Center for Addiction Medicine

Margarita Alegria, PhD

Margarita Alegria Square

Chief of the Disparities Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School

Contact:     (617) 724-4987


Dr Alegria is dedicated to understanding and improving health services, and eliminating health and health care disparities for diverse racial and ethnic and/or immigrant populations through state of the art research methods and innovative statistical approaches. She leads a dynamic team of clinicians, policy analysts, health economists, and statisticians who address questions regarding health service delivery, health policy, and public health for multicultural populations using epidemiology, systems and organizational theory, economics and financing, and qualitative and quantitative methods. She is a member of the National Academies (formerly the Institute on Medicine) and leads major projects, including a NIA-funded intervention aiming to prevent physical and mental disability among racial/ethnic minority elders, a William T. Grant Foundation (WTGF)-funded project that seeks to understand the experience of majority and minority status through photovoice, and a NIMH-funded project examining the effects of neighborhood context, culture, and minority status on depression anxiety.

Current Projects

Mechanisms Underlying Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Mental Disorders

NIMHD R01 MD009719 2015 – 19

To address gaps in our understanding of patterns of onset and persistence of mental disorders for racial/ethnic minorities and investigates 4 mechanisms that might help explain these disparities


Building Community Capacity for Disability Prevention for Minority Elders

NIA/NIMH R01 AG046149 2014 – 19

The rapid expansion of the aging population is outstripping the development of mental health and disability prevention services necessary to respond to their needs. This project evaluates whether partnerships between academic researchers, minority elders, and the community-based organizations which serve them can expand community resources and capabilities to effectively provide mental health services and reduce the risk of disability in minority elders in need.


Understanding the Experience of Majority and Minority Status through Photovoice

William T. Grant Foundation 185355 2016 – 19

To identify mechanisms for disparities intervention via policy and practice initiatives aimed at increasing protective factors and reducing risk factors associated with negative behavioral health (elevated symptoms of depression, suicidality and substance misuse) to reduce behavioral health inequality between majority and minority racial/ethnic groups living in four different neighborhoods


A New Statistical Paradigm for Measuring Psychopathology Dimensions in Youth

NIMH R01 MH100155 2013 – 18

This supplement utilizes differential item functioning methodology to determine whether mental health survey items presented to Latinos in Spanish differ from those presented to non-Latinos in English, in how they relate to underlying latent psychopathology constructs. Also to identify key questions that can be used to screen for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder in Spanish-speaking Latinos


Effects of Social Context, Culture, and Minority Status on Depression & Anxiety

NIMH 5R01MH098374-03 2012-2017

The longitudinal project is the first to investigate the long-term effects of early experiences of minority status and acculturation on Latino young-adult mental illness. It holds much promise for understanding the individual, family and neighborhood-level factors to target for interventions to prevent the onset of major depression disorder and anxiety and depressive symptoms in minority youth and young adults.

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