Elizabeth Aparicio
Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Community Health
Deputy Director for Clinical Training and Intervention, University of Maryland Prevention Research Center
Other Affiliations: Center on Young Adult Health and Development, Center for Health Equity, UMD Prevention Research Center
Campus: UMD | Building: SPH | Room: 1242V
Phone: (301) 405-2029 | |
Laboratory Website: 
Community THRIVES Lab Prevention Research Center
Google Scholar Profile
Office Hours: 

Virtual and in-person meetings available by appointment.

CV / Resume
PDF icon Aparicio CV (December 2020)

Dr. Elizabeth Aparicio is a community-engaged, clinically trained scholar whose work aims to improve health equity through informing and testing mental health and sexual and reproductive health interventions for trauma-affected and marginalized children, youth, and families. Using a trauma-informed care and reproductive justice framework, she has particular expertise in addressing the mental health and sexual and reproductive health needs of youth in and formerly in foster care and youth experiencing homelessness. Dr. Aparicio's current research includes several active funded studies: 1. testing Wahine ("woman") Talk, a newly developed teen pregnancy prevention and sexual health program for youth experiencing homeless and who are at risk of experiencing homelessness (community partner: Waikiki Health); 2. assessing the mental health and sexual health needs of LGBTQ youth in foster care (community partners: Hearts and Homes for Youth, Prince Georges County Department of Social Services); 3. developing a "two-gen" sexual health program for foster youth and their caregivers (community partner: Hearts and Homes for Youth); 4. examining parenting+mental health supports as a mechanism to reducing intergenerational transmission of child abuse and neglect among young families; 5. testing a training program for mental health providers serving LGBTQ clients as part of her work with the UMD Prevention Research Center; and 6. investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parenting foster yout and former foster youth (community partners: Healthy Teen Network and Annie E. Casey Foundation, funder). Dr. Aparicio is a strong advocate for community participation and voice in research, informing the health and social policies and practices that directly affect them. In addition to traditional forms of research dissemination through journals and conferences, she is actively involved in research-to-practice and research-to-policy dissemination work, including conducting community trainings with health and social service organizations, serving as an expert witness in aging out foster youth, and working with the Research to Policy Collaboration to translate child and family health and well-being research for use by federal policymakers. Dr. Aparicio directs the Community THRIVES Lab, a research group of on- and off-campus research-practice partners that conduct Community-engaged Transformative Health Research at the Intersection of family Violence, Early childhood, and adolescent Sexual health intervention. Dr. Aparicio is the Deputy Director for Clinical Training and Intervention and a core research scientist of the UMD Prevention Research Center, and a faculty affiliate of the UMD Center for Health Equity and UMD Center on Young Adult Health and Development. Dr. Aparicio was inducted in 2021 as a Fellow in the Society for Social Work and Research in recognition of her scholarly contributions and her leadership. She teaches graduate qualitative research methods and undergraduate human sexuality and community health engagement courses. Dr. Aparicio is a dedicated mentor of undergraduate, MPH, and PhD students, and was selected as a University of Maryland 2020 Graduate Faculty Mentor of the Year. She has been honored to serve on more than a dozen dissertation committees and MPH project committees. Dr. Aparicio's scholarly agenda has its foundation in nearly a decade of direct behavioral health practice as a licensed clinical social worker in Maryland and Washington D.C. with trauma-affected children, youth, and families both in foster care and in the general community. She served the community in Montgomery County, Maryland and Washington D.C. for many years as an early childhood specialist in direct clinical practice and as an early childhood mental health consultant for preschools, childcare centers, home-based childcare programs, and Early Head Start/Head Start. Dr. Aparicio is a graduate of Catholic University of America (B.A. and M.S.W.) and University of Maryland (PhD in Social Work). Dr. Aparicio completed HRSA/MCHB-funded predoctoral fellowship training in maternal and child health leadership at the University of Maryland's Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training. Prior to coming to University of Maryland, Dr. Aparicio was an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa School of Social Work.

