Dr. Isabel Torres is an Associate Professor at the University of Houston (UH) Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) and a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine (PCRM) and the Center for Research on Minority Health (CRMH) at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson). Her current area of research addresses ethnic health disparities in palliative cancer care with an emphasis on the factors that ultimately influence access to, and the quality of advanced cancer care among underserved or vulnerable populations.
Dr. Torres’ earlier work in Latin America involved an analysis of the quality of palliative cancer care in five Latin American nations based on the first-ever cross-national survey of Latin American advanced cancer care providers that she coordinated. More recently, she has been carrying out research in Latin America to identify physician parenteral hydration prescribing-levels and the factors influencing their prescribing-levels for patients during their last weeks of life. Her research training spans cross-cultural health, health services organization, survey and intervention design and analysis, and qualitative research methods. Her research interests include cancer health disparities, geriatric health and palliative care, the development of performance and quality of palliative care measures, and medical mistrust and informed decision making.
She recently completed a National Cancer Institute funded research supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research titled “Caregiver Assessments of the Quality of Home Hospice Care: A Comparison Across 3 Ethnic Groups” and is expanding this line of inquiring through a recently obtained, 5-year NCI-funded Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01), titled “End-of-Life Treatment Preferences of Latino Medicare Beneficiaries with Cancer”. The recipient of numerous academic, research and community awards, Dr. Torres was recently invited by Lancet Oncology to participate as an expert in a historic event titled the 2011 Latin American Oncology Summit.
B.A., Latin American Studies & Government, 1989
M.P.H., Health Services Organization, 1995
P.h.D., International and Family Health, 2004
Licenses and Certifications
Areas of Specialization
Cross-cultural health research, Health services research, Cross-national health services research, Survey research, Multicultural curriculum development, Qualitative research methods, and Intervention research.
Cancer Health Disparities, Palliative and Supportive Care, Geriatric health, International Health, Medical Mistrust, Informed Decision Making, HPV Vaccine Uptake and Acceptance