Meet the Staff
Dr. Maria Idali Torres, Director
Maria Idalí Torres is the current director of the Gastón Institute, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is an applied anthropologist with a specialty in community health education, community participatory action research and qualitative methodologies. She obtained a PhD from the University of Connecticut, a MS in Public Health from the University of Massachusetts and a BA in Health Education from the University of Puerto Rico. Prior to her current position she spent 17 years as a professor of public health at the UMass Amherst campus, and another 15 years practicing health education in community and school settings. She has over 20 years of experience in planning, implementing and evaluating health programs in schools and community settings. Dr. Torres’ research and publications have focused on the promotion, protection, and maintenance of health in Puerto Rico and Massachusetts. Most recently, she has been working on Latino youth sexual health disparities and the prevention of teenage pregnancy. Her scholarship promotes community capacity, combines trans-disciplinary orientations and uses participatory research methodologies and partnerships with community residents and organizations. Professor Torres has served as consultant on health projects at the local, state and national levels and is an active member of the Society for Applied Anthropology and the American Public Health Association. She has received numerous grants and awards for her work at the local, state, and national levels.
Research interests include sexual health education, cultural explanatory models of health, participatory health education and intervention research in Puerto Rican communities, community organizing and health development, and Latina women's health. (full bio).
Research Associate for Education
Andrew Flannery Aguilar
Ana María Sánchez
Carlos Alberto Velázquez
Cristina Araujo Brinkerhoff
Aline Da Fonseca
Diego Gómez Aristizabal
Tariana V. Little