Dr. Sofia Fernandez is a clinically trained social worker with a doctorate in social welfare. Her research focuses on utilizing community-based approaches to addressing health disparities among hard-to-reach populations, primarily HIV. Fernandez has a strong background and training in understanding the various contextual factors of health and well-being including cultural, social, economic, and community influences on health and her research aims to incorporate these various aspects into the design of interventions and programs. Her research values the importance of involving individuals from populations of focus in the research process to inform program development. Her research has also included working closely with a campus support program designed for former foster care alumni and students experiencing homelessness in college. She is currently a post-doctoral associate on FIU-RCMI’s Investigator Development Core, a program designed to provide early-stage investigators with pilot grants and training opportunities to pursue research careers in the health sciences.