Dr. Virmarie Correa-Fernández

Dr. Virmarie Correa-Fernández


Title: Associate Professor & PHLS Associate Chair

Department: Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences

Program: Health

Office Number: 411 FH

Phone: 713-743-0334

Email: vcorreafernandez@uh.edu


The overarching mission of my program of research is to generate knowledge that contributes to reducing tobacco-related and behavioral health disparities, particularly among Latinx/Hispanic populations. This line of research is significant because individuals with behavioral health disorders and racial/ethnic minorities experience a disproportionate burden of disease and these disparities can be partially attributed to tobacco-related disparities. Currently, the focus of my research is twofold: (1) to examine psychosocial determinants and moderators (e.g. self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, social support) of different smoking cessation milestones (e.g., initial abstinence, long-term cessation, recovery from lapse) among individuals with depressive and anxiety syndroms, or hazardous alcohol use; and (2) to develop, culturally adapt and test an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-based smoking cessation intervention for Latinx smokers with co-occurring depression/anxiety symptoms. This research is funded by the American Cancer Society through a Mentored Research Scholar Grant (MRSG-15-018-01-CPPB).

Additionally, I am a co-investigator in the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas' Taking Texas Tobacco Free Workplace Program (PI: Reitzel), which involves assisting mental health clinics and substance use treatment centers across Texas to implement tobacco-free workplaces and promote smoking cessation among consumers and staff.

Secondary areas of research interest include understanding and promoting Latinx participation in behavioral health research and psychosocial interventions, multiple risk behaviors, and community-based participatory research.


Recent Publications:

Selected peer-reviewed publications (chronological order).
For a full list of publications, see: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=erYzR_8AAAAJ&hl=en

1. Correa-Fernández V, Davila M, Kamrudin SA, Li DH, Noor SW, Oluyomi AO, Chang S, Cameron C. Educating cancer prevention researchers in emerging biobehavioral models: lessons learned. J Cancer Educ 26(4):633-40, 2011. (Shared primary authorship). PMID: 21720937

2. Correa-Fernández V, Ji L, Castro Y, Heppner WL, Vidrine JI, Costello TJ, Mullen PD, Cofta-Woerpel L, Velasquez MM, Greisinger A, Cinciripini PM, Wetter DW. Mediators of the association of major depressive syndrome and anxiety syndrome with postpartum smoking relapse. J Consult Clin Psychol 80(4):636-48, 2012. PMID: 22390410.

3. Castro Y, Businelle MS, Correa-Fernández V, Kendzor DE, Mazas CA, Cofta-Woerpel L, Wetter DW. Associations between indicators of acculturation and tobacco dependence among Spanish-speaking Latino smokers. Addict Behav 37(10):1101-8, 2012. PMID: 22688345.

4. Correa-Fernández V, Carrión-Baralt JR, Alegría M, Albizu-García CE. Correlates associated with unipolar depressive disorders in a Latino population. Psychopathology 46(3):163-71, 2013. PMID: 23006435.

5. Díaz-Toro E C, Correa-Fernández V, Calo WA, Ortiz A, Mejia L, Mazas C, & Wetter DW. Promoting tobacco cessation and smoke-free workplaces through community outreach partnerships in Puerto Rico. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education & Action, 8(2): 157-68, 2014. PMID: 25152097.

6. Stewart DW, Reitzel LR, Correa-Fernández V, Cano MA, Adams CE, Cao Y, Li Y, Waters AJ, Wetter, DW, & Vidrine JI. Social support mediates the association between health literacy and depression among racially/ethnically diverse smokers with low socioeconomic status. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 37 (6), 1169-1179, 2014. PMID: 25391450

7. Castro Y, Fernández ME, Strong LL, Stewart D, Krasny S, Hernandez Robles E, Heredia N, Spears CA, Correa-Fernández V, Eakin EG, Resnicow K, Basen-Engquist KB, & Wetter DW. Adaptation of a counseling intervention to address multiple cancer risk factors among overweight/obese Latino smokers. Health Education & Behavior 42(1):65-72, 2015. PMID: 25527143.

8. Spears CA, Houchins S, Stewart D W, Chen M, Correa-Fernández V, Cano MA, Heppner, WL, Vidrine, JI, & Wetter, DW. Nonjudging Facet of Mindfulness Predicts Enhanced Smoking Cessation in Hispanics. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 29(4):918-23, 2015. PMID: 25961148

9. Correa-Fernández V, Díaz-Toro EC, Reitzel LR, Guo L, Chen M, Li Y, Calo WA, Shih YCT & Wetter DW. Combined Treatment for At-Risk Drinking and Smoking Cessation among Puerto Ricans: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Addictive Behaviors 65, 185-192, 2017. PMID: 27825036

10. Correa-Fernández V, Wilson WT, Shedrick, D. Kyburz B, LeBlanc H, Stacey T, Williams T, Lam CY, Reitzel LR. Implementation of a Tobacco-free Workplace Program at a Local Mental Health Authority. Translational and Behavioral Medicine, 7 (2), 204-211, 2017. PMID: 28397160.

11. Correa-Fernández, V., Wilson, W. T., Kyburz, B., O’Connor, D., Stacey, T., Williams, T., Lam, C. Y., Reitzel, L.R. Evaluation of the Taking Texas Tobacco Free Workplace Program within Behavioral Health Centers. Translational Behavioral Medicine, (9 )2, 319-327, 2019. PMID: 29955886.

12. Tavakoli, N., Broyles, A., Reid, E., Sandoval, J.R., Correa-Fernández, V. Psychological Inflexibility as it Relates to Stress, Worry, Anxiety, and Somatization in an Ethnically Diverse Sample of College Students. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 11, 1-5, 2019.

Book Chapter:

Correa-Fernández V. & Castro Y. (2016). Using Integrated Care for Addressing Tobacco Use among Latino Populations. In Enhancing Behavioral Health in Latino Populations: Eliminating Disparities through Integrated Behavioral and Primary Care (pp. 231-265). Edited by LT Benuto & W O’Donohue, Springer.



B.A. in Psychology, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, PR, 1997
M.S. in Clinical Psychology, Carlos Albizu University, San Juan, PR, 2001
Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Carlos Albizu University, San Juan, PR, 2003
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Department of Health Disparities Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2013
Professional Certification in Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Rutgers School of Public Health, 2016