Laura Villa Torres, PhD, MSPH

Assistant Professor
Department of Public Health Leadership and Practice
CB #7469
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Laura Villa Torres, PhD, MSPH is an Assisstant Professor whose current research interests rely on the health disparities lived by immigrants from Mexico in the United States, particularly among those living with limited documentation status. Villa Torres’ methodological strengths are qualitative research and community-based participatory methods.

Honors and Awards

Mellon Dissertation Award
2016, Institute for the Study of the Americas

Research Program on Migration and Health Dissertation Award
2015, The Health Initiative of the Americas,

Pilot Intervention Award
2013, North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center

The Lucy Morgan Award,
2012, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Community Engagement Fellowship
2012, Carolina Center for Public Service

Migration Research Award
2012, Institute for the Study of the Americas

The Katie Pomerans Award for Community Service
2011, El Pueblo, Inc. Raleigh, NC

The Earp Scholarship
2011, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies Abroad
2011-2016, National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT)

First Place Winner
2005, Bachelors Thesis Contest, Social Science and Humanities Division, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Unidad Xochimilco, Mexico

Key Publications

Collateral effect of transnational migration: the transformation of medical habitus. González-Vázquez, T., Infante-Xibille, C., Villa-Torres, L., Reyes-Morales, H., & Pelcastre- Villafuerte, B. E. (2020). Salud Pública de México.

Factors that influence the use of community assets by people with physical disabilities: results of participatory mapping in Envigado, Colombia. Toro-Hernandez, M. L., Villa-Torres, L., Mondragón-Barrera, M. A., & Camelo-Castillo, W. (2020). BMC public health.

Migration and Inclusive Transnational Heritage: Digital Innovation and the New Roots Latino Oral History Initiative. Gill, H., Vos, J., Villa-Torres, L., & Ramirez, M. S. (2019). The Oral History Review.

Intersectionalities and the HIV continuum of care among gay Latino men living with HIV in North Carolina. Barrington, C., Davis, D. A., Villa-Torres, L., Carcano, J., & Hightow-Weidman, L. (2019). Ethnicity & health.

Experiences with rehabilitation and impact on community participation among adults with physical disability in Colombia: a community-based research approach. Toro-Hernandez, ML, Mondragon-Barrera, A, Munera-Orozco, S, Villa-Torres, L, Camelo-Castillo, W International Journal for Equity in Health In Press.


  • PhD, Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2018
  • MSPH, Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, 2014
  • BS, Sociology, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2004