Dr. María Luisa Rolón


Dr. María Luisa Rolón, MPSS, is a binational Mexican medical graduate from Universidad Xochicalco whose research focus is on reducing harms, including HIV, associated with substance use worldwide, especially in the Mexico-U.S. border region. She is also Assistant Professor of Community Medicine and Public Health at her alma mater, Universidad Xochicalco, where she shares her field research experiences and global health perspective with future medical providers in Mexico. In collaboration with the Division of Global Public Health at the UCSD School of Medicine and the Mexico-U.S. Border Health Commission, her work has concentrated on HIV prevention with underserved, marginalized populations including female sex workers and people who inject drugs (PWID) in Tijuana, Mexico. Dr. Rolón is also a former scholar from the TIES2 Certificate Program on Drug Addiction and Related Harms, an inter-institutional and binational collaboration funded by USAID and HED, where she developed a fotonovela on overdose prevention alongside colleagues under the mentorship of Peter Davidson, PhD (UCSD) and Karla D. Wagner, PhD (UNR). Recently, Dr. Rolón completed a NIH Fogarty Fellowship in the AIDS International Training Research Program (AITRP) at UCSD. As part of her training, she has been involved in an education program focused on HIV, viral hepatitis and STI prevention, harm reduction efforts, and public health-based and human rights laws to help diminish police practices that could contribute to drug-related behaviors among PWID in Tijuana, Mexico (PIs: Strathdee & Beletsky). Dr. Rolón was recently awarded a Fogarty GloCal Fellowship which, alongside mentors Davidson (UCSD) and Hurtado (UABC, CEUX), will allow her to focus on her harm reduction work in Mexico and help prevent potentially fatal complications of skin-wounds while improving referrals to HIV counseling, testing and access to health-care services through their project, Cuerazos (Northern-Mexico slang for skin abscess or wound at injection-site) which will be nested in Proyecto El Cuete.


  • Syvertsen JL, Robertson AM, Rolon ML, Palinkas LA, Martínez G, Rangel MG, Strathdee SA. Eyes that don't see, heart that doesn't feel: Coping with sex work in an intimate relationship and its implications for HIV/STI prevention. Soc Sci Med 2013; 87: 1-8. [Download]
  • Rolon ML, Syvertsen JL, Robertson AM, Rangel MG, Martínez G, Ulibarri MD, Servin AE, Strathdee SA. The influence of having children on HIV-related risk behaviors of female sex workers and their intimate male partners in two Mexico-U.S. border cities. J Trop Pediatr 2013; 59(3): 214-219. [Download]
  • Goldenberg SM, Engstrom D, Rolon ML, Silverman JG, Strathdee SA. Sex Workers Perspectives on Strategies to Reduce Sexual Exploitation and HIV Risk: A Qualitative Study in Tijuana, Mexico. PLoS ONE 2013; 8(8): e72982. [Download]
  • Rolón ML, Gaeta A, Davidson PJ, Strathdee SA, Romo A, Wagner KD. Juan y el Chore Salen del Bote: Una Historieta con Tips para Sobrevivir una Sobredosis [Juan and Chore Get Out of Jail: a Graphic Novel with Tips on Surviving Overdose]. Tijuana: Centro SER, A.C., 2013. Print. Copy available upon request.
  • Goldenberg SM, Silverman JG, Engstrom D, Bojórquez-Chapela I, Usita P, Rolón ML, Strathdee SA. Exploring the Context of Trafficking and Adolescent Sex Industry Involvement in Tijuana, Mexico: Consequences for HIV Risk and Prevention. Violence Against Women 2015; 21 (4):478-499 [Download]