Sandra Soto, PhD, MPH, BSN

Assistant Professor

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Office: 5106
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Dr. Soto is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing and Thurston Arthritis Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research examines the social influences of health behaviors 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 group recently received a Career Development Award from NIHMD (K01MD015290) to develop a dyadic physical activity intervention for Latinos with osteoarthritis and a member of their social network. This study will develop an intervention shaped by the cultural value of interdependence to engage Latinos with osteoarthritis and their family members/friends equally, thus positively influencing each other’s physical activity. By using a factorial experiment, this study will identify the most potent dyadic physical activity intervention components that will be retained and tested as an intervention package in a future randomized controlled trial.

She received NIH funding for her dissertation through the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA F31) from the National Institute of Nursing Research (1F31NR015965-01A1). Her dissertation studied how children and their acculturation impacts their Hispanic mothers’ dietary intake and related behaviors. Recently, as a T32 trainee at the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she has developed skills in intervention development and dyadic research on physical activity support among couples with osteoarthritis.

As a North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (TraCS) Pilot Grant Awardee (UL1TR002489), she used qualitative methods to explore dyadic support for physical activity among Hispanic women with osteoarthritis. This preliminary study will inform a culturally sensitive dyadic intervention for Hispanics with osteoarthritis and their self-selected physical activity supporter.