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    William Vega, PhD

    TitleProvost Professor, Cleofas and Victor Ramirez Professor of Practice, Policy, Research and Advocacy For The Latino Population, Executive Director, USC Edward R. Roybal Institute On Aging
    SchoolSchool of Social Work
    DepartmentSocial Work
    AddressATT T1400
    Off Campus
    Los Angeles California 90089-0411
    Phone+1 213 740 4804
    Emailwilliaav@usc.edu
    vCardDownload vCard

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      William Vega holds USC appointments in social work, preventive medicine, psychiatry and family medicine. He is also emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley and co-directs the Network for Multicultural Research on Health and Healthcare at UCLA.

      An elected member of the Institute of Medicine, Vega has conducted community and clinical research projects on health, mental health and substance abuse throughout the United States and Latin America. His specialty is multi-cultural epidemiologic and services research with adolescents and adults -- work that has been funded by multiple public and private sources. He has published more than 170 articles and chapters, in addition to several books. The 2006 ISI Web of Science listed him in the top half of 1 percent of the most highly cited researchers worldwide in social science literature over the past 20 years.

      Prior to joining the Roybal Institute, Vega was director of the Luskin Center on Innovation at UCLA. In 2002, he received the Society for Prevention Research's Community, Culture and Prevention Science Award and the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse's National Award of Excellence in Research by a Senior Scientist.

      Vega has served on numerous boards and task forces, including health disparities work groups of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Attorney General's Task Force on Methamphetamine, the Institute of Medicine Board on Population Health, the Committee on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Effectiveness and the Institute of Medicine Health Disparities Roundtable. He is also a member of the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research advisory committees.


      Collapse Biography 
      Collapse Awards and Honors
      USC School of Social Work2013USC School of Social Work Award for Excellence in Leadership and Creativity
      2008Elected to the Institute of Medicine National Academy of Sciences
      2006Listed in Thompson Science for inclusion in the top 0.5% of the most highly cited authors world-wide
      2002Community, Culture, and Prevention Science Award, Society for Prevention Research
      National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse (NIDA)2002National Award of Excellence in Research by a Senior Scholar
      University of Texas – Houston Medical School 2000John C. Ribble Visiting Professorship
      UCLA1991Ralph R. Sachs Visiting Scholar in Public Health

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      Collapse Bibliographic 
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      Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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      1. Angel JL, Vega W, López-Ortega M. Aging in Mexico: Population Trends and Emerging Issues. Gerontologist. 2016 Dec 07. PMID: 27927730.
        View in: PubMed
      2. Jeste DV, Blazer DG, Buckwalter KC, Cassidy KK, Fishman L, Gwyther LP, Levin SM, Phillipson C, Rao RR, Schmeding E, Vega W, Avanzino JA, Glorioso DK, Feather J. Age-Friendly Communities Initiative: Public Health Approach to Promoting Successful Aging. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2016 Jul 28. PMID: 27742528.
        View in: PubMed
      3. Aguila E, Guerrero EG, Vega W. Sociodemographic characteristics associated with alcohol use among low-income Mexican older adults. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2016; 11(1):16. PMID: 27129926.
        View in: PubMed
      4. Vega W, Wallace SP. Affordable Housing: A Key Lever to Community Health for Older Americans. Am J Public Health. 2016 Apr; 106(4):635-6. PMID: 26959266.
        View in: PubMed
      5. Mudrazija S, López-Ortega M, Vega W, Gutiérrez Robledo LM, Sribney W. Household Composition and Longitudinal Health Outcomes for Older Mexican Return Migrants. Res Aging. 2016 Apr; 38(3):346-73. PMID: 26966255.
        View in: PubMed
      6. Guerrero EG, Aarons GA, Grella CE, Garner BR, Cook B, Vega W. Program Capacity to Eliminate Outcome Disparities in Addiction Health Services. Adm Policy Ment Health. 2016 Jan; 43(1):23-35. PMID: 25450596.
        View in: PubMed
      7. Guerrero EG, Harris L, Padwa H, Vega W, Palinkas L. Expected Impact of Health Care Reform on the Organization and Service Delivery of Publicly Funded Addiction Health Services. Adm Policy Ment Health. 2015 May 26. PMID: 26008902.
