Cristina Huebner Torres
Director of Research and Wellness
Cristina Huebner Torres is the Director of Research and Wellness at Caring Health Center (CHC) in Springfield, Massachusetts. Concurrent with her role as Director of Research, she previously served as Vice President at the health center where she was responsible for directing the administrative functions and overseeing all health center operations and quality in accordance with regulatory agencies. Ms. Huebner Torres is completing her doctorate in Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences where she teaches a course on epidemiology in public health. Ms. Huebner Torres also holds a bachelor’s degree in Medical Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and a Master’s Degree in Somatic Studies from New York University. With over 15-years experience in public health research, her work is guided by theoretical frameworks from social epidemiology and medical anthropology focused primarily on social determinants of health, health disparities, and health equity as they shape chronic illness prevention and management among ethnically diverse, urban, low income populations. Ms. Huebner Torres oversees internationally-, federally- and state-funded grant projects aimed at chronic disease prevention and management and health care policy that lead to sustainable health promotion initiatives and practice. Key aims of the department’s work are to address individual and systems-level factors to reduce health disparities and to ensure the delivery of culturally and linguistically appropriate services. She is the site Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Health-funded study to examine health literacy, cultural beliefs and medication adherence and was Project Director of the prior NIH-funded study that examined health literacy, cultural health beliefs, and chronic disease outcomes. Barriers to chronic disease self-management such as high rates of food insecurity and medication non-adherence were among some of the key findings. Based on these findings, Ms. Huebner Torres has collaboratively led the development of the CHC Wellness Center, a community-based resource located within the health center that offers group-based, culturally-tailored exercise, nutrition, cooking demonstration, and chronic disease prevention and self-management classes to patients and staff at no cost. Ms. Huebner Torres has co-authored multiple peer-reviewed publications from the research and is a lead grant writer at the health center.