Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola is an internationally renowned expert on mental health in ethnic populations. As on-site principal investigator of the Mexican American Prevalence and Services Survey – the largest mental health study conducted in the United States on Mexican Americans – he identified the most prevalent mental health disorders in the Mexican-origin population in California’s central valley; showed that the rate of disorders increases the longer the individual resides in the United States; and demonstrated that children of immigrants have even greater rates of mental disorders. From this study, he developed a model of service delivery that increased access to mental health services among the Central Valley’s low-income, underserved, rural populations.
Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola conducts cross-national epidemiologic studies on the patterns and correlates of psychiatric disorders in general population samples. He is the coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Survey, and coordinates the work of the National Mental Health Institute surveys in Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica and Portugal. He also develops culturally and linguistically sensitive diagnostic mental health measures, and translates mental health research into practical information for consumers and their families, health professionals, service administrators and policy makers.
Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennesse, 1986
American Psychological Association (Division 45)
Chair, Board of Directors of the National Mental Health Association
Commission of Community Psychology, Interamerican Society of Psychology
Member, National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institute of Mental Health
Member, Statewide Advisory Committee for the California Policy Institutes on Health
Past Member, Board of Trustees of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry
Quality Assurance Advisor, Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
The International Consortium of Psychiatric Epidemiology (ICPE) sponsored by NIH and WHO
Select Honors and Awards:
2002 Outstanding Latino Faculty in Higher Education Award by the American Association for Higher Education, Hispanic Caucus, March 2002, 2002
Advisor to the World Health Organization’s World Health Surveys, June 2002, 2002
California State University, Fresno’s Provost’s Excellence in Teaching Award for Distinguished Achievement in Research, May 11, 2000, 2000
Special recognition initiate of the Honor Society of the Phi Kappa Phi, California State University, Fresno Chapter, April 10, 2000, 2000
Medal of Congress (“Medalla de la Camara de Diputados”) of Chile for mental health-related research and work, September 9, 1999, 1999
Coordinator for Latin America of the World Mental Health 2000 (WMH2000) study, an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) since February 1999, 1999
1998 Peabody College of Vanderbilt University Distinguished Alumnus Award, May 1998, 1998
Member of the Spanish-Speaking Network on Disabilities’ work on the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) since November 1998, 1998
Member of the World Health Organization's (WHO) ICIDH-2 Spanish-Speaking Network on Disabilities since April 1998, 1998
Elected member of the World Health Organization's (WHO) CIDI Advisory Committee since October 1997, 1997
Member of the WHO’s International Consortium of Psychiatric Epidemiology since July 1996, 1996
Promoted to Professor Titular, ITESO, Guadalajara, México, 1990, 1990
Robert E. Harris Memorial Award, Department of Psychiatry, UC San Francisco, 1987, 1987
Select Recent Publications:
Aguilar-Gaxiola SA, Zelezny L, Garcia B, Edmonson C, Alejo-Garcia C, Vega WA. Translating research into action: Reducing disparities in mental health care for Mexican Americans. Psychiatric Services. (In Press)
Borges G, Walters E, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Bijl R, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, Colmenares E, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Vega W, Wittchen H-U, Andrade L, Kessler RC. The epidemiology of inhalant-use disorders in the International Consortium for Psychiatric Epidemiology. Addiction. (In Press)
Kessler RC, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Andrade L, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Merikangas KR, Molnar BE, Vega WA, Walters EE, Wittchen HU. Cross-national comparisons of comorbidities between substance use disorders and mental health disorders: Results from the International Consortium in Psychiatric Epidemiology. In: W.J. Bukoski and Z. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook for Drug Abuse Prevention, Theory, Science and Practice. New York: Plenum Publishing Corporation. (In Press)
Aguilar-Gaxiola SA, et al. Social consequences of adolescent-onset substance use disorders: A cross-national comparison of six countries. Chapter to be included in R.C. Kessler and T.B. Üstün (Eds.) and published by Cambridge Press, 2002.
Kessler RC, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA, Berglund PA, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Greenfield SF, Kolody B, Olfson M, Vega WA. Patterns and predictors of help-seeking after first onset of substance-use disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(11):1065-1071, 2001.
Kessler RC, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Andrade L, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Merikangas KR, Molnar BE, Vega WA, Walters EE, Wittchen HU, Ustun TB. Mental-substance comorbidities in the ICPE surveys (English). Psychiatria Fennica, 32(2):62-79, 2001.
Vega WA, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA. Help-seeking for mental health problems among Mexican-Americans. Journal of Immigrant Health, 3(3):133-140, 2001.
Vega WA, Alderete E, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA. Adolescent sequela of adolescent heavy drinking among Mexican Americans. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 22(2):254-266, 2000.
Alderete E, Vega WA, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA. Lifetime prevalence of and risk factors for psychiatric disorders among Mexican migrant farmworkers in California. American Journal of Public Health, 90(4):608-614, 2000.
Catalano R, Alderete E, Vega WA, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola S. Job loss and major depression among Mexican Americans. Social Science Quarterly, 81(1):475-487, 2000.
Alarcon RD, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA. Mental health policy developments in Latin America. Bulletin of the WHO: The International Journal of Public Health, 78(4):483-490, 2000.
Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Alegria M, Andrade L, Bijl R, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kessler RC, Kolody B, Ustun TB, Vega WA, Wittchen HU. The International Consortium in Psychiatric Epidemiology. Psychiatrie, pp. 15-20, April 2000.
Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Alegria M, Andrade L, Bijl R, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Kessler RC, Ustun TB, Vega W, Wittchen H-U. The International Consortium in Psychiatric Epidemiology. In: E. Dragomirecká, A. Palcová, H. Papežová (Eds.), Social Psychiatry in Changing Times, pp. 86-95, Prague, Czech Republic: Prague Psychiatric Center, 2000.
Alderete E, Vega WA, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA. Depressive symptomatology: Prevalence and psychosocial risk factors among Mexican farm workers in California. Journal of Community Psychology, 27(4):457-471, 1999.
Alderete E, Vega WA, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA. Effects of time in the United States and Indian ethnicity on DSM-IIIR psychiatric disorders among Mexican Americans in California. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 188(2):90-100, 1999.
Vega WA, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Catalano R. Gaps in service utilization by Mexican Americans with mental health problems. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(6):928-934, 1999.
Vega WA, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA, Alderete E, Catalano R, Caraveo-Anduaga J. Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders among urban and rural Mexican Americans in California. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55(9):771-778, 1998.
Vega WA, Alderete E, Kolody B, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA. Illicit drug use among Mexicans and Mexican Americans in California: The effects of gender and acculturation. Addiction, 93(12):1841-1850, 1998.
Merikangas KR, Mehta RL, Monar BE, Walters EE, Swendsen JD, Aguilar-Gaxiola SA, Bijl R, Borges G, Caraveo-Anduaga JJ, DeWit DJ, Kolody B, Vega WA, Wittchen H, Kessler RC. Comorbidity of substance and psychiatric disorders: Results of the International Consortium of Psychiatric Epidemiology. Addictive Behaviors, 23(6):893-907, 1998.