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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 Public Health
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 nine 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. 


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 and manuscript development, 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. For a few years I have also been teaching “Measurement in the Social and Behavioral Sciences,” where I emphasize practical aspects of the selection and use of scales that fit the culture and needs of the particular community students are working with. 

Recently, I have been taking advantage of yearly Provost’s initiatives to offer students an opportunity to plan and execute a project. In 2018, as part of the Year of Healthy U, three students led “Pitt Moves!” a project to implement physical activity breaks in classes. We enrolled ten courses and a total of 134 students. We are currently working on a publication with a student as the lead author. The previous year, at the initiative of a student, I obtained funding for 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 A manuscript is under review.

I 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 July 2012, I have been serving as Scientific Director of the Center for Health Equity (CHE). Aspart of CHE, I have organized the Interdisciplinary Latino Research Initiative, a group of researchers, students and staff that meets once a semester to discuss relevant issues for Latinos and to network. I have also organized the Journal Club and Symposia and Focused Writing, a series of three hour writing meetings that use friendly peer pressure to accomplish goals and build community.  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 my community service. I am Vice President of the Board of Casa San Jose, a resource center for Latinos that works for human rights and aims at facilitating integration to the larger community.  

Selected Publications

Documet, PI, Troyer, MM, Macia, L. Social Support, Health, and Health Care Access Among Latino Immigrant Men in an Emerging Community. Health Education and Behavior.  2018, Mar. [Epub ahead of print]. 


Wilches-Gutierrez, J. Documet, P. What is known about sexual and reproductive health in Latin American and Caribbean mining contexts? A systematic scoping review. Public Health Review. 2018, Jan. 5. 39: 1, eCollection 2018.


Taverno Ross, SE. Barone Gibbs, B, Documet, PI, Pate, RR. ANDALE Pittsburgh: results of a promotora-led, home-based intervention to promote a healthy weight in Latino preschool children. BMC Public Health, 2018. 18(1): 360.


Holliday CN, Tancredi DJ, McCauley HL, Decker MR, Miller E. Documet, PI, Borrero S, Ricci E, Silverman JG, Burke JG. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Pregnancy Intention, Reproductive Coercion, and Partner Violence among Family Planning Clients: A Qualitative Exploration. Women’s Health Issues. 2018, Apr. [Epub ahead of print].


Agimi Y, Albert SM, Youk AO, Documet PI, Steiner CA. Mandatory Physician Reporting of At-Risk Drivers: The Older Driver Example. Gerontologist. 2018; 58(3):578-587. 


Taverno-Ross SE, Macia L, Documét PI, Escribano C, Mirzakazemi T, Smith-Tapia I. Latino parents' perceptions of physical activity and healthy eating: at the intersection of culture, family, and health. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2017, Dec.; accepted for publication.


Pesantes, MA, Documet, PI. Helping undocumented children in an emerging Latino community. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care. 2017; 13(3):309-320.


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. 2018; 19(3):427-436. doi: 10.1177/1524839917697914.

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. 2017; 2(14):85-91.

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. 2017; 3(3):187-194.

 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; 26(8):828-835. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2016.5996. 

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, 2016; 3(3):466-472, 2016. DOI 10.1007/s40615-015-0159-y

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. 2016; 17(3): 332-342, DOI: 10.1177/PubMed PMID: 26463171 PMCID: PMC4833632.

Macia L, Ruiz HC, Boyzo R, Documet PI. Promotores' perspectives on a male-to-male peer network. Health Educ Res. 2016; 31(3):314-327. 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. 2016; 17(5):601-610. 


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). 2016; 11(2): 97-105. 

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, 2015; 42(1): 55-64.  

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, 2015; 17: 239-247. 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, 2015; 75(4): 337-342. DOI: 10.1111/jphd.12108. 


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

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