PHOTO: Laura Mata Lopez

Laura Mata Lopez

Laura Mata Lopez, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP is pursuing a PhD at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHSON) in Baltimore, MD and is a recipient of the 2023 Nurses’ Educational Funds (NEF) and Johnson & Johnson Health Equity Scholarship. She holds a BSN and MSN from Boston College School of Nursing (BCSON). Born and raised in Costa Rica, her practice and research are informed by stories of hardship and resilience passed down by generations of women in her family, and those entrusted to her by patients. These fuel her commitment to highlight the perspectives of Latino(a) immigrants and communities in research.

As a public health nurse and a lifespan psychiatric nurse practitioner, Laura has over seven years of clinical experience providing low-barrier, culturally and linguistically concordant, integrated mental health and substance use services to Latino(a) immigrants in a safety-net community. She has worked in an array of public settings including federally qualified health centers, mobile health, and county mental health systems. Laura’s research seeks to leverage community processes and mixed methods to identify individual, familial, communal, and societal factors that influence the psychological well-being of Latina women and families impacted by conflict, trauma, and suicide. She also hopes to elucidate how Latina immigrants navigate disruptions in social capital that occur during migration by seeking communal and cultural resources and interactions to collectively mitigate the impact of trauma and stress.

Laura is a Minority Doctoral Fellow through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)/American Nurses Association (ANA) and a 2023 Abbott Scholar through the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). She received the 2023 Excellence in Health Equity Research Award from the JHSON. She served as a member of the Proposition 64 Advisory Committee through the Department of Health Care Services for the State of California and as a member of the NAHN Policy and Advocacy Committee. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society Alpha Chi (BCSON) and Nu Beta (JHSON) Chapters and was a recipient of the Nurse Corps Scholarship through the Human Resources and Services Administration.

Ms. Mata Lopez also has extensive experience conducting research with other structurally oppressed and socially excluded communities. Through the mentorship of Dr. Teresa Brockie at JHSON, Ms. Mata Lopez is conducting research to better understand the historical and contemporary factors that exacerbate the risk, and protect from, suicide and suicide clusters among reservation-based Native American youth at Fort Belknap, Montana. Ms. Mata Lopez is passionate about creating and fostering community-based pathways to nursing education – particularly in historically marginalized and medically under-resourced communities. She is honored to serve as part of the nursing faculty for the “Grow Our Own” program at Aaniiih Nakoda College – a tribal community college serving the Fort Belknap community. Her doctoral training at Johns Hopkins University and the support from the NEF/J&J Scholarship will foster Laura’s long-term career goals of becoming an independent researcher with expertise in health equity, social policy, suicide-prevention, migration and implementation science.

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