Karen Rocío Flórez

Photo of Karen Flórez
Associate Behavioral and Social Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in public health, Columbia University; M.P.H. in public health, Columbia University; B.A. in anthropology, Hofstra University


Karen Flórez is an associate behavioral and social scientist at RAND and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She obtained her doctorate from the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.

Trained in both qualitative and quantitative methods, she has applied this mixed methodological skill-set to explore sociocultural factors affecting the health of vulnerable populations. Specifically, she has focused on the process of acculturation (i.e., the process by which immigrants begin to espouse the norms, values, and behaviors of the dominant culture) and fatalism (i.e., the belief that all aspects of individual life are predetermined) among various immigrant Latino communities.

Her work on acculturation has looked at nutrition and diet-related diseases (e.g., obesity) in large representative samples of Latino adults. The research on fatalism explored the impact of fate on cancer screening beliefs and practices among immigrant women from the Dominican Republic living in New York City.

Flórez is bilingual (English-Spanish) and has worked extensively with monolingual Spanish populations in the United States.

Selected Publications

Abraído-Lanza, A.F., Céspedes, A., Daya, S., Flórez, K.F., & White, K., "Satisfaction with health care among Latinas," Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Undeserved, 22(2), 2011

Flórez, K.R., Aguirre, A.N., Viladrich, A., Céspedes, A., De La Cruz, A.A., & Abraído-Lanza, A.F., "Fatalism or Destiny? A qualitative study and interpretative framework on Dominican women's breast cancer beliefs," Journal of Immigrant Health, 11(4), 2009

Abraído-Lanza, A.F., Viladrich, A., Flórez, K.R., Céspedes, A., Aguirre, A.N., & De La Cruz, A.A., "Fatalismo reconsidered: A cautionary note for health-related research and practice with Latino populations," Ethnicity and Disease, 17, 2006

Abraído-Lanza, A. F., Armbrister, A. N., Flórez, K. R., Aguierre, A. N., "Toward a theory-driven model of acculturation in public health research.," American Journal of Public Health, 96(8), 2006

Abraído-Lanza, A.F., Chao, M.T., & Flórez, K.R., "Do healthy behaviors decline with greater acculturation? Implications for the Latino mortality paradox," Social Science and Medicine, 61(6), 2005