Dr. Adriana Perez puts research into action
Adriana Perez, Ph.D., ANP-BC, is a scholar who puts her research into action and is saving lives because of it. As a long-time and dedicated volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA), Dr. Perez applies her culturally relevant research in developing wellness intervention programs among the Latino population. She is Assistant Professor and Southwest Borderlands Scholar at Arizona State University, College of Nursing and Health Innovation in Phoenix, AZ.
While her research and clinical practice have focused on older adults, she understands the importance of also connecting younger generations with heart health resources, especially among Latinos. She helped implement Simple Cooking With Heart
classes at the Halle Heart Children’s Museum, empowering families in attendance to make healthy lifestyle choices that can transform their lives. Dr. Perez is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) and helped launch the local Check For Life program, a collaboration between the AHA and NAHN. It trains stylists at barbershops and salons catering to a Latino clientele to perform blood pressure screenings during salon appointments. “We discovered high blood pressure in countless patients,” she notes. “And thanks to this program, they now have access to educational information about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.”
She explains: “Through community-based research I know that Latinos want to learn about health in a positive way. They do not want to be alarmed by potential health threats, but rather want to learn about all they can do to keep themselves and their family healthy to enjoy life. For the most part, Latinos want to continue to enjoy cultural traditions so we share ways that physical activity can be part of daily routines and celebrations and how favorite foods can still be included in moderation.”
Dr. Perez, who serves on the Western States Affiliate Health Equity Task Force, is currently assisting with the launch of our Go Red Por Tu Corazón
campaign in Arizona. It is part of the national Go Red For Women movement which empowers women to take charge of their heart health. “Women who Go Red are more likely to make healthy choices,” she notes. “And we want to make sure Latinas across generations are included.”