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Rosalba Hernandez

Associate Professor

headshot image of Rosalba Hernandez


School of Social Work
1010 W. Nevada St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Office: 2042

What I Do

As a public health expert and cardiovascular epidemiologist, my research focuses on the following topical areas: 1) Exploration of the association between psychological well-being (e.g., happiness,positive emotion) and cardiovascular health in racial/ethnic minorities and vulnerable populations; 2) Testing strengths-based intervention to improve well-being and reduce psychological distress in Hispanics/Latinos and patients with chronic illness (e.g., hemodialysis, lung cancer); and 3) Development of advanced mixed reality and virtual (VR) software to deliver psychotherapy and behavioral education in the context of the medical setting.


  • BS in Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2005
  • Master in Public Health, Universityof Illinois at Chicago, 2010
  • Ph.D., Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2012
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University, 2012-2014


Dr. Rosalba Hernandez’s interests are in exploring the link between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health, particularly in underserved minority populations. She explores whether characteristics like optimism and resilience are associated with low-risk cardiovascular disease profiles, and whether interventions geared toward increasing psychological well-being can favorably impact sub clinical and clinical manifestations of disease. Dr. Hernandez’s goal is to employ theories from positive psychology to help inform primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in Hispanic/Latino and African American adults. Dr. Hernandez is currently funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), Jump ARCHES, and the Rosenfeld Heart Foundation. She is an affiliate of the Institute of Minority Health Research (IMHR) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), and the Beckman Institute. She is also on the Editorial Board of the journal of Health Education & Behavior.

Selected Publications

  • Hernandez R, Bassett SMR, Boughton SW, Shiu EW, Schuette SA, Moskowitz JT. Psychological Well-being and Physical Health: Associations, Mechanisms, and Future Directions.” Emotion Review 2018; 10(1): 18-29.
  • Kubzansky LD, Huffman JC, Boehm JK, Hernandez R, Kim ES,Koga HK, Feig EH, Lloyd-Jones DM, Seligman MEP, Labarthe DR. “Positive Psychological Well-being and Cardiovascular Disease.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2018; 72(12):1382-1396.
  • Hernandez R, Burrows B, Browning MH, Solai K, Fast D, Litbarg NO, Wilund KR,Moskowitz JT. Mindfulness-based Virtual Reality Intervention in Hemodialysis Patients: A Pilot Study on End-User Perceptions and Safety. Kidney360. 2021 Jan 1.
  • Salsman JM, PustejovskyJE, Schueller SM, Hernandez R, Berendsen M, Steffen McLouth LE, Moskowitz JT. “Psychosocial interventions for cancer survivors: A meta-analysis of effects on positive affect.” Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 2019; 13(6): 943-955.
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