Dr. Valera is a social work scientist who focuses on research related to cancer-health disparities with criminal justice populations and men who have sex with men (MSM). She is also the co-chair/co-founder of the Bronx Reentry Working Group (http:bronxreentry.org), a coalition of agencies, health providers and individuals that provide a broad range of support to returning citizens coming home from state prison and Rikers Island. Dr. Valera uses rigorous community-based participatory approaches to answer complex research questions.
Select Urban Health Activities
Health-seeking behavior study of men involved in the criminal justice system: This research project examines the health-related needs and health behaviors of 259 men ages 35-65 that have criminal justice and substance abuse histories in New York City. Specific aims are: 1) to explore unmet health and psychosocial needs and quality of life among ethnic minority men who have extensive criminal justice and substance histories; 2) to assess health-seeking behaviors among these men, including influences on their decisions to participate in cancer screening, prevention and treatment; 3) to describe contextual barriers and facilitators that affect justice-involved men use of services; and 4) to evaluate the reliability and validity of instruments developed or adapted for use with men with criminal justice and substance use histories.
Bronx Reentry Working Group: The Bronx Reentry Working Group is a volunteer coalition committed to addressing the social and health disparities of individuals with histories of criminal justice involvement.
Valera, P., & Kratz, M. (2013). The illness narratives of men involved in the criminal justice system: A study of health-seeking behaviors, chronic conditions and HIV. Journal of Social Work published online 15 October 2013. doi: 10.1177/1468017313503944.
Rapkin, B., Weiss, E., Lounsbury, D., Thompson, H., Goodman, R., Schechter, C., Merzel, C., Shelton, R., Blank, A., Erb-Downward, J., Williams, A., Valera, P., & Padgett, D. (2012). Using the interactive systems framework to support a quality improvement approach to dissemination of evidence-based strategies to promote early detection of breast cancer: planning a comprehensive dynamic trial. American Journal of Community Psychology, 50, 497-517.
Valera, P., & Taylor, T. (2011). Hating the sin but not the sinnerÂ: A study about heterosexism and religious experiences among southern Black men. Journal of Black Studies, 42, 106-122.
Pinto, R., Spector, A., Valera, P., & Community Collaborative Board. (2011). Exploring group dynamics for integrating scientific and experiential knowledge in Community Advisory Boards for HIV research. AIDS Care, 23, 1006-1013.
Nodin, N., Valera, P., Ventaneauc, A, Maynard, E., & Carballo-Dieguez, A. (2011). The internet profiles of men who have sex with men within bareback websites. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 13, 1015-1029.
Morganstern, B., Hakimi, A.A., Roche, C., Valera, P., Ghavamian, R., Rapkin, B. (2011). Delineating inner-city prostate cancer survivors information needs: Educational priorities for patients and provider. Journal of Urology, 185, e254-e255.
Bowleg, L., Valera, P., Teti M., & Tschann, J. (2010). Silence, gestures, and words: Nonverbal communication about HIV and condom use in Black heterosexual relationships. Health Communication, 25, 80-90.
Wilson, P., Valera, P., Ventaneauc, A., Balan, I., & Carballo-Dieguez, A. (2009). Race-based sexual stereotyping and sexual partnering among men who use the internet to identify other men for bareback sex. Journal of Sex Research, 46, 1-15.
Valera, P., Gallin, J., Schuk, D., Davis, N. (2009). Trying to eat healthy: A photovoice study about women's access to healthy food choices in New York City. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 24, 300-314.
Valera, P., Epperson, M., Daniels, J., Ramaswamy, M., & Freudenberg, N. (2009). Substance use and sexual HIV-risk behavior among young men involved in the criminal justice system. The American Journal of Drug Abuse and Alcohol Abuse, 1, 43-47.