        View in: PubMed
      8. Tarraf W, Vega W, González HM. Emergency Department Services Use Among Immigrant and Non-immigrant Groups in the United States. J Immigr Minor Health. 2014 Aug; 16(4):595-606. PMID: 23447058.
        View in: PubMed
      9. Guerrero EG, Villatoro JA, Kong Y, Fleiz C, Vega W, Strathdee SA, Medina-Mora ME. Barriers to accessing substance abuse treatment in Mexico: national comparative analysis by migration status. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2014; 9(1):30. PMID: 25074067.
        View in: PubMed
      10. Guerrero EG, Villatoro JA, Kong Y, Gamiño MB, Vega W, Mora ME. Mexicans' use of illicit drugs in an era of drug reform: National comparative analysis by migrant status. Int J Drug Policy. 2014 May; 25(3):451-7. PMID: 24816376.
        View in: PubMed
      11. Guerrero EG, Khachikian T, Kim T, Kong Y, Vega W. Spanish language proficiency among providers and Latino clients' engagement in substance abuse treatment. Addict Behav. 2013 Dec; 38(12):2893-7. PMID: 24045032.
        View in: PubMed
      12. Guerrero EG, Marsh JC, Khachikian T, Amaro H, Vega W. Disparities in Latino substance use, service use, and treatment: Implications for culturally and evidence-based interventions under health care reform. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Dec 15; 133(3):805-13. PMID: 23953657.
        View in: PubMed
      13. Des Jarlais DC, McCarty D, Vega W, Bramson H. HIV infection among people who inject drugs: the challenge of racial/ethnic disparities. Am Psychol. 2013 May-Jun; 68(4):274-85. PMID: 23688094.
        View in: PubMed
      14. López SR, Barrio C, Kopelowicz A, Vega W. From documenting to eliminating disparities in mental health care for Latinos. Am Psychol. 2012 Oct; 67(7):511-23. PMID: 23046302.
        View in: PubMed
      15. Gara MA, Vega W, Arndt S, Escamilla M, Fleck DE, Lawson WB, Lesser I, Neighbors HW, Wilson DR, Arnold LM, Stratowski SM. Influence of patient race and ethnicity on clinical assessment in patients with affective disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012 Jun; 69(6):593-600. PMID: 22309972.
        View in: PubMed
      16. Miranda PY, Johnson-Jennings M, Tarraf W, González P, Vega W, González HM. Using colorectal trends in the U.S. to identify unmet primary care needs of vulnerable populations. Prev Med. 2012 Aug; 55(2):131-6. PMID: 22659226.
        View in: PubMed
      17. Brega AG, Ang A, Vega W, Jiang L, Beals J, Mitchell CM, Moore K, Manson SM, Acton KJ, Roubideaux Y. Mechanisms underlying the relationship between health literacy and glycemic control in American Indians and Alaska Natives. Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Jul; 88(1):61-8. PMID: 22497973.
        View in: PubMed
      18. Peña JB, Zayas LH, Cabrera-Nguyen P, Vega W. US Cultural Involvement and Its Association With Suicidal Behavior Among Youths in the Dominican Republic. Am J Public Health. 2012 Apr; 102(4):664-71. PMID: 22397348.
        View in: PubMed
      19. Breslau J, Borges G, Saito N, Tancredi DJ, Benjet C, Hinton L, Kendler KS, Kravitz R, Vega W, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Medina-Mora ME. Migration From Mexico to the United States and Conduct Disorder: A Cross-national Study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011 Dec; 68(12):1284-93. PMID: 22147845.
        View in: PubMed
      20. Zhivan NA, Ang A, Amaro H, Vega W, Markides KS. Ethnic/Race differences in the attrition of older american survey respondents: implications for health-related research. Health Serv Res. 2012 Feb; 47(1 Pt 1):241-54. PMID: 22091976.
        View in: PubMed
      21. Breslau J, Borges G, Tancredi D, Saito N, Kravitz R, Hinton L, Vega W, Medina-Mora ME, Aguilar-Gaxiola S. Migration from Mexico to the United States and subsequent risk for depressive and anxiety disorders: a cross-national study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011 Apr; 68(4):428-33. PMID: 21464367.
