Catherine Medina, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Social Work (Affiliate)

Research Overview

My proposed exploratory research will advance knowledge about older Latina women’s perceptions about their HIV knowledge, behavioral skills and self-efficacy in initiating a discussion about safer sex practices in a heterosexual relationship with a steady partner. The goal is to explore their HIV prevention needs and strengths, what motivates them to change their HIV risks behaviors and an increased understanding of their perceived sexual health in relationship to their partner. This exploratory, qualitative research empowers Latina women to express their voice in designing an intervention, a novela, which is an educational and cultural script designed to motivate discussion about safer sex practices with a steady partner in a heterosexual relationship.

After 13 years working in clinical practice, I became an academic. As an educator, I have taught several courses on health and mental health, HIV and Aging, and Contemporary Practice with Diverse Populations: A multi-dimensional lens to understand health disparities. As a scholar, I have written articles that address HIV and other health disparities of African American and Latin@ communities. For ten years, I worked primarily with a geriatric population in ambulatory settings and as an scholar I became a social work gerontologist fellow through the National Institute on Aging (NIA) -research training at the College of St. Scholastica from 2006-2008.


Bachelor of Arts, Psychology St. John’s University, 1970

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University, 1980

Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) School of Social Work, Columbia University, 2002

Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) School of Social Work, Columbia University, 2002
Dissertation: Predictors of HIV Testing in Low-Income Women of Color: Identifying their Motivations and Beliefs in Fighting the Virus.

Recent Publications

Contact Information
Mailing AddressSchool of Social Work
1798 Asylum Avenue, Room 345
West Hartford, CT 06117