Implementation Science as a Tool to Promote Health Equity

Marizaida Sánchez Cesáreo, PhD

Marizaida Sánchez Cesáreo, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in Clinical-Community Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies. She is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico, and the Co-Leaders of the Community Engagement Core of the Hispanic Alliance for Clinical & Translational Research and the Co-PI of the Puerto Rico Community Action Research and Engagement (PR-CARE) study.

Works in the implementation science field since 1989 with expertise in program development, program evaluation, capacity building, technical assistance, community based-research, and evidence-based interventions.

Between 1993 and 2007 worked in violence prevention in Illinois at the state, county, and neighborhood levels. From 2003 to 2005 worked at the national level as part of the Adolescent HIV Trial Network-Connect to Protect Project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Since 2008, her work focuses on the promotion of policies, practices, and programs that aim to facilitate the optimal development of children, youth, and families by addressing health disparities that affect their lives. In collaboration with community partners, currently, her team implements 15 evidence-based interventions. Has implemented over 50 projects based on the principle of Collective Impact and the premise that sustainable social change comes from purposeful work of a triad comprising of implementer, investor, and scientific partner.

In 2012, she spearheaded a local effort to institute the Puerto Rico Evidence-Based Board ( The PR-EBB’s mission is to identify, establish, provide, and disseminate preventive evidence practices and programs in Spanish through the first digital database of EBPs in Spanish ( created in 2008.

For the last 20+ years, her work has focused on the development of Parenting Fundamentals (PF), an evidence-based parenting education intervention.

In 2018 she was designated to represent Puerto Rico as the first delegate to the International Union of Psychological Science. I have been recognized by the Puerto Rico Psychology Association as Psychologist of the Year in 2011 and for Contributions to Public Policy in 2016.

Dra. Edna Acosta

Edna Acosta Perez, PhD


Edna Acosta-Perez PhD, MSc, Assistant Professor, Graduate School Public Health, Medical Science Campus, University of Puerto Rico. Social and Community Researcher at the Hispanic Alliance for Clinical and Translational Research (Alliance) and the Behavioral Sciences Research Institute, both at the University of Puerto Rico (PR), and Albizu University Dr. Acosta-Pérez, a mid-career researcher, is the Leader of the Community Research and Engagement Core of the Alliance and Coordinator of the Community Research Initiative of PR Alliance for the Advancement of Biomedical Research Excellence where she promotes community-campus partnerships and collaborations as models for promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and translational research. Dr. Acosta-Pérez received a PhD in psychology (2005) and a post-doctoral in clinical research (2009) at the University of Puerto Rico. She was certified as a Community Based Participatory Researcher by the University of New México. Dr AcostaPérez focus on community engagement, community action research and implementation science research across human life course in topics such like health promotion & prevention, mental health, asthma, sexuality, violence, disaster, and obesity. Currently, she is directing initiatives in maternal-paternalinfantchild health, teenage pregnancy prevention, COVID-19 awareness, testing and vaccination in elderly and rural communities, adversity and mental health, and inclusion of minorities and vulnerable communities in research.