        View in: PubMed
      22. Vega W, Ang A, Rodriguez MA, Finch BK. Neighborhood protective effects on depression in Latinos. Am J Community Psychol. 2011 Mar; 47(1-2):114-26. PMID: 21052825.
        View in: PubMed
      23. Interian A, Ang A, Gara MA, Rodriguez MA, Vega W. The long-term trajectory of depression among Latinos in primary care and its relationship to depression care disparities. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2011 Mar-Apr; 33(2):94-101. PMID: 21596201.
        View in: PubMed
      24. Vega W, Sribney WM. Understanding the Hispanic Health Paradox through a multi-generation lens: a focus on behavior disorders. Nebr Symp Motiv. 2011; 57:151-68. PMID: 21166308.
        View in: PubMed
      25. González HM, Vega W, Tarraf W. Health care quality perceptions among foreign-born Latinos and the importance of speaking the same language. J Am Board Fam Med. 2010 Nov-Dec; 23(6):745-52. PMID: 21057070.
        View in: PubMed
      26. Gara MA, Vega W, Lesser I, Escamilla M, Lawson WB, Wilson DR, Fleck DE, Strakowski SM. The role of complex emotions in inconsistent diagnoses of schizophrenia. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2010 Sep; 198(9):609-13. PMID: 20823720.
        View in: PubMed
      27. González HM, Tarraf W, Whitfield KE, Vega W. The epidemiology of major depression and ethnicity in the United States. J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Nov; 44(15):1043-51. PMID: 20537350.
        View in: PubMed
      28. Interian A, Ang A, Gara MA, Link BG, Rodriguez MA, Vega W. Stigma and depression treatment utilization among Latinos: utility of four stigma measures. Psychiatr Serv. 2010 Apr; 61(4):373-9. PMID: 20360276.
        View in: PubMed
      29. González HM, Vega W, Williams DR, Tarraf W, West BT, Neighbors HW. Depression care in the United States: too little for too few. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Jan; 67(1):37-46. PMID: 20048221.
        View in: PubMed
      30. Vega W, Rodriguez MA, Ang A. Addressing stigma of depression in Latino primary care patients. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2010 Mar-Apr; 32(2):182-91. PMID: 20302993.
        View in: PubMed
      31. Perez D, Ang A, Vega W. Effects of health insurance on perceived quality of care among Latinos in the United States. J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Nov; 24 Suppl 3:555-60. PMID: 19842006.
        View in: PubMed
      32. González HM, Vega W, Rodríguez MA, Tarraf W, Sribney WM. Diabetes awareness and knowledge among Latinos: does a usual source of healthcare matter? J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Nov; 24 Suppl 3:528-33. PMID: 19842002.
        View in: PubMed
      33. Rodríguez MA, Vega W. Confronting inequities in Latino health care. J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Nov; 24 Suppl 3:505-7. PMID: 19841998.
        View in: PubMed
      34. Díaz E, Miskemen T, Vega W, Gara M, Wilson DR, Lesser I, Escamilla M, Neighbors HW, Arndt S, Strakowski S. Inconsistencies in diagnosis and symptoms among bilingual and English-speaking Latinos and Euro-Americans. Psychiatr Serv. 2009 Oct; 60(10):1379-82. PMID: 19797380.
        View in: PubMed
      35. Vega W, Rodriguez MA, Gruskin E. Health disparities in the Latino population. Epidemiol Rev. 2009; 31:99-112. PMID: 19713270.
        View in: PubMed
      36. González HM, Ceballos M, Tarraf W, West BT, Bowen ME, Vega W. The health of older Mexican Americans in the long run. Am J Public Health. 2009 Oct; 99(10):1879-85. PMID: 19696396.
        View in: PubMed
      37. Vega W, Canino G, Cao Z, Alegria M. Prevalence and correlates of dual diagnoses in U.S. Latinos. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Feb 1; 100(1-2):32-8. PMID: 19028025.
        View in: PubMed
      38. Shrout PE, Alegría M, Canino G, Guarnaccia PJ, Vega W, Duan N, Cao Z. Testing language effects in psychiatric epidemiology surveys with randomized experiments: results from the National Latino and Asian American Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Aug 1; 168(3):345-52. PMID: 18550562.
        View in: PubMed
      39. Vega W, Lewis-Fernández R. Ethnicity and variability of psychotic symptoms. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2008 Jun; 10(3):223-8. PMID: 18652790.
