Natalia Villegas Rodriguez, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, FAAN

Associate Professor

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Campus Box #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Dr. Villegas is a bilingual nurse that holds Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Nursing from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She completed her PhD in Nursing and Post doctoral Fellowship in Health Disparities at the University of Miami. Also, she is a Registered Nurse and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Villegas is a nurse midwife and has worked as clinical nurse and research assistant in various settings. Her research interest lies in women’s health, STI and HIV prevention and the use of technology for prevention. She has established a national and international reputation as a leader in the prevention of HIV in Latinos. Dr. Villegas is one of the first nurse researchers that has developed and implemented two culturally tailored interventions using technology for rural Latinas and young Latinas to expand and enhance HIV prevention and access to care not previously available for them. The impact of her work has been published and cited in evidence-based journals and disseminated in scientific conferences.

Currently, Dr. Villegas is funded to develop the intervention website and pilot test the feasibility and acceptability of Infección de Amor (Love Infection), a soap opera intervention to reduce HIV risk in Latinas (NC TraCS Pilot Award 550KR262124) and to conduct research for youth in the Galapagos that incorporates prevention of intimate partner violence and youth pregnancy.  She is also a co-investigator in a study addressing Intersectional stigma and resilience among young Latinx gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men to improve HIV testing and PrEP use (1R21MD016356).

Also, her expertise was recognized by the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery as an expert in women’s health and invited to participate in Training of Human Resources for Health to Improve the Quality of Maternal Health Care in Latin America and the Caribbean (2017). The training is available on the PAHO/WHO platform.