RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM

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Cirila Estela Vasquez Guzman

RWJF Center for Health Policy Dissertation Fellow
Sociology, Currently on the Job Market

C. Estela Vasquez Guzman was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was two. She became interested in better understanding the medical establishment due to her personal struggles with various health conditions. She graduated salutatorian from Benson Polytechnic High School, a vocational school where she majored in Nursing. During that time she did over 200 hours of volunteer service at Presbyterian Hospital. Vasquez Guzman graduated from Whitman College in 2010 with her B.A. in Sociology and published her first piece on racial and class health disparities. She went on to the University of New Mexico where she obtained her M.A. degree in Sociology with a focus on mental health among the children of Mexican immigrant mothers. Currently Vasquez Guzman is pursuing her Ph.D. in Sociology with a concentration on Racial/Ethnic Health Inequities and using an equity framework to develop stronger health policy promoting a more equitable healthcare system.

Research Interests 

C. Estela Vasquez Guzman research interest concerns with how the social structure influences health outcomes and processes. Her broader research agenda engages with literature on the medical profession, models of health, and inequities in the delivery of health care.

Her dissertation evaluates how medical students are trained to work with diverse populations. This research contributes to the field of sociology, specifically to the literature on the medical professions and the socialization of medical students. How do we teach social-cultural issues to future medical providers? Recent changes to the MCAT and revisions to the LCME accreditation standards have placed medical education reform as a top priority for the medical community. Vasquez Guzman utilizes a range of qualitative methods in her research, including interviews, focus groups, and case study data to analyze the emergence, adoption, and implementation of culture competency training. Her research will help the medical field to better understand how students are trained to work with diverse communities in order to foster a workforce that can effectively deliver high quality care to diverse and marginalized communities. 

Her training in health policy and sociology aims to bridge these two realms in order to contribute to the body of knowledge and build a more responsive healthcare system. For more information about my research and teaching interest, please contact me at

Recent Accomplishments 

C. Estela Vasquez Guzman was recently elected as the incoming student representative on the Section on Medical Sociology Council at the American Sociological Association (ASA) and looks forward to serving in that capacity. She is excited to currently serve as the Southwest Graduate Fellow of the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) assisting with the organization of the 3rd Annual LGBTQ Health Summit in Albuquerque, NM. Vasquez-Guzman engagement in service has strengthened her leadership and positively contributes to her professional identity.
Vasquez Guzman has furthermore been a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Fellow at the University of New Mexico since 2010. In the last two years she has been part of a larger research team funded by the National Institute of Health investigating medical decision making and bias. This team administered a national survey to medical students and recently traveled all over the nation to conduct case studies documenting the various medical school environments and how they facilitate the training future providers to work with diverse communities. Vasquez Guzman adds the sociological perspective to this interdisciplinary collaborative research project, which makes her a well-rounded researcher with quantitative and qualitative research experience.