Rebecca Palacios


HSS 301

Dr. Rebecca Palacios is a Health Psychologist and a professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at NMSU. She has over 25 years of experience conducting community health research along the U.S./Mexico border, including needs assessments, program evaluation, health promotion and cancer education, and cultural adaptations of evidence-based programs for Hispanics. Her research in the past 7 years has focused on culturally tailoring cancer education for Latina mothers diagnosed with cancer. After assessing the needs and communication patterns of Hispanic mothers diagnosed with cancer and their school age children, her team culturally adapted an evidence-based cancer parenting education program which counsels child-rearing mothers with cancer on communication and parenting strategies. Dr. Palacios recently completed a randomized clinical trial testing the efficacy of the culturally adapted Conexiones program. With much of this clinical trial occurring during 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Palacios’ team also assessed the impact of the pandemic on young Latina mothers diagnosed with cancer. More recently, Dr. Palacios is working to refine the Conexiones program for Latina mothers diagnosed with advanced cancer. She also collaborates on research examining the influence of masculine norms/attitudes on the health behaviors of Hispanic men living along the US-Mexico border. As the NMSU Site Director for the MW CTR IN Community Engagement and Outreach Core, Dr. Palacios is also heavily involved in mentoring early-stage investigators in their pilot research projects. Dr. Palacios is the coordinator of the PhD program in Health Equity Sciences.


Health Psychology, PhD., University of Texas at El Paso
Experimental Psychology, MA, University of Texas at El Paso
Psychology, BS, University of Texas at El Paso

Awards & Honors

  • Recognition for Excellence in Research, NMSU CHSS (2013, 2014)
  • Con Alma Health Foundation - Hero of Health Recipient (2012)

Clinical Focus

  • Hispanic Cancer Survivors

Research Interests

  • Masculine Norms & Hispanic Men's Health Behaviors
  • Advanced cancer in young Hispanic women
  • Cancer in young Hispanic women
  • Cultural Adaptation of EBI's
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • U.S.-Mexico Border Health

Selected Publications

  • *Hernandez, A., Reyes, C.L., Garcia, I., Palacios, R. (2022). "“I felt defeated. I felt helpless”: Social Determinants of Health influencing the cancer survivorship of a young Latina mother." Journal of Cancer Therapy, 13(7), 440-449. ISSN Online: 2151-1942.
  • Palacios, R., Lewis., F.M., Reyes, C., Griffith, K., Zahlis, E., & Shands, M. E. (2022). A pilot feasibility study of Conexiones: A telephone-delivered cancer parenting education program for Hispanic mothers. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 41(1)1-19. PMC9674800
  • *Garcia, I, Palacios, R, and Reyes, CL. (Accepted for publication 8/20/2021). A Latina community’s evaluation of the culturally adapted Conexiones program: An inductive analysis of focus groups. Health Promotion Practice, 23(4), 662-671. PMC9033891.
  • *Reyes, CL, Palacios, R, Lewis, FM, Sondgeroth, K., and Moralez, EA. (2021). Young child-rearing Latina cancer survivors living in the US-Mexico border region: A qualitative study. Journal of Cancer Therapy, 12(4), 174-185. PMC8785974.
  • Lewis, F.M., Loggers, E.T., Phillips, F., Palacios R., Tercyack, KP, Griffith, K.A., Shands, M.E., Zahlis, E.H., Alzawad, Z., Almulla, H.A., (In Press; Published online: October 2019). Enhancing Connections-Palliative Care: A quasi-experimental pilot feasibility study of a cancer parenting program. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 23(2), 211-219, (PMJ-19-0041).
  • Loggers, E.T., Kirtane, K., Palacios, R., and Lewis, F.M. (2019). Leaving footprints, not scars: A qualitative pilot study of Hispanic mother’s willingness to communicate with dependent children about an advanced cancer diagnosis. Supportive Care in Cancer, 27, 1573-1578. PMC8859975
  • *Oushy, M., Palacios, R., Holden, A., Ramirez, A., Gallion, K., and O’Connell, M. (2015) To Share or Not to Share? A survey of biomedical researchers in the U.S. southwest, an ethnically diverse region. PLoS ONE, 10(9): e0138239.
  • *Sanchez, J., Palacios, R., Cole, A., and O’Connell, M. (2014). Evaluation of the walk-through inflatable colon as a colorectal cancer educational tool: Results from a pre and post research design. BioMed Central (BMC) Cancer, 14, 626.
  • *Sanchez, J.*, Palacios, R., Thompson, B., Martinez, V., and O’Connell, M. (2013). Assessing colorectal cancer screening behaviors and knowledge among at-risk Hispanics in Southern New Mexico. Journal of Cancer Therapy, 4, 15-25.

*Staff and student manuscripts mentored by Palacios