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Velia Leybas Nuño PhD, MSW

Velia Leybas  Nuño PhD, MSW

Interim Assistant Dean, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Health Promotion Sciences Department

1295 N. Martin Ave.
Drachman Hall
PO Box: 245209
Tucson AZ 85724
(520) 626-3525


Trained as an epidemiologist and social worker, Dr. Nuño combines the two disciplines to maximize her research and practice. She has more than two decades of experience in program design, implementation and evaluation in school and community settings, and six years of experience conducting research.

Dr. Nuño is the Director of the Family and Child Health Program where she manages the Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health and the Master of Public Health in Global Health degrees along with the Doctor of Public Health degree in Maternal and Child Health. She teaches two graduate courses: Maternal and Child Health and Adolescent Health. Dr. Nuño works closely with students at various levels as evidenced by advising and mentoring more than 50 students from disciplines including public health, social work, nursing, medicine and psychology.

Engaging populations typically underrepresented is an important focus of Dr. Nuño’s community service, teaching, and research. More specifically, for 11 years, Dr. Nuño co-founded and led an annual conference for Latina mothers and daughters, which promoted education, health and culture. Additionally, she led or contributed to diversity efforts by serving as a presenter or co-presenter on more than 25 international, national, state, and local presentations on topics such as adolescent and maternal health, Latino\a health, culturally appropriate interventions, families, and spirituality.

Previously employed in community-based organizations, Dr. Nuño focused on decreasing risk behaviors while promoting health and wellness related to mental health, sexual health and relationships, and substance use and misuse among various populations including adolescents, women/girls, racial/ethnic communities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

Dr. Nuño received awards, honors, and leadership opportunities for her teaching and research. She values scholarship and scientific discovery through participatory processes.



PhD 2012 Epidemiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. // Minor: Biostatistics
MS 2006 Epidemiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
MSW 1998 Community Practice, Program Planning and Administration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
BA 1992 Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona



Hunter A, Carlos M, Nuño VL, Tippeconnic Fox MJ, Carvajal S, & Yuan N. Native Spirit: Development of a Culturally-Grounded After-School Program to Promote Well-Being among American Indian Adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology. In press.

Parra KL, Alaofe HS, Ehiri JE, Nuño VL, Mazariegos M, Garcia B, Martinez E, Junkins A, & Jolly P. Prevalence and Determinants of Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity: A Cross-Sectional Study of Sociodemographic, Dietary, and Lifestyle Factors Among Adolescent Girls in Jutiapa, Guatemala. Food and Nutrition 2021; 42(4):502-19.

Lutrick K, Clark R, Nuño VL, Bauman S, & Carvajal S. Latinx Bullying and Depression in Children and Youth: A Systematic Review. Systematic Reviews 2020; 9:126.

Nuño VL, Wertheim BC, Murphy BS, Glasser H, Walh RA, & Roe DJ. The Online Nurtured Heart Approach to Parenting: A Randomized Study to Improve ADHD Behaviors in Children Ages 6-8. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 2020; 22: 31-48.

Nuño VL, Wertheim BC, Murphy BS, Wahl RA, Roe DJ. Testing the efficacy of the Nurtured Heart Approach to reduce ADHD symptoms in children by training parents: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications 2019; 76.

Wilkinson-Lee AM, Armenta AM, Moore-Monroy M, Nuño VL, Hopkins A, Garcia F. Engaging Promotora-led Community-based Participatory Research: An Introduction to a Crossover Design Focusing on Reproductive and Mental Health Needs of a Latina Community. Journal for Latino/a Psychology 2018, 6(4): 291-303.

Hopkins AL, Moore-Monroy M, Wilkinson-Lee A M, Nuño VL, Armenta AM, Lopez E, Vanzzini S, & Garcia F. (2016). It’s Complicated: Negotiating between Traditional Research and CBPR in a Translational Study. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 2016; 10(3): 425-433.

Nuño VL, Gonzalez M, Loredo SM, Nigon BM, & Garcia F. A cross-sectional study of HPV vaccine utilization among university women: the role of ethnicity, race, and risk factors. Journal of the Lower Genital Tract, 2016; 20(2): 131-4.

Harrington KF, Haven KM, Nuño VL, Magruder T, Bailey WC, & Gerald LB. Parent report and electronic medical record agreement on asthma education provided and children’s tobacco smoke exposure. Journal of Asthma, 2013; 50(9): 968-974.

Addis I, Nuño VL, & Mohler J. Teaching Geriatrics to Gynecology Residents: Are ACOG Learning Objectives Being Met? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2012; 60(9): 1789-1790.

Nuño VL, Zhang Q, Harris RB, Wilkinson-Lee AM, & Wilhelm MS. Smoking Susceptibility among Students Followed from Grade Six to Eight. Addictive Behaviors, 2011; 36(12): 1261-1266.

Wilkinson-Lee AM, Zhang Q, Nuño VL, & Wilhelm MS. Adolescent Emotional Distress: The Role of Family Obligations and School Connectedness. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2011; 40(2): 221-330

Leybas V. (2008) Manifesting the Strengths of Rural Latina Girls. In C.W. LeCroy and J.E. Mann (Eds.), Handbook of Prevention and Intervention Programs for Adolescent Girls (pp.187-200). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Stevens S, Leybas V, Bourdeau B, McMichael L, & Nyitray A. Blending Prevention Models to Create an Innovative and Effective Substance Use and HIV Prevention Program for Minority Youth. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 23 (2006): 4-23.

Leybas V, Nuño T, & Garcia F. Effect of Acculturation and Income on Hispanic Women’s Health. Journal for the Health Care of the Poor and Underserved,16 (2005):128-141.

LeCroy CW, Daley J, & Leybas V. (1999) Girls Together: A Social Skills Training Program for Early Adolescent Girls. Case Studies in Social Work Practice (pp. 183-192). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.


Research Projects

CoVHORT Children and Teens Study

Areas of focus

COVID, Mental Health, Resilience, School Experience, Race Experience, Food and Housing Security, Intersectionality Theory

Learn more at

Arizona CoVHORT

Areas of focus

Longitudinal Study, Acute and Long COVID, Symptoms, Testing, Vaccination, Adults

Learn more at


Research Synopsis

Prevention and intervention implementation science and behavior change processes are core to Dr. Nuño’s research. With $2,492,828 in funding provided by private and public sponsors, Dr. Nuño has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on nine projects that resulted in eight journal publications in journals with impact factors ranging from 0.58 to 4.39.

Formerly the Assistant Director within the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, Dr. Nuño studied health related issues for women and girls within the context of culture (e.g., HPV vaccine acceptance, Community Health Worker interventions) and acculturation.

Most recently, Dr. Nuño is conducting a randomized control trial to determine the efficacy of the Nurtured Heart Approach® to parenting developed to improve attention deficient/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages six to eight years. Study findings will contribute to the understanding of behavioral treatments to address children with special health care needs.

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