• Catherine Bartch
  • Catherine Bartch
    Catherine Bartch, PhD, is the Associate Director of Latin American and Latinx Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her research interests include Latin American politics, democratic theory, civic education and participation, international development and identity politics.  She has taught an array of courses on these topics and others, including Latin American Politics and Culture, Latin American Political Economy, Gender and Politics, International Relations, Comparative Politics, Constitutional Law, American Politics and Politics of Identity – to name a few—at various regional private and public universities and community colleges.  Prior to her arrival at Penn, she was an Instructor at Monmouth University, where she also served as the Model UN advisor and a United Nations DPI/NGO Monmouth University representative.  She recently completed her dissertation examining how university based civic education initiatives could educate for a participatory democracy, and she is currently expanding these research interests to the Latin American region. 
  • Jere Behrman
  • Jere Behrman

    Jere Behrman, PhD, Kenan Professor of Economics and Sociology at Penn, researches economic development, early childhood development, labor economics, human resources (education, training, health, nutrition), demography, household behaviors, life-cycle and intergenerational relations and policy evaluation.  He has published ~400 articles (primarily in leading general and field economic journals, also in leading demographic, sociology, nutritional and biomedical journals) and 33 books.  He has worked with numerous international organizations, researched or lectured in over 40 countries (including 13 in LAC), principal investigator on over 75 research projects and received various honors, including the 2008 biennial Carlos Diaz-Alejandro Prize for outstanding research contributions to Latin America and a  2011 Doctor Honoris Causa from the Universidad de Chile.

  • Nancy Biller
  • Nancy Biller

    Nancy Biller, MPH, MA, is the Assistant Dean for Global Health Affairs at the School of Nursing.  Her focus is on opportunities for students and faculty to engage in global health activities for maximum impact, globally and locally.  The Latin America and Caribbean region is a priority that led to Penn Nursing’s leadership in forming the PLAC group in 2014.  Previously, Nancy spent 10 years working closely with Associate Dean Neal Nathanson to build Penn Medicine’s Global Health Programs, providing global health experiences to more than 1000 medical students from Penn and from international medical schools. Nancy has a BA in French from the State University of New York at Albany, an MA in International Affairs from Ohio University, and an MPH from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

  • William Burke-White
  • William Burke-White

    William Burke-White, PhD, JD, MPhil, an expert on international law and global governance, served in the Obama Administration from 2009-2011 on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff, providing the Secretary direct policy advice on multilateral diplomacy and international institutions. He was principal drafter of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Secretary Clinton’s hallmark foreign policy and institutional reform effort. Burke-White has written extensively in the fields of international law and institutions, with focus on international criminal and international economic law. His work has addressed issues of post-conflict justice; the International Criminal Court; international human rights, and international arbitration. His current research explores gaps in the global governance system and the challenges of international legal regulation in a world of rising powers and divergent interests. This work has led Professor Burke-White to study Brazil’s role in the BRIC economies and Latin America and to develop a course for Penn Law students that allowed them to travel to Brazil as part of their research.

  • Alison Buttenheim
  • Alison Buttenheim

    Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, wants to understand how people make decisions about their health and focuses her research on the use of behavioral economics to increase the uptake of evidence-based care. Her work ranges from how households in Peru decide whether to apply insecticide to eliminate a disease-carrying insect vector to why parents in the United States request exemptions from child immunization laws.

    Through her involvement with Penn’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, Dr. Buttenheim is working with colleagues in epidemiology, politics, statistics, and mathematics on an NIH-funded study to reduce the transmission of Chagas disease (a neglected topical parasitic disease) in Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city.  The study aims both to eliminate transmission of the parasite and to use behavioral economics to understand factors that influence residents’ decisions about having their homes sprayed with insecticide.
  • Manuel de la Cruz Gutierrez
  • Manuel de la Cruz Gutierrez

    Manuel de la Cruz Gutiérrez, PhD, MLS, is the Penn Libraries' inaugural Research and Knowledge Management Liaison Librarian. Based in the Biomedical Library, he promotes library services and resources to research communities throughout the science and health science schools at Penn. He also serves as the Libraries' Liaison to the Biomedical Graduate Studies program at the Perelman School of Medicine. He has a B.S. in Physics from the Universidad de Guadalajara, a Ph.D. in Optics from the University of Rochester (via a Fulbright scholarship), and he did post-doctoral training in neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston. Manuel earned his Master's degree in Library Science from Texas Woman's University.
    Manuel manages the PLAC website.

