Alane Celeste-Villalvir

PhD Student, Management, Policy, and Community Health
Alane Celeste-Villalvir
Academic Institution: University of Texas Location: Houston, Texas Cohort Start Year: 2018
Research Topics: Addiction and Substance Use, Behavioral and Mental Health, Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Food Systems and Nutrition, Healthcare Access, Healthcare Quality, Public Policy, Public, Population, and Community Health, Violence and Trauma
Populations Served: Adolescents (12-20 years), African-American/Black, At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, Homeless, Immigrants and Refugees, Incarcerated or Formally Incarcerated Populations, LGBTQ+ Communities, Low-Income Communities, People Living with HIV/AIDS, People with Addictions, People with Disabilities, Urban Communities, Women's Health, Young Children (0-5 years)

Public health programs, policies, and research have been historically proscriptive, excluding marginalized communities and often denying them the agency to define their health needs and solutions. Alane’s research interests center on addressing health disparities in underserved communities in a way that promotes equity, inclusion, and cultural humility. Her research focuses on elucidating the characteristics and experiences of vulnerable populations, specifically the health and wellness needs of individuals with experiences of homelessness, substance use, incarceration, those engaged in sex work, and sexual/gender minorities. Alane’s goals are to address such issues by way of community-driven, collaborative research that looks to develop new community programs, strengthen existing programs, and make adequate policy recommendations. Alane envisions her research integrating health and social services in order to remove stigma and better serve disenfranchised populations.

Having been born and raised in New York City, with nine years of her childhood spent in the Dominican Republic, Alane brings a multicultural and multidimensional perspective of community health based on both personal and secondhand experience. She knows firsthand the detrimental effects of systemic exclusion and marginalization, limited public health programming, and poverty. She comes with more than 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including experience in program management, advocacy, and community organizing. Her research looks to move away from top-down research models, and shift the power dynamic between academics and the communities they work with to promote trust and collaboration.

Finding the Missing Millions: An Exploration of Challenges and Facilitators to Hepatitis C (HCV) Screening among Individuals Experiencing Homelessness 

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a leading cause of death and the most common bloodborne illness in the United States (U.S), and people experiencing homelessness are at higher risk of HCV because they are particularly vulnerable to risk factors related to HCV. Screening is the first step in the HCV care continuum, and community programs may be an effective way to screen and diagnose people experiencing homelessness for HCV. This study explored the challenges and facilitators to HCV screening among people experiencing homelessness, as reported by employees of two homeless service providers and people experiencing homelessness in Houston, Texas.


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