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Jenny Guadamuz, PhD, MSPH
  • Discipline: Health Services Research and Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Research interests: I am interested in identifying how structural determinants (i.e., macro-level systems, institutions, and policies) impact the use of healthcare, especially medications among minoritized racial/ethnic populations. My current research focuses on health and healthcare inequities across immigration status (i.e., nativity, citizenship, documentation, and visa statuses) in the Latinx population. Immigration status is a critical yet overlooked factor influencing inequities because noncitizens endure significant barriers to legal and social protections, including systemic exclusions from healthcare.
  • Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
  • Current City: Berkeley
  • Hobbies: Cuddling my cats (and random dogs while on long walks), watching TV, and reading (in that order)

In July 2023, Berkeley Public Health welcomed new Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management Jenny Guadamuz. Dr. Guadamuz received her PhD in pharmacoepidemiology and pharmaceutical policy from the University of Illinois Chicago in 2020, MS from the University of Illinois Chicago in 2017, and BA from Saint Louis University in 2013. We asked her about her work and hopes for the semester.

Berkeley Public Health: Where did you live and work before joining the UC Berkeley School of Public Health?

Jenny Guadamuz: Prior to joining UC Berkeley, I was working in the biotech industry and was based out of New York City. I completed my postdoctoral training remotely while living in Brussels, Belgium, and my graduate studies in Chicago.

What drew you to work and teach at UC Berkeley? Are there any researchers here who you really wanted to work with?

I am joining the UC Berkeley School of Public because few universities are better suited to support research that assesses and addresses structural barriers to Latinx health. I am so excited about the opportunity to collaborate with my fellow members of the Latinx and Democracy Faculty cluster.

What are you currently working on?

I recently led a study examining access to medications among immigrants. We found that non-citizens were less likely to use prescription medications than naturalized and US-born citizens. Non-citizens were also more likely to experience cost-related nonadherence due to differences in insurance status and food security. Non-citizens were more likely to attempt to mitigate their cost barriers by importing potentially unsafe and ineffective drugs from abroad. Currently, I am extending this line of research and evaluating how citizenship status influences cancer outcomes and whether inclusionary healthcare policies can mitigate these inequities.

In the past few months, I’ve started to collaborate with Dr. Stephanie Zonszein (assistant professor of political science). We are examining whether journalist-moderated, Spanish-language social media chats can influence the knowledge and use of preventative healthcare among Latinx adults.

Finally, I am continuing my collaborations with colleagues at USC and furthering our work on inequities in pharmacy access. We are currently evaluating how Medicare Part D policies influence pharmacy closures.

What are your hopes going into the fall semester?

This fall, I hope to foster relationships with community partners that provide healthcare to Latinx immigrants because I want to deepen my understanding of the Bay Area’s Latinx population and their healthcare needs. I am also eager to establish research partnerships throughout the school of public health and the university. On a personal note, I am excited to explore the Bay Area, especially Latinx neighborhoods (I need to establish my food haunts).

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