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Prior to coming to FIU, she was adjunct professor of public health at Nova Northeastern University, and taught speech communication at Miami Dade College and communication at the University of Miami.She has been an invited lecturer for graduate programs at several universities in Latin America. Villar’s professional experience includes senior research roles at the University of Miami School of Medicine departments of epidemiology and pediatrics; and at the Nova Southeastern University’s Institute for Child Health Policy.In addition to her responsibilities as researcher and educator, Dr. She served as social marketing director to federally funded FACES (Families and Communities Empowered for Success), a community initiative to improve behavioral health services for youth and ensure that family voices are heard.In that role she oversaw all social marketing, branding, stigma reduction and internal communication activities.
For her work, she received various ECCO (Excellence in Communication and Community Outreach) Award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Based on this work, she was recognized by Florida International University as a 2012 Top Scholar for her scholarly contributions. Villar’s current projects include research on the use of “fotonovelas” or graphic novels for discussion of stigmatized health issues among Haitian and Latino immigrants; culture, stigma and HIV-related behaviors; culturally appropriate approaches to improve clergy health; involvement of Latino fathers in their children’s health, and and measuring attitude change as a precursor to behavior change.