Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Community Health
Associate Director, Maryland Center for Health Equity
Other Affiliations: Center for Health Equity
Campus: UMD | Building: School of Public Health | Room: 2371
Phone: (301) 405-0766 |

Mary A. Garza, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health and Associate Director in the Center for Health Equity at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health. Dr. Garza received her MPH from the School of Public Health at San Diego State University with an emphasis in health education and health promotion. Post MPH degree, Dr. Garza worked as a health coordinator for a federally qualified health center in Coachella Valley, CA where she gained valuable community-level experience working with low-income migrant farm workers (primarily Latinos and African Americans). She coordinated local, state, and federal community education and medical treatment programs with a focus on diabetes, cancer screening, hypertension, STDs, and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Garza returned to graduate school, and received her PhD in Health Policy and Management with a focus in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Cancer Epidemiology. Dr. Garza's research activities embrace the full spectrum of the intervention research process-from planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating, to dissemination of research findings - using a community-based participatory research approach. She has a strong interest in health disparities research, including understanding the interplay of psychosocial, behavioral, and neighborhood-level factors associated with health behavior; specifically, factors related to cancer screening. Dr. Garza's research interests also include the role and influence of religion and spirituality on health outcomes and domestic violence. Currently, Dr. Garza is the principal investigator of a NCI-funded, K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity (K01), titled “African Americans and Colorectal Cancer: A Multilevel Model to Assess Factors for Screening.” The objective of the K01 is to characterize individual and neighborhood-level risk and protective factors associated with colorectal cancer screening behavior among African-Americans. Additionally, Dr. Garza’s research involves assessing the prevailing perceptions, knowledge and attitudes toward participation in biomedical research, including clinical trials. Moreover, she is working with the Health Advocates in Reach and Research (HAIR) network, a barbershop initiative, to promote cancer screening in barbershops.


HLTH 391: Principles of Community Health 1

  • Thomas SB, Quinn S, Butler J, Fryer CS, Garza, MA . (2011) Fourth Generation Health Disparities Research: Accelerating Innovations to Achieve Health Equity. Annual Review of Public Health, 32, 399-416.
  • Wilson-Frederick, SM, Williams CD, Garza MA , Navas-Acien A, Emerson MR, Ahmed S and Ford JG. (2011) Association of secondhand smoke exposure with nicotine dependence among Black smokers. Addictive Behaviors, 36(4): 412-415.
  • Sellars B, Garza MA , Fryer CS, Spencer M, Thomas SB. (2010) Racial differences in social support and medical mistrust on utilization of health care services. Journal of National Medical Association, In Press.
  • Taioli E, Garza MA , Moore CG, Ahn YO, Bost J, Budai B, Canzian F, Chen K, Keku T, Lima C, Le Marchand L, Matsuo K, Plaschke M, Pufulete M, Thomas SB, Toffoli G, Wolf CR, Little J. (2009). A meta- and pooled analysis of the MTHFR C677T genetic polymorphism and colorectal cancer: HuGE review. American Journal of Epidemiology, 170(10):1207-1221. PMCID: PMC2781761
  • Rajakumar K, Thomas SB, Musa D, Almario D, Garza MA . (2009). Racial differences in parental distrust towards medicine and research. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 163(2): 108-114.
  • Garza MA , Abatemarco D, Gizzi C, Abbeglen L. (2009). Transforming the Pierce County cross collaborative through assessment capacity building. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 15(1): 70-74.
  • Gielen AC, Campbell JC, Garza MA , O’Campo P, Dienemann J, Jones A, Lloyd D. (2006). Domestic violence in the military: women’s policy preferences and beliefs concerning routine screening and mandatory reporting. Military Medicine, 171(8):729-735.
  • Bowie JV, Curbow B, Garza MA , Dreyling E, Scott LB, McDonnell K. (2005). A review of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening interventions in older women. Cancer Control, 12(2): 58-69.
  • Garza MA , Luan J, Blinka M, Neuhaus C, Zabora J, Ford JG. (2005). A culturally targeted intervention to promote breast cancer screening among low-income women in East Baltimore, Maryland. Cancer Control, 12(2): 34-41.
  • Curbow B, Bowie JV, Garza MA , McDonnell K, Scott LB, Coyne C, Chiappelli T. (2004). Community-based cancer screening programs in older populations: making progress but can we do better? Preventive Medicine, 38(6): 676-693.