Education and Training

PhD University of Maryland School of Social Work

Predoctoral Fellow in Maternal and Child Health Leadership, Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training, University of Maryland School of Social Work

MSW, BA in Social Work Catholic University of America National Catholic School of Social Service


HLTH625 Community Assessment Through Qualitative Methods

HLTH292 Community Health Engagement

Honors and Awards

Fellow, Society for Society Work and Research (class of 2021)

University of Maryland Graduate Mentor of the Year (2020)

NIH Loan Repayment Program Award, NICHD Clinical Research (2020-2022)

Nominee, University of Maryland School of Public Health Leda Amick Wilson Mentoring Award (2019)

NIH/NICHD R25 Trainee, Building a Multidisciplinary Pipeline of Researchers in Child Abuse and Neglect (2019)

Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, Gamma Zeta Chapter

Phi Beta Kappa

BA, Magna Cum Laude and top of social work class


(*co-authored with my student/s; +co-authored with my community partner/s)

  1. *+Aparicio, E.M., Kachingwe, O.N., Salerno, J.P., Geddings-Hayes, M., & Boekeloo, B.O. (In Press). Addressing sexual health among youth in foster care group homes: A community-engaged grounded theory study.  Sexuality Research and Social Policy.
  2. *Aparicio, E.M., Kachingwe, O.N., Fleishman, J., & Novick, J. (In Press). How youth experiencing homelessness access and select birth control in the United States: A review. Health and Social Work.
  3. *+Aparicio, E.M., Kachingwe, O.N., Phillips, D.R., Jasczynski, M., Cabral, M.K., Aden, F., Parekh, E., Espero, J., & Childers, C. (In Press). “Having a baby can wait”: Experiences of a sexual and reproductive health promotion program in the context of homelessness among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander youth captured through PhotoVoice. Qualitative Health Research.
  4. *Channell Doig, A., Jasczynski, M., Fleishman, J., & Aparicio, E.M. (2020). Breastfeeding among mothers who have experienced childhood maltreatment: A review. Journal of Human Lactation. Advance online publication.
  5. *+Kachingwe, O.N., Salerno, J.P., Boekeloo, B., Fish, J., Geddings-Hayes, M., Aden, F., & Aparicio, E.M. (2020). “The internet is not private:” The role of social media in sexual health among youth in foster care. Journal of Adolescence, 82, 50-57.
  6. *+Salerno, J.P., Kachingwe, O.N., Fish, J., Parekh, E., Geddings-Hayes, M., Boekeloo, B.O., & Aparicio, E.M. (2020). “Even if you think you can trust them, don’t trust them”: The lived experience of sexual health among sexual minority girls in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 116, 105161.
  7. *Salerno, J., Turpin, R., Howard, D., Dyer, T., Aparicio, E.M. & Boekeloo, B. (2020). Health care experiences of Black men who have sex with men and transgender women: A qualitative study. Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, 31(4), 466-475.
  8. Martoccio, T., Berlin, L., Aparicio, E. M., Appleyard Carmody, K., & Dodge, K. (2020). Intergenerational continuity in child maltreatment: Explicating underlying mechanisms. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication.
  9. Shpiegel, S., Aparicio, E.M., King, B., Prince, D., Lynch, J., & Grinnell-Davis, C.

(2020). The functional patterns of adolescent mothers leaving foster care: Results from a cluster analysis. Child and Family Social Work, 25, 478-487.

