28069887.

Macia L, Ruiz HC, Boyzo R, Documet PI. Promotores' perspectives on a male-to-male peer network. Health Educ Res, 31(3):314-327, 2016.  doi: 10.1093/her/cyw016

Casas A, Duell J, O'Malley T, Documet P, Garland R, Albert S, Fabio A. Housing Relocation Policy and Violence: A Literature Review. Trauma, Violence and Abuse; published online Sep. 6, 2015.

Yonas, MA, Jaime, MCD, Barone, J, Valenti, S, Documet, PI, Ryan, CM, Miller E.  Community   Partnered Research Ethics Training Process in Practice – A Collaborative Approach to Certification. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics (JERHRE). (In Press; accepted March, 2016).

Documet, PI, Bear, TM, Flatt, JD, Macia, L, Trauth, J, Ricci EM. The Association of Social Support and Education With Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening. Health Education and Behavior, 42(1): 55-64, 2015.

Documet PI, Kamouyerou A, Pesantes A, Macia L, Maldonado H, Fox AR, Bachurski L, Morgenstern D, Gonzalez M, Boyzo R, Guadamuz T. Participatory Assessment of the Health of Latino Immigrant Men in a Community with a Growing Latino Population. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 17: 239-247, 2015. DOI 10.1007/s10903-013-9897-2

Benadof, D, Polk, D, Documet, PI. Stages and transitions in the development of tooth brushing skills in children of Mexican immigrant families. A qualitative study. Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 75(4): 337-342, 2015. DOI: 10.1111/jphd.12108

Freese KE, Documet PI, Lawrence JJ, Stall R, Laporte RE. Zambian Health Education Using Supercourse (ZHEUS): The Effectiveness of a Computer-based Learning Resource among  Healthcare Professionals in the Southern Province of Zambia. Public Health Reports. 2013.

Documét, P.I., Trauth, J.M., Key M., Flatt, J.D., Jernigan, J. Breast cancer survivors’ perception of survivorship. Oncology Nursing Forum, 39 (3): 309-315, 2012.

Cardoza, V.J., Documét, P.I., Fryer, D.C., Gold, M.A., Butler, J. Sexual Health Behavior Interventions for U.S. Latino Adolescents: A Systematic Review of the Literature. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol, 2011.

Documét, P.I. Confianza. Entry in Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health. Loue, S. and Sajatovic, M. (Eds).New York, NY: Springer, 2011 

Trauth J., Documét P.I., Hawk M., Arnold N. Aligning a Departmental DrPH Program with the new  ASPH Competencies. Public Health Reports, 126(2), 2011).

 Wei C, Fisher R, Wong FY, Silvestre A, Friedman MS, Documet PI, McFarland W, Stall R. Lower HIV Prevalence among Asian/Pacific Islander Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Critical Review for Possible Reasons. AIDS Behavior. 2011; 15 (3):535-549.

Patricia I Documet
© 2018 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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