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Professor, Social Medicine Faculty Fellow, Carolina Population Center Adjunct Professor, Health Policy and Management Adjunct Professor, Health Behavior Adjunct Professor, Maternal and Child Health

PhD, Health Economics
Department of Health Policy and Management
U.C. Berkeley

Krista M. Perreira, Ph.D. is a Professor of Social Medicine as well as a faculty fellow in the Carolina Population Center. Her research focuses on the relationships among family, migration, and social policy, with an emphasis on improving health equity and eliminating racial, gender, and socio-economic disparities in health. Integrating economic, psychological, sociological theory, her research is highly interdisciplinary involving collaborations with scholars in public health, medicine, nursing, psychology, sociology and other disciplines. Her research also emphasizes partnerships with community-based organizations, schools, and local and state government committees in North Carolina. As a result, she has served as an advisory committee member or on the board of directors for several task forces and non-profit organizations seeking to improve the provision of services to Latino populations, immigrant and refugees in North Carolina.

In 2003, Dr. Perreira received a national Young Scholar award from the Foundation for Child Development for her work on the health of immigrant children. In 2010, she received the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill. In 2014, she was awarded the Edward Kidder Graham Faculty Service Award for her national and state service to promote the welfare of immigrants and their families.

Dr. Perreira has received funding for her work on cardiovascular health from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood. This includes funding for the nationwide Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), the Study of Latino Youth (SOL Youth), and the Study of Latino Stress, Gender, and Minority status (SOL SGM). With support from the Russell Sage, Spencer, and William T. Grant Foundations, she has combined qualitative and quantitative methodologies to identify how acculturation and migration processes influence the mental health and academic achievement of Latino youth in North Carolina. With funding from the Anne E. Casey Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, she has also evaluated the health of immigrant populations (including unauthorized immigrants and unaccompanied minors) and their access to public health insurance and related public assistance programs. Her scholarship has been published in leading journals in demography (e.g., Demography), economics (e.g., Journal of Risk and Uncertainty), Medicine and Epidemiology (e.g., JAMA, NEJM), public health (e.g., American Journal of Public Health, Social Science and Medicine), psychology (e.g., Journal of Social Issues), social epidemiology, and sociology (e.g., Social Forces).

Her teaching and mentorship of young scholars are well aligned with her research interests in low-income, immigrant, Latino, and other vulnerable populations. Prior to joining the faculty of UNC School of Medicine, Dr. Perreira served as the Associate Dean of the Office for Undergraduate Research (OUR) and Professor of Public Policy in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in policy analysis, research design, immigration policy, and health policy. In addition, she has served as a policy analyst for FHI 360, the Migration Policy Institute, the Rand Corporation, the Urban Institute, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

The promotion of health equity and social justice provide the basis for Dr. Perreira’s research and teaching activities.  In her research, she combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies to study migration and the health consequences of migration.  Additionally, she studies many aspects of Hispanic/Latino health including mental health, cardiovascular health, and access to health care services. Most recently, she has turned her attention towards promoting health equity for sexual and gender minority populations within the Latinx community.  Throughout all these research activities, she seeks to understand the links between stigma, discrimination, and social policies which can both undermine and promote health. In teaching medical students, she builds on each of these themes to help guide students in their efforts to provide care to diverse populations.  Her SHS3 course on migration and policy focuses extensively on the historical and contemporary policies affecting the health of immigrants to the United States. She also works with community-based organizations and serves on several county, state, and national committees to promote social justice and health equity. Dr. Perreira has served as the Department’s Diversity Liaison from 2019-2022.

Krista Perreira, PhD
  • Phone Numbers

    (919) 843 4505 (Office Phone)

  • 919-966-7499 (Fax)

  • Address

    Department of Social Medicine

    University of North Carolina School of Medicine


    Chapel Hill, NC 27599