  1. *+Aparicio, E.M., Kachingwe, O.N., Phillips, D.R., Fleishman, J., Novick, J., Okimoto, T., Cabral, M.P., Ka‘opua, L.S., Childers, C., Espero, J. & Anderson, K. (2019). Holistic, trauma-informed adolescent pregnancy prevention and sexual health promotion for female youth experiencing homelessness: Initial outcomes of Wahine Talk. Children and Youth Services Review, 107, 104509.
  2. King, B., Eastman, A., Grinnell-Davis, C., & Aparicio, E. (2019). Early childbirth among foster youth: A latent class analysis to determine subgroups at greater risk. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 51(4), 229-238. doi:10.1363/psrh.12124
  3. Vanidestine, T., & Aparicio, E.M. (2019). How social welfare and health professionals understand “race,” racism, and whiteness in health disparities discourse: A social justice approach to grounded theory. Social Work in Public Health, 34(5), 430-443.
  4. *+Kachingwe, O.N., Anderson, K., Houser, C., Fleishman, J., Novick, J., Phillips, D.R., & Aparicio, E.M. (2019). “She was there through the whole process:” Exploring how homeless youth access and select birth control. Children and Youth Services Review, 101, 277-284.
  5. Massey Combs, K., Aparicio, E.M., Prince, D.M., Grinnell-Davis, C., Marra, L., & Faulkner, M. (2019). Evidence-based sexual health programs for youth involved with juvenile justice and child welfare systems: Outcomes across settings. Children and Youth Services Review, 100, 64-69.
  6. Aparicio, E.M., Shpiegel, S., Grinnell-Davis, C., & King, B. (2019). “My body is strong and amazing:” Embodied experiences of pregnancy and birth among young women in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 199-205.
  7. *+Aparicio, E.M., Rodrigues, E., Birmingham, A., & Houser, C. (2019). Dual experiences of teenage parenting and homelessness among Native Hawaiian youth: A critical interpretative phenomenological analysis. Child and Family Social Work, 24, 330-339.
  8. *+Aparicio, E.M., Phillips, D.R., Okimoto, T., Cabral, M.P., Houser, C., & Anderson, K. (2018). Youth and provider perspectives of Wahine Talk: A holistic teen pregnancy prevention program developed with and for homeless youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 93, 467-473.
  9. Aparicio, E.M., Gioia, D., & Pecukonis, E.V. (2018). “I can get through this and I will get through this”: The unfolding journey of teenage motherhood in and beyond foster care. Qualitative Social Work, 17(1), 96-114.
  10. West, A., Aparicio, E., Berlin, L., & Jones Harden, B. (2017). Home visitors’ perceptions of supplementing Early Head Start with the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up Program: Implications for implementation. Infant Mental Health Journal, 38(4), 514-522.
  11. Aparicio, E.M. (2017). “I want to be better than you”: Lived experiences of intergenerational child maltreatment prevention among teenage mothers in and beyond foster care. Child and Family Social Work, 22, 607-616.
  12. Stephens, T. & Aparicio, E.M. (2017). “It’s just broken branches:” Child welfare-affected mothers’ dual experiences of insecurity and striving for resilience in the aftermath of complex trauma and familial substance abuse. Children and Youth Services Review, 37, 248-256.
  13. Aparicio, E.M., Denmark, N., Berlin, L., & Jones Harden, B. (2016). First generation Latina mothers’ experiences of supplementing home-based Early Head Start with the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up program. Infant Mental Health Journal, 37(5), 537-548.
  14. *Aparicio, E.M., Vanidestine, T., Zhou, K., & Pecukonis, E.V. (2016). Teen pregnancy in Latino communities: Young adult perspectives and experiences of sociocultural context. Families in Society, 97(1), 50-57.
  15. Aparicio, E., Pecukonis, E. V., & O’Neale, S. (2015). “The love that I was missing:” Exploring the lived experience of motherhood among teen mothers in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 51, 44-54.
  16. *Aparicio, E., Pecukonis, E. V., & Carper, K. (2014). Sociocultural factors of teenage pregnancy in Latino communities: Preparing social workers for culturally-responsive practice. Health and Social Work, 39(4), 238-243.
  17. Acquavita, S., Gibbons, M., Aparicio, E., & Pecukonis, E.V. (2014). Student perspectives on interprofessional education: Overcoming barriers and increasing effectiveness of interdisciplinary experiences. Journal of Allied Health, 23(2).
  18. Pecukonis, E., Doyle, O., Acquavita, S., Aparicio, E., Gibbons, M., & Vanidestine, T. (2013). Interprofessional leadership training in MCH social work. Social Work in Health Care, 52(7). doi: 10.1080/00981389.2013.792913
  19. Aparicio, E., Michalopoulos, L.M., & Unick, G.J. (2013). An examination of the psychometric properties of the vicarious trauma scale in a sample of licensed social workers. Health and Social Work, 38(4), 199-206.
  20. Bellin, M.H., Osteen, P., Zabel, T. A., Dosa, N, Aparicio, E., Braun, P., & Dicianno, B. (2013). Family satisfaction, pain, and quality of life in emerging adults with spina bifida: A longitudinal analysis. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92(8), 641-655.
  21. Bellin, M.H., Dosa, N., Zabel, T. A., Aparicio, E., Dicianno, B., & Osteen, P. (2012). Family functioning, self-management and the trajectory of psychological symptoms in emerging adults with spina bifida. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, advance access September 12, 2012, 1-13.
  22. Michalopoulos, L.M., & Aparicio, E. (2012). Vicarious trauma in social workers: The role of trauma history, social support, and years of experience. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 21(6), 646-664.