Valerie Romero-Leggott

Vice Chancellor for Diversity, UNM Health Sciences Center; Chief Diversity Officer; Associate Dean, UNM School of Medicine Office of Diversity; Associate Professor, Department of Family & Community Medicine
505 272-2728

Dr. Valerie Romero-Leggott received her B.A. degree at Harvard University of Cambridge, MA in 1982. Shortly after, she went on to attend the University of New Mexico, School of Medicine from 1987 through 1992 and received her Medical Degree.

Research Interests 

Dr. Valerie Romero-Leggott received her B.A. degree at Harvard University of Cambridge, MA in 1982. Shortly after she went on to attend the University of New Mexico, School of Medicine from 1987 through 1992 and received her Medical Degree. She has been a primary care provider for many years on the forefront of treating populations burdened by socio-economic and racial and ethnic disparities. Presently, Dr. Romero-Leggott is Vice Chancellor for Diversity at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Associate Dean of the School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She also serves as the Executive Director of the School of Medicine Combined BA/MD Degree Program, a unique program to promote the recruitment of a diverse group of graduating New Mexico high school seniors interested in New Mexico healthcare and in practicing medicine in our areas of greatest need in the state.  Her office promotes inclusivity and diversity throughout the Health Sciences Center and creates opportunities to address the health disparities that affect all New Mexicans.  One of her major duties is to provide multiple fora for discussing issues concerning underrepresented and disadvantaged populations.


Dr. Romero-Leggott has extensive experience in teaching cultural competence, developing educational pipelines for disadvantaged youth, and working with minority women in medicine and the health sciences.  She has been awarded a $1.5 million grant to enhance the workforce diversity from middle school through the professional degree for underrepresented and disadvantaged youth into the health professions. She has led in the work to develop and teach cultural competence to students, residents, and faculty in the medical school and other health professions and disciplines in order to better address health disparities and has provided statewide leadership in cultural competence working with legislators and the NM Department of Higher Education.


Dr. Romero-Leggott is recognized nationally and across the southwest region for her leadership.  She is a past member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Minority Health and the Western Regional Representative of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Diversity and Inclusion. She is Co-Founder and member of the Minority Women in Medicine and the Health Sciences and has served as Co-Chair of the UNMSOM Admissions Committee over the past 8 years.  Dr. Romero-Leggott was elected President of the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools and is a member of the National Council for Diversity in the Health Professions.  She serves in advisory roles to members of the New Mexico Congressional delegation and the State of New Mexico Higher Education Secretary as well as being appointed as a Commissioner for the State of New Mexico Health Policy Commission.  She was selected as a 2010 Scholar in the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine. Most recently in April 2012, Dr. Romero-Leggott received the Hispanic Health Leadership Award presented by the National Hispanic Medical Association to outstanding individuals who have played significant leadership roles in affecting the health of Hispanics and the underserved communities. Dr. Romero-Leggott was recognized for the outstanding work she has done for promoting Latino faculty in the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and other academic health institutions across the nation, and developing programs to encourage Hispanic youth to enter health professions. Dr. Romero-Leggott also serves in numerous advisory and leadership roles at the University of New Mexico and state medical and educational organizations.


Her professional interests are serving diverse populations, education, community based teaching, work in cultural competence and diversity, and adolescent medicine. She has forged important bridges between the health sciences and New Mexico community groups.  She has led in creating cross disciplinary programs with the law school and other academic units. She will continue working to increase diversity in the healthcare workforce and to reduce disparities in health and health care.


She is a role model for young female students and other professional women in the health sciences, especially Latinas and Hispanas.  She works to link diversity with academinc excellence using the skills and knowledge she has developed as an administrator, female ethnic minority, and native New Mexican.  She believes that understanding diversity and cultural issues are integral parts of achieving better health outcomes for our communities and our nation.