Dr. Anna María Nápoles is the Scientific Director of NIMHD’s Division of Intramural Research (DIR). As the first Latina named to the position at the National Institutes of Health, she oversees the executive direction and scientific leadership for the entire intramural research program at NIMHD with a focus on population health with an emphasis on social, behavioral, and clinical research while utilizing the robust basic science environment at NIH.
Prior to joining NIMHD in late 2017, Dr. Nápoles served as a professor and behavioral epidemiologist in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) since 2001. She has over 30 years of experience in research on patient-clinician communication, cancer control health disparities, psycho-oncology, and community-based models of research in racially and ethnically diverse populations, as well as socioeconomically diverse groups. She has built community-academic research partnerships to develop and test evidence-based behavioral interventions for ethnically diverse adults in community-based settings.  This work has included community-based RCTs of peer-delivered cognitive-behavioral stress management interventions for urban and rural Latinas with breast cancer called Nuevo Amanecer that improved quality of life and reduced depression and anxiety symptoms. She is also developing and testing mHealth interventions to improve symptom management among ethnically diverse, low-income cancer survivors through cognitive-behavioral stress management and/or walking.  She has a particular interest in development of scientifically sound research methods for conducting health disparities research, i.e., recruitment and retention, health measurement, and translation methods that are appropriate for diverse populations.  At NIH, she is working to increase multi-disciplinary trans-NIH intramural research focused on minority health and health disparities research.