Alex Ortega

Type of Faculty: 
Full Time
Appointment Title: 
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health / Department of Health Policy and Management / 31-299A CHS
Areas of Interest: 
  • Epidemiological Methods in Health Services Research
  • Health Needs of Latino Children and Families        
Biographical Information: 

Alex Ortega, an epidemiologist and health services researcher, is a Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry & Bio-behavioral Sciences at UCLA.  Professor Ortega is the Principal Investigator of the UCLA Center for Population Health and Health Disparities, a multi-project, NHLBI-funded P50 center that aims to understand and intervene on cardiovascular disease disparities among Latinos in East Los Angeles, California. He is also the Associate Director of the Chicano Studies Research Center in the Institute of American Cultures.

Ortega is an internationally recognized expert on the application of epidemiological methods in health services research, and his work focuses on the physical and mental health and medical needs of Latino children and their families both in the United States and in the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  He has also published health research on the homeless, military veterans, and undocumented immigrants.

Before joining the UCLA faculty in 2004, Ortega was Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration at Yale University and an Associate Professor of Health Behavior & Health Promotion at The Ohio State University. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Columbia University, a Senior Research Associate at the W.M. Krogman Center for Research in Child Growth and Development at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Senior Scholar in Residence in the Center for Primary Care Research at the Agency for Health Care Research & Quality.

Professor Ortega holds a B.A. in economics from the University of New Mexico, an M.P.H. in epidemiology and biostatistics from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in epidemiologic science from the University of Michigan. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Nationally Known Public Health Professional Award by the Latino Caucus of the American Public Health Association and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University School of Public Health. 

M.P.H., Boston University
Ph.D., University of Michigan
Selected Publications: 
  1. Vargas Bustamante A, Fang H, Garza J, Carter-Pokras O, Wallace SP, Rizzo JA, Ortega AN. Variations in healthcare access and utilization among Mexican immigrants: the role of documentation status. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 2012;14:146-155.
  2. Jandasek B, Ortega AN, McQuaid EL, Koinis-Mitchell D, Fritz GK, Kopel SJ, Seifer R, Klein RB, Canino G. Access to and use of asthma health services among Latino children: The Rhode Island-Puerto Rico Asthma Center study. Medical Care Research