Lilian Perez

Lilian Perez
Associate Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Post-doctoral fellowship in cancer prevention, National Cancer Institute; Ph.D. in public health, UC San Diego/San Diego State University; M.P.H. in public health, Emory University; B.A. in neuroscience, Wellesley College


Lilian Perez is an associate policy researcher at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her research is focused on the multilevel determinants (e.g., individual, social, environmental, and policy) of health and health behaviors among communities that have historically experienced inequities in the U.S. and populations in low- and middle-income countries. She has led work on physical activity, chronic disease prevention (e.g., cancer and cardiovascular disease), substance use, mental health, chronic pain, and vaccinations, among others. To understand and improve on the social determinants of health, Perez uses multidisciplinary approaches linking her work in community-based interventions and epidemiology with other fields such as urban planning, healthcare, and policy. 

Perez is a Gates Scholar and has received research support from the NIH. She has experience working in multiple settings, including the community, academia, and government (i.e., NIH and CDC). Her work focuses on evaluating community health interventions, analyzing national and cohort studies, and applying dissemination and implementation science frameworks. She is also interested in evaluating policies that affect health equity (e.g., urban planning and housing), and novel methods to study contextual effects on health. Perez received her Ph.D. from the Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University, and her MPH from the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University. She completed her post-doctoral training in the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. 

Previous Positions

Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, National Cancer Institute

Recent Projects

  • Linking churches with parks to increase physical activity among Latinos - Diversity Supplement

Selected Publications

Perez, L.G.; Tucker, J.S.; Pedersen, E.R.; Troxel, W.M.; Rodriguez, A.; Firth, C.L.; Seelam, R.; Shih, R.A.; D'Amico, E.J., "Neighborhood social environment change in late adolescence predicts substance use in emerging adulthood," Health and Place, 75(102807), 2022

Perez, L.G.; Cohen, D.A.; Seelam, R.; Han, B.; Arredondo, E.; Castro, G.; Rodriguez, C.; Mata, M.; Larson, A.; Derose, K., "Church contextual factors associated with Latinx physical activity and park use," Family & Community Health, 45(3), 2022

Perez, L.G.; Siconolfi, D.; Troxel, W.M.; Tucker, J.S.; Seelam, R.; Rodriguez, A.; Shih, R.A.; D’Amico, E.J., "Loneliness and multiple health domains: Associations among emerging adults," Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 45(2), 2021

Perez, L.G.; Peet, E.; Vegetabile, B.; Shih, R., "Big data needs and challenges to advance research on racial and ethnic inequities in maternal and child health," Women’s Health Issues, 32(2), 2021

Perez, L.G.; Dong, L.; Beckman, R.; Meadows, S.O., "Movement behaviors associated with mental health among US Military service members," Military Psychology, 34(2), 2021

Perez, L.G.; Oh, A.; Dwyer, L.; Perna, F.; Berrigan, D., "School contextual correlates of physical activity among a national adolescent sample," Preventive Medicine Reports, 14(100835), 2019

Perez, L.G.; Ruiz, J.; Berrigan, D., "Neighborhood environment perceptions among Latinos in the US," International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(17), 2019

Perez, L.G.; Kerr, J.; Sallis, J.F.; Slymen, D.; McKenzie, T.L.; Elder, J.P.; Arredondo, E.M., "Perceived neighborhood environmental factors that maximize the effectiveness of a multilevel intervention promoting physical activity among Latinas," American Journal of Health Promotion, 32(2), 2017