        View in: PubMed
      40. Canino G, Vega W, Sribney WM, Warner LA, Alegría M. Social Relationships, Social Assimilation, and Substance-Use Disorders among Adult Latinos in the U.S. J Drug Issues. 2008; 38(1):69-101. PMID: 20011228.
        View in: PubMed
      41. Interian A, Martinez IE, Guarnaccia PJ, Vega W, Escobar JI. A qualitative analysis of the perception of stigma among Latinos receiving antidepressants. Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Dec; 58(12):1591-4. PMID: 18048562.
        View in: PubMed
      42. Vega W, Karno M, Alegria M, Alvidrez J, Bernal G, Escamilla M, Escobar J, Guarnaccia P, Jenkins J, Kopelowicz A, Lagomasino IT, Lewis-Fernandez R, Marin H, Lopez S, Loue S. Research issues for improving treatment of U.S. Hispanics with persistent mental disorders. Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Mar; 58(3):385-94. PMID: 17325113.
        View in: PubMed
      43. Kristofco RE, Stewart AJ, Vega W. Perspectives on disparities in depression care. J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2007; 27 Suppl 1:S18-25. PMID: 18085576.
        View in: PubMed
      44. Vega W, Chen KW, Williams J. Smoking, drugs, and other behavioral health problems among multiethnic adolescents in the NHSDA. Addict Behav. 2007 Sep; 32(9):1949-56. PMID: 17254715.
        View in: PubMed
      45. Vega W, Almeida R, Miño G, Gené J, Guarro J. A quick and cost-effective method for diagnosing disseminated histoplasmosis in children. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2007 Apr; 57(4):405-8. PMID: 17188450.
        View in: PubMed
      46. Vega W, Orellana M, Zaror L, Gené J, Guarro J. Saksenaea vasiformis infections: case report and literature review. Mycopathologia. 2006 Oct; 162(4):289-94. PMID: 17039275.
        View in: PubMed
      47. Escobar JI, Vega W. Cultural issues and psychiatric diagnosis: providing a general background for considering substance use diagnoses. Addiction. 2006 Sep; 101 Suppl 1:40-7. PMID: 16930160.
        View in: PubMed
      48. Minsky S, Petti T, Gara M, Vega W, Lu W, Kiely G. Ethnicity and clinical psychiatric diagnosis in childhood. Adm Policy Ment Health. 2006 Sep; 33(5):558-67. PMID: 16786422.
        View in: PubMed
      49. Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Medina-Mora ME, Magaña CG, Vega W, Alejo-Garcia C, Quintanar TR, Vazquez L, Ballesteros PD, Ibarra J, Rosales H. Illicit drug use research in Latin America: epidemiology service use, and HIV. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Sep; 84 Suppl 1:S85-93. PMID: 16769182.
        View in: PubMed
      50. Vega W, Sribney WM, Miskimen TM, Escobar JI, Aguilar-Gaxiola S. Putative psychotic symptoms in the Mexican American population: prevalence and co-occurrence with psychiatric disorders. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2006 Jul; 194(7):471-7. PMID: 16840842.
        View in: PubMed
      51. Warner LA, Valdez A, Vega W, de la Rosa M, Turner RJ, Canino G. Hispanic drug abuse in an evolving cultural context: an agenda for research. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Sep; 84 Suppl 1:S8-16. PMID: 16750335.
        View in: PubMed
      52. Atdjian S, Vega W. Disparities in mental health treatment in U.S. racial and ethnic minority groups: implications for psychiatrists. Psychiatr Serv. 2005 Dec; 56(12):1600-2. PMID: 16339626.
        View in: PubMed
      53. Vega W. Higher stakes ahead for cultural competence. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2005 Nov-Dec; 27(6):446-50. PMID: 16271660.
        View in: PubMed
      54. Chen KW, Killeya-Jones LA, Vega W. Prevalence and co-occurrence of psychiatric symptom clusters in the U.S. adolescent population using DISC predictive scales. Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2005 Oct 28; 1:22. PMID: 16255774.
        View in: PubMed
      55. Vega W, Gil AG. Revisiting drug progression: long-range effects of early tobacco use. Addiction. 2005 Sep; 100(9):1358-69. PMID: 16128725.
