Contact Information

Professor of Psychology/Director
Harvard Medical School
Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance
Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research, Cambridge Health Alliance
120 Beacon St., 4th Floor
Somerville, MA 02143
United States of America

Office (617) 503-8447
Fax (617) 503-8430

Research Keywords
  • Mental Health
  • Health Care Disparities
  • Ethnics/Minorities
  • Underserved Populations
  • Latinos
  • Hispanics
Membership Information

Membership Category:
Research Scientists

Member Since: 2001


Margarita Alegría, Ph.D.

Margarita Alegría, Ph.D.


Ph.D., Temple University
M.A., University of Puerto Rico
B.A., Georgetown University


Research Statement


Dr. Margarita Alegría has devoted her professional career to collaborative research projects that focus on disparities in mental health and substance abuse services, with the goal of improving access, equity, and quality of these services for disadvantaged and ethnic/racial minority populations. For 20 plus years, she has led NIH-funded research projects, overseen multisite clinical trials and interventions in health services, conducted research in partnership with participants from clinical and community settings, and advised and disseminated study results and policies to clinicians, government leaders, and the wider community including public service organizations. Her collaborations and research have had a far-reaching global effect, spanning the United States and Puerto Rico, Europe, Asia, and South America.

About Me

Dr. Alegría is the Director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research (CMMHR) at Cambridge Health Alliance, and a full professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Alegría has an extensive publishing history with over 200 titles that include journal articles, book chapters, editorials, and research training manuals that focus on the areas of services research, conceptual and methodological issues with minority populations, risk behaviors, and disparities in service delivery. She is also on the editorial board of two journals, Archivos de Psiquiatría and Health Services Research. Dr. Alegría was the guest editor of the June 2012 supplemental issue of Health Services Research, and authored two of the articles in that issue. In addition to her partnerships and collaborations, research work, and publishing, Dr. Alegría has continued her commitment to mentoring and training. She has mentored over 50 pre- and post-doc faculty members, trainees, and junior investigators, whose interests are in disparities work and other emerging concerns in the mental health field such as immigration, acculturation, and the role of culture and context in both illness and treatment in mental health. She has received several Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship grants, which have greatly enabled her mentoring work to continue, and has been recognized for her mentoring leadership with the 2011 Excellence in Hispanic Mental Health Research Advocacy and Leadership award by the National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health, and the 2011 Excellence in Mentorship award by the National Hispanic Science Network. Dr. Alegría has been nationally honored with the 2003 Mental Health Section Award of the American Public Health Association, the 2006 Greenwood Award for Research Excellence, from the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Program Directors Association, and the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Recognition Award in 2008. Dr. Alegría received international recognition when she was appointed as a member of the Institute of Medicine in 2011. In 2012, Dr. Alegría received the Frances J. Bonner Award for meritorious service in the mental health field for the ethnic and racial minority community from the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry. CURRENT GRANT AWARDS: Dr. Alegría is a co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) of the NIMH grant, 1R01MH098374, Effects of Social Context, Culture and Minority Status on Depression and Anxiety, a collaborative, longitudinal project that investigates the social mechanisms behind ethnic/racial differences in the prevalence of mental illness in Latino young adults. Dr. Alegría is a PI on the NCMHD grant, 5P60MD002261, Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach Research on Health Disparities and Training (EXPORT), which proposes to generate and test interventions that can remedy service disparities in asthma and mental health for disadvantaged Latino and African Caribbean populations. She is also the PI of its supplement, 3P60MD002261-04S1, Comparative Effectiveness Research for Eliminating Disparities (CERED), which tests the efficacy of phone-based depression therapy interventions for depressed Latinos identified in primary care. Dr. Alegría is a Project Director (PD) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) grant 69830, Supporting a Mentoring and Training Program for RWJF’s New Connections Grantees, Alumni, and Network, Round 2. This grant provides for the mentoring and support in didactic research, manuscript publication, grant application, and research funding for junior investigators and trainees. The RWJF grant also provides group-training workshops on methodological skills, and a public forum of researchers, experts, consultants, and senior investigators for the mentees to present their research.

View Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

Alegría, M. (2009). Training for research in mental health and HIV/AIDS among racial and ethnic minority populations: Meeting the needs of new investigators. American Journal of Public Health, 99(S1), S26-S30. PMCID: PMC2724946

Vega, W. A., Canino, G., Cao, Z., & Alegría, M. (2009). Prevalence and correlates of dual diagnoses in U.S. Latinos. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 100, 32-38. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.08.018

Alegría, M., Vallas, M., Pumariega, A. J. (2010). Racial and ethnic disparities in pediatric mental health. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 19(4), 759-774. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2010.07.001, PMCID: PMC3011932

Guarnaccia, P. J., Lewis-Fernandez, R., Martinez Pincay, I., Shrout, P., Guo, J., Torres, M., Alegría, M. (2010). Ataques de nervios as a marker of social and psychiatric vulnerability: Results from the NLAAS. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 53(3), 298-309. PMCID: PMC2865565

Jimenez, D. E., Alegría, M., Chen, C.-N., Chan, D., and Laderman, M. (2010). Prevalence of psychiatric illnesses among ethnic minority elderly. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58(2), 256-264. PMCID: PMC2854540

Alegría, M., Carson, N. J., Goncalves, M., Keefe, K. (2011). Disparities in treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders for ethnic/racial minority youth. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(1), 22-31.

Alegría, M., Wong, Y., Mulvaney-Day, N., Nillni, A., Proctor, E., Nickel, M., Jones, L., Green, B., Koegel, P., Wright, A., Wells, K. (2011). Community-based partnered research: New directions in mental health services research. Ethnicity and Disease, 21(3), S1-S8.

Alegría, M., Lin, J., Chen, C.-N., Duan, N., Cook, B., Meng, X.-L. (2012). The impact of insurance coverage in diminishing racial and ethnic disparities in behavioral health services. Health Services Research, 47(3pt2), 1322-1344.

Alegría, M., Lin, J. Y., Greif Green, J., Sampson, N. A., Gruber, M. J., and Kessler, R. C. (2012). Role of in mental health service disparities for racial and ethnic minority youth. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(7), 703-711.

Alegría, M., Mulvaney-Day, N., Woo, M., & Viruell-Fuentes, E. A. (2012). Psychology of Latino adults: Challenges and an agenda for action. In E. C. Chang & C. A. Downey (Eds.), Handbook of race and development in mental health (pp. 279-306). New York: Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.

Bauer, A. M., Chen, C.-N., Alegría, M. (2012). Associations of physical symptoms with perceived need for and use of mental health services among Latino and Asian Americans. Social Science & Medicine, 75(6), 1128-1133. PMCID: PMC3487465 [available 9/1/13]

Horvitz-Lennon, M., Alegría, M., Normand, S.-L. T. (2012). The effect of race-ethnicity and geography on adoption of innovations in the treatment of schizophrenia. Psychiatric Services. doi: 10.1176/ [published online 10/1/12]

Lapatin, S., Goncalves, M., Nillni, A., Chavez, L., Quinn, R. L., Green, A., Alegría, M. (2012). Lessons from the use of vignettes in the study of mental health service disparities. Health Services Research, 47(3pt2), 1345-1362. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01360.

McLaughlin, K.A., Greif Green, J., Alegría, M., Costello, E. J., Gruber, M. J., Sampson, N. A., Kessler, R. C. (2012). Food insecurity and mental disorders in a national sample of U.S. adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.aac.2012.09.009 [published online 9/27/12]

Molina, K. M., Alegría, M., & Chen, C.-N. (2012). Neighborhood context and substance use disorders: A comparative analysis of racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 125(Suppl 1), S35-S43.