John P. Salerno

Dr. John P. Salerno (he/him) is a Provost’s Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work. Dr. Salerno obtained his PhD in Behavioral & Community Health and Graduate Certificate in Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation at the University of Maryland, and Master of Public Health and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Miami. Dr. Salerno’s work focuses on addressing mental health disparities and inequities among marginalized Latinx youth communities, including undocumented immigrants, immigrants from the Northern Triangle (i.e., El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras), and LGBTQ+ youth. Through his work, he seeks to reveal and address complex subordinations that affect mental health among marginalized groups through intersectional, critical, and community-engaged research methods and paradigms. Dr. Salerno’s recent research, funded by an R36 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, explores identity-related risk and resilience factors for mental health outcomes among Latinx immigrant adolescents from the Northern Triangle, utilizing critically-oriented frameworks (i.e., intersectionality, life-course, and minority stress theories), community-based participatory research methodology, and a combination of quantitative methods, including survey development and implementation, and linear and mixture statistical modeling. Adjacent to his research, Dr. Salerno engages in leadership and advocacy efforts, including as founder of the LGBTQ+ Students and Allies in Public Health student group, establishing the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center Anti-Racism Committee, and serving as a representative for the University of Maryland University Senate Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee. Dr. Salerno strongly believes in health equity approaches that beg for stakeholders to not only consider but elevate the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable health disparity and inequity populations. Dr. Salerno teaches social work research methods, with a particular focus on decolonization, anti-racism, and anti-oppression. A listing of Dr. Salerno’s publications can be accessed here.

Research Interests

adverse childhood experiences
asylum seekers
child abuse and neglect
global migration trends
harm reduction
health inequities
immigrant children or children of immigrants
Social Determinants
immigrant health
immigration policy
international migration
LGBT populations
life course perspectives on migration
long reach of childhood or childhood origins of adult health
migrant health
social determinants
social policy
social stratification
social support
state child health programs
subsidized housing and children
toxic stress
trauma informed care
urban equity
urban health


Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)