        View in: PubMed
      56. Interian A, Guarnaccia PJ, Vega W, Gara MA, Like RC, Escobar JI, Díaz-Martínez AM. The relationship between ataque de nervios and unexplained neurological symptoms: a preliminary analysis. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2005 Jan; 193(1):32-9. PMID: 15674132.
        View in: PubMed
      57. Báez A, Almodóvar JI, Cantor A, Celestin F, Cruz-Cruz L, Fonseca S, Trinidad-Pinedo J, Vega W. High frequency of HPV16-associated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in the Puerto Rican population. Head Neck. 2004 Sep; 26(9):778-84. PMID: 15350023.
        View in: PubMed
      58. Vega W, Sribney WM, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Kolody B. 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders among Mexican Americans: nativity, social assimilation, and age determinants. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2004 Aug; 192(8):532-41. PMID: 15387155.
        View in: PubMed
      59. Alegria M, Takeuchi D, Canino G, Duan N, Shrout P, Meng XL, Vega W, Zane N, Vila D, Woo M, Vera M, Guarnaccia P, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Sue S, Escobar J, Lin KM, Gong F. Considering context, place and culture: the National Latino and Asian American Study. Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 2004; 13(4):208-20. PMID: 15719529.
        View in: PubMed
      60. Kessler RC, Abelson J, Demler O, Escobar JI, Gibbon M, Guyer ME, Howes MJ, Jin R, Vega W, Walters EE, Wang P, Zaslavsky A, Zheng H. Clinical calibration of DSM-IV diagnoses in the World Mental Health (WMH) version of the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMHCIDI). Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 2004; 13(2):122-39. PMID: 15297907.
        View in: PubMed
      61. Finch BK, Catalano RC, Novaco RW, Vega W. Employment frustration and alcohol abuse/dependence among labor migrants in California. J Immigr Health. 2003 Oct; 5(4):181-6. PMID: 14574069.
        View in: PubMed
      62. Firestone JM, Harris RJ, Vega W. The impact of gender role ideology, male expectancies, and acculturation on wife abuse. Int J Law Psychiatry. 2003 Sep-Oct; 26(5):549-64. PMID: 14522225.
        View in: PubMed
      63. Finch BK, Vega W. Acculturation stress, social support, and self-rated health among Latinos in California. J Immigr Health. 2003 Jul; 5(3):109-17. PMID: 14512765.
        View in: PubMed
      64. Vega W, Sribney WM, Achara-Abrahams I. Co-occurring alcohol, drug, and other psychiatric disorders among Mexican-origin people in the United States. Am J Public Health. 2003 Jul; 93(7):1057-64. PMID: 12835179.
        View in: PubMed
      65. Minsky S, Vega W, Miskimen T, Gara M, Escobar J. Diagnostic patterns in Latino, African American, and European American psychiatric patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003 Jun; 60(6):637-44. PMID: 12796227.
        View in: PubMed
      66. Vega W, Sribney W. Parental risk factors and social assimilation in alcohol dependence of Mexican Americans. J Stud Alcohol. 2003 Mar; 64(2):167-75. PMID: 12713189.
        View in: PubMed
      67. Aguilar-Gaxiola SA, Zelezny L, Garcia B, Edmondson C, Alejo-Garcia C, Vega W. Translating research into action: reducing disparities in mental health care for Mexican Americans. Psychiatr Serv. 2002 Dec; 53(12):1563-8. PMID: 12461216.
        View in: PubMed
      68. Vega W, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Andrade L, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Heeringa SG, Kessler RC, Kolody B, Merikangas KR, Molnar BE, Walters EE, Warner LA, Wittchen HU. Prevalence and age of onset for drug use in seven international sites: results from the international consortium of psychiatric epidemiology. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2002 Dec 1; 68(3):285-97. PMID: 12393223.
        View in: PubMed
      69. Finch BK, Hummer RA, Reindl M, Vega W. Validity of self-rated health among Latino(a)s. Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Apr 15; 155(8):755-9. PMID: 11943694.
        View in: PubMed
      70. Gil AG, Vega W, Turner RJ. Early and mid-adolescence risk factors for later substance abuse by African Americans and European Americans. Public Health Rep. 2002; 117 Suppl 1:S15-29. PMID: 12435824.
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