Skip to Content


dr melinda villagran


Dr. Melinda Villagran


Ph.D. University of Oklahoma
Health Communication, Organizational Communication

Office: Centennial Hall 301
Phone: 512.245.8094

About Dr. Villagran

Dr. Melinda Villagran's program of research examines cultural and structural barriers to effective health communication. For over 20 years, Dr. Villagran has been engaged in scholarship seeking to improve the health and quality of life for at-risk populations. She was recently appointed to direct the university's  Translational Health Research Initiative, and will be working with departments, colleges, and investigators across campus to increase interdisciplinary and funded health research activities.  Dr. Villagran is also currently the Principal Investigator on two federally funded research programs investigating the relationships among communication, substance use, and sexual health risk behaviors.  The Bienestar Coalition (funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), is a campus and community intervention seeking to reduce sexual health risks including HIV among Latino young adults.  SHARE (Sexual Health Awareness and Risk Education)  is a federally funded health communication intervention targeting veterans and LGBTQIA young adults engaged in risky substance use behaviors.

Dr. Villagran has authored two books and over 65 peer-reviewed publications on communication topics. She has served as a guest editor for national and international journals, won several top paper awards, and has served as a scientific grant reviewer and editorial board member for regional, national, and international journals. Her work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including Communication Monographs, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Communication Education, Health Communication, the Journal of Graduate Medical Education, and Patient Education and Counseling. She has been quoted as a communication expert in numerous regional and national media outlets, including the Washington Post, Washington Examiner, AARP Magazine (bilingual edition), ABC News, and the Wisconsin Law Review. Her work has been funded by the Department of Defense, CDC, the Department of Homeland Security, Merck Pharmaceutical, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and several other funding agencies.

Dr. Villagran previously served as a graduate program director and faculty member at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She also previously worked at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, and UTSA. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in health and organizational communication and research methods.