The University of Texas at Austin Latino Research Initiative

Research Staff

Laura Delfausse

Laura A. Delfausse
Health Educator, Latino Research Institute (512) 471-4117 | GWB 1.132

Laura Delfausse is the Health Educator for the Healthy Frio Project at The University of Texas at Austin. She has experience in community nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and clinical research. She holds a M.S. from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA and a B.A. from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL. Her graduate school research focused on childhood obesity and she just completed a dairy and blood pressure research project in the Kinesiology and Health Education Department at The University of Texas at Austin. Laura is a registered and licensed dietitian, and believes that a balanced lifestyle is the key to achieving lifelong health.

Vanessa Errisuriz

Vanessa Errisuriz
Social Science/Humanities Research Associate, Latino Research Institute (512) 232-6890 | GWB 2.316

Vanessa Errisuriz is a Research Associate with the Latino Research Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Errisuriz’s research focuses on using a socioecological-based approach to identify significant contributors to child obesity, rural health disparities, and program implementation. She has extensive training in the assessment of physical activity and dietary behaviors as well as a broad background in psychology, with knowledge to assess theoretically-related constructs associated with health behaviors and program implementation. Currently, Dr. Errisuriz serves as project coordinator for two, NIH-funded R01s entitled. “Healthy Frio: A Rural Partnership to Advance Latino Obesity Research” and “¡Miranos! Look at Us, We are Healthy”, both of which focus on providing theoretically-based, culturally competent health interventions to Latino families. She received her Ph.D. in Health Behavior and Health Education from The University of Texas at Austin, a M.A. in Health Psychology from Texas State University - San Marcos, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Laura Esparza

Laura Esparza
Assistant Director, Latino Research Institute (512) 232-6887 GWB 2.304

Laura Esparza is the Assistant Director of the Latino Research Institute. Ms. Esparza has more than twenty years of experience in business and project management, including ten years in public health research. Her research and training focus on using participatory research methods to design, implement and evaluate community interventions to promote healthy lifestyles for women, youth, and families. From 2009–16, Ms. Esparza served as project coordinator for multiple research studies at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She also served in a leadership role for multiple community health initiatives on behalf of the IHPR and developed strategic partnerships to advance the IHPR’s research and training programs. Ms. Esparza holds an M.S. in health and kinesiology from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio. She maintains two professional certifications: Physical Activity and Public Health Specialist and Master Certified Health Education Specialist.

Eva Gonzalez Villanueva

Eva González Villanueva
Social Science/Humanities Research Associate I, Latino Research Institute (512) 232-6910 GWB 1.110

Eva González Villanueva is a Research Associate with the Latino Research Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. Eva was born in Monterrey, México and immigrated to the United States in 2010. In 2018, Eva graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Psychology, a minor in Health Communication, and a certificate in Intervention and Vulnerable Children. Eva joins the LRI with two years of undergraduate research experience from six different university laboratories and/or projects. Her current research interests include: Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Virtual Learning and Interventions, and Health Communication. In her spare time, Eva enjoys brewing a good cup of coffee and reading, particularly anything written by Isabel Allende.

Eva Gonzalez Villanueva

Christina Leal
Social Science/Humanities Research Assistant III, Latino Research Institute | (956) 456-1828

Christina Leal is a Research Assistant at the Latino Research Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. She obtained her Bachelors of Social Work from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and she is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Social Work with a concentration in direct practice with Latino individuals, families and groups. Her interests are increasing mental health awareness and increasing knowledge of mental health resources to reduce the stigma associated with mental health in the Rio Grande Valley. She has experience in engaging, assessing, intervening and evaluating individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities in social service agencies. She is involved in the Entre Familia project which aims at increasing HPV vaccination among Hispanic adolescents and young adults. In her leisure time, Christina enjoys refurbishing antique furniture and tending to her herb garden with her son.

Emma Mancha-Sumners

Emma Mancha-Sumners
Research Scientist, Latino Research Institute (512) 471-7192 GWB 2.302

Dr. Mancha-Sumners is a Research Scientist for the Latino Research Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. She joins the Institute with an applied background in academia, government, non-profit, and quasi-corporate settings, and has over 20 years of experience in Demography, GIS, metrics, policy/program evaluation, research, statistics, and education, focusing on vulnerable populations. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Demography, with a Health specialization (2011), and a Master’s in Public Administration, with a Management specialization (2004) from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a Bachelor’s in Sociology with a Minor in Anthropology, from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. To view Dr. Mancha-Summers' CV, click here.

Marisol McDaniel
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Latino Research Institute SW 3.212CC

Marisol McDaniel is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (T32) at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin promoting equity in cardiovascular disease research. Her research interests include the built environment, water and food access, and health equity. She has experience with implementing and evaluating family healthy lifestyle interventions and managing eHealth applications, and is involved in several of the Latino Research Institute’s projects, including Health4Kids, ELCIR, and Healthy Frio. Dr. McDaniel graduated with a Dr.P.H. in Community Health Practice from the UT School of Public Health. She holds a M.P.H. degree from the UT School of Public Health and a B.A. from Rice University. She is interested in how the built environment and the perception of the built environment may lead to health disparities among ethnic minorities and ways to implement sustainable positive changes in the built environment through community-based participatory strategies.

Vicky Morales

Vicky Morales
Social Science/Humanities Research Associate I, Latino Research Institute | (956) 532-4204

Vicky Morales is a Clinic Program Coordinator at the Latino Research Institute at The University of Texas Austin.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and an associate degree in Interdisciplinary studies from South Texas College in McAllen, Texas.  She has four years’ experience in Public Health in the Lower Rio Grande Valley Latino community.  She is the lead project coordinator for Entre Familia project focused on increasing education to the community on HPV vaccine and Cancer prevention.

Jesus Moralez

Jesus Moralez
Community Coordinator, Latino Research Institute | (956) 720-7750

Jesus Moralez is a Community Coordinator at the Latino Research Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. He obtained his Masters of Public Health from Texas A&M University and has experience in development and operation of disease and disease complication prevention interventions. His interests are in research of behavioral science and behavior modification to reduce the risk of disease and increasing knowledge of new and innovative methods to address health issues. His experience includes contributions in diabetes and diabetes complication prevention through local administration of evidence-based programs in a largely Hispanic population. He is involved in the Entre Familia project which aims at increasing HPV vaccination among Hispanic adolescents and young adults. He is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in Public Health through the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Alice Villatoro

Alice P. Villatoro
Research Scientist, Latino Research Institute | (512) 232-9166 GWB 2.316

Alice Villatoro is a Research Scientist at the Latino Research Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Villatoro’s research centers on understanding the psychosocial, cultural, and attitudinal factors that influence racial/ethnic disparities in mental health care access and utilization. Her approach to this research is multidisciplinary in that it fuses theory-driven basic research common in health policy, psychology, and sociology with an applied population health orientation that is the hallmark of public health. As a result, Dr. Villatoro’s work identifies significant points of intervention for improving help-seeking behaviors among underserved populations and reducing disparities in mental health treatment. Dr. Villatoro has extensive experience with analyzing large epidemiologic data sets as well as running and managing longitudinal research studies. She received her Ph.D. in Health Services with a cognate in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed her postdoctoral training in Psychiatric Epidemiology at Columbia University in the City of New York.