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 inequities among marginalized Latinx youth communities, including undocumented immigrants, immigrants from the Northern Triangle (i.e., El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras), and LGBTQ+ youth. Dr. Salerno utilizes critically oriented and community-engaged research methods to counter structural inequities, such as racism, xenophobia, heterosexism, and cisgenderism, which drive mental health among these marginalized groups. Employing Intersectionality, Life-Course, and Minority Stress theories, Dr. Salerno’s recent research, funded by a $120,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, explores identity-related and psychosocial risk and protective factors for mental health among Latinx immigrant adolescents from the Northern Triangle. Building on this work, Dr. Salerno was recently awarded a $16,000 seed grant from the Columbia Population Research Center to investigate the lived experiences of stress and mental health among Latinx LGBTQ+ immigrant youth from the Northern Triangle. Adjacent to his research, Dr. Salerno engages in leadership and advocacy efforts, including as founder of the LGBTQ+ Students and Allies in Public Health organization, co-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 and social justice approaches that beg for stakeholders to not only consider but elevate the needs of disadvantaged, vulnerable, and oppressed populations.

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)