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Elizabeth Aparicio

Assistant Professor, Behavioral and Community Health

Elizabeth Aparicio, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Behavioral and Community Health department in the University of Maryland School of Public Health. She directs the Community THRIVES Lab, a research group that conducts Community-engaged Transformative Health Research at the Intersection of family Violence, Early childhood, and adolescent Sexual health intervention. She is also the deputy director for clinical training and intervention for the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center. 

Areas of Interest

Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health, Early Childhood Intervention, Youth Mental Health, and Child Maltreatment. 

Dr. Elizabeth Aparicio is a community-engaged 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; and 
  5. testing a training program for mental health providers serving LGBTQ clients as part of her work with the UMD Prevention Research Center. 

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 group of 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. 

She teaches graduate qualitative research methods and undergraduate human sexuality and community health 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 the University of Maryland, Dr. Aparicio was an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa School of Social Work.


PhD, Social Work
University of Maryland School of Social Work

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

Master of Social Work
Catholic University of America National Catholic School of Social Service

Catholic University of America

HLTH625 Community Assessment Through Qualitative Methods

HLTH292 Community Health Engagement

HLTH377 Human Sexuality

University of Maryland Graduate Mentor of the Year (2020)

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 wi/ student/s; +co-authored w/ community partner/s)

*+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.

*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.

*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.

*+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.

*+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.

*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.

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.

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.

*+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.

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.