Sandra Soto

Sandra Soto, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior
Assistant Professor
UNC School of Nursing, Thurston Arthritis Research Center
Carrington Hall, S Columbia St,
CB# 7460, Room #5106
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460


Sandra Soto, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing and Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Her research examines the social influences of physical activity and dietary intake among Latinos. By incorporating Latino cultural values, Dr. Soto aims to develop effective behavioral modification interventions to prevent and manage chronic diseases.

Dr. Soto’s NIH-funded (1F31NR015965-01A1) dissertation research examined how children and their acculturation impacts their Latina mothers’ dietary intake and related behaviors. Dr. Soto conducted her postdoctoral training under the T32 program at the School of Nursing at UNC where she developed skills in intervention development and dyadic research on physical activity support among couples with osteoarthritis.

Currently, Dr. Soto is developing a culturally sensitive dyadic physical activity intervention for Latinos and a member of their social network (1K01MD015290-01).

Representative Courses

NURS904 - Scientific Reasoning II: Creating and Articulating Specific Aims

Research Activities

- Social influences on health

- Physical activity

- Dietary intake and diet-related behaviors

- Hispanic/Latino health

- Intervention development and implementation

Key Publications

The role of cohabitating partner and relationship characteristics on physical activity among individuals with osteoarthritis. Soto, S.H., Callahan, L.F., Bahorski, S., Altpeter, M., Hales, D., Phillips, A., Carthron, D., Rini, C. (2019). International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 26(5), 522-530.

Family environment, children’s acculturation and mothers’ dietary intake and behaviors among Latinas: an autoregressive cross-lagged study. Soto, S.H., Arredondo, E.M., Shakya, H.B., Roesch, S., Marcus, B., Parada, H., Ayala, G.X. (2019). Social Science & Medicine, 228.
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Latina mothers as agents of change in children's eating habits: Findings from the randomized controlled trial Entre Familia: Reflejos de Salud. Arredondo, E.M., Ayala, G.X., Soto, S.H., Slymen, D., Horton, L.A., Parada, H., Campbell, N., Ibarra, L., Engelberg, M., Elder, J.  (2018). Latina mothers as agents of change in children's eating habits: Findings from the randomized controlled trial Entre Familia: Reflejos de Salud, 15(1).
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Exploring how children influence their Latina mothers’ dietary behaviors: qualitative interviews with mothers of bicultural and assimilated children. Soto, S.H., Arredondo, E.M., Ayala, G.X., Marcus, B., Shakya, H.B. (2018). Appetite, 129.
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Lessons learned from a feasibility study delivered in two WIC sites to promote physical activity among pregnant Latinas. Soto, S.H., Sanz, S., Merchant, K.M., Nichols, J.M., Arredondo, E.M. (2018). Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 50(10), 1026-1031.
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  • PhD, Public Health, Health Behavior, San Diego State University/University of California San Diego, Joint Doctoral Program, 2017
  • MPH, Health Promotion, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, 2009
  • BS, Nursing, College of Nursing, University of South Florida, 2004