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Villagran Health Communication

Translating Research to Reality through Communication 

"I am most excited to conduct research that will have a direct, positive impact on our students and our community.” M. Villagran

Dr. Melinda Villagran recently received a federal grant for $694,000 to fund a three-year campus and community partnership to increase communication about alcohol-related sexual risk behaviors among Latino young adults. Existing research suggests students who engage in binge drinking are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, and become victims of sexual assault when they are impaired. Although Texas State currently offers programs and services to combat alcohol abuse and sexual assault on campus, the goal of this project is to create an interdisciplinary infrastructure among students, faculty, and community groups to communicate about sexual risks associated with binge drinking. Over 30% of undergraduate students attending Texas State are Latino, and this program is the first substance abuse prevention program designed specifically for the Latino/a young adult community in San Marcos. Dr. Villagran’s research will play a pivotal role in understanding and addressing the relationship between binge drinking and sexual risks for this important segment of our population.

Dr. Villagran is a professor, and the incoming Chair of the Department of Communication Studies at Texas State. She has written two books on the importance of communication in healthcare, and is the author of over 65 peer-reviewed publications. In 2013, her work was selected by the university to be featured in Texas Monthly magazine. Watch Dr. Villagran in this video to better understand her passion for health communication research.