  • Tulia Falleti
  • Tulia Falleti

    Tulia G. Falleti, PhD, MA, is The Class of 1965 Term Associate Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Decentralization and Subnational Politics in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2010), which earned the Donna Lee Van Cott Award to the best book on political institutions by the Latin American Studies Association. Her articles on federalism, decentralization, authoritarianism, and qualitative methods have appeared in the American Political Science ReviewComparative Political StudiesPubliusStudies in Comparative International DevelopmentQualitative Sociology, among other journals and volumes.  

  • Antonio Garcia
  • Antonio Garcia

    Antonio Garcia, MSW, PhD, has had a research trajectory informed and enriched by his experience as a former Child Protective Services Worker and Supervisor in Washington State. Having broad inter-disciplinary training in Psychology, Spanish, Social Work, and Services Research, he is committed to and understands the salience of effectively engaging community stakeholders, relying on relevant theoretical frameworks, and implementing advanced statistical and qualitative methods to shrink the child welfare research to practice gap. Since he joined the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor in 2012, he has focused on understanding epidemiological trends related to children of color’s experiences in foster care. Most recently, his research has illuminated organizational and contextual factors that increase their odds of out-of-home displacement; and their lack of access to and use of evidence-supported interventions as compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Taking stock of his findings, he is currently capitalizing on what we know to be effective to address the mental health needs of at-risk youth and families in the City of Philadelphia. His long-term career goal is to develop effective dissemination and implementation strategies to promote the use of evidence-based or promising practices and policies for the racially/ethnically diverse pool of youth and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. 

  • Johnny Irizarry
  • Johnny Irizarry

    Johnny Irizarry serves as Director of the Center for Hispanic Excellence: La Casa Latina, at the University of Pennsylvania. Irizarry served as Executive Director of The Lighthouse, a multi-service community based Neighborhood Center and of Taller Puertorriqueño (a Latino arts & cultural center) in North Philadelphia. Irizarry also worked as a teacher and was Program Specialist for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies for the School District of Philadelphia's Office of Curriculum Support.

  • Michael Levy
  • Michael Levy

    Michael Levy, PhD, leads a joint venture between the University of Pennsylvania and the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia to combat Chagas disease transmission in Arequipa, Peru. His research team in Peru conducts epidemiological studies on Chagas disease as well as entomological and ecological research on disease vectors and reservoirs. In addition his team uses quantitative and qualitative methods to elucidate the factors that have led to urbanization of a disease traditionally associated with rural poverty. 

  • Katya Rascovsky
  • Katya Rascovsky

    Dr. Katya Rascovsky is a Research Assistant Professor at the Penn Frontotemporal Degeneration Center and Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.  She was awarded her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuropsychology at the Memory and Aging Center, University of California San Francisco.

    Dr. Rascovsky’s research focuses on the cognitive and behavioral characteristics of young-onset dementias. As a former Research Associate at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) and Co-Director of the UCSF Latino Memory Clinic, she has experience in the diagnosis and management of Latino dementia patients both in Latin America and the US.  She currently oversees a Latin American consortium to study young-onset dementia with sites in Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Argentina. Dr. Rascovsky also directs an initiative to translate and adapt the NIA-funded National Alzheimer Coordinating Center (NACC) clinical and cognitive modules to study dementia in Spanish-speaking Latino populations. 

  • Antonia Villarruel
  • Antonia Villarruel

    Antonia M. Villarruel, Ph.D., RN, FAAN is the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Director of the School’s WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership. As a bilingual and bicultural researcher, Dr. Villarruel has extensive research and practice experience with Latino populations, health promotion and disparities. Using a community-based participatory approach, she has been the PI/Co-PI of over eight RCTs on reducing high risk behaviors in teens. One program, to reduce sexual risk behavior among Latino youth – entitled Cuídate! is disseminated nationally.  Dr. Villarruel holds many leadership positions.  She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Nursing; serves as Chair of the IOM Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities and Co-chair of the Strategic Advisory Council of the AARP/RWJ Future of Nursing Campaign for Action.  Most recently, Dr. Villarruel was a member of the National Academy of Medicine Committee on Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health resulting in the report, A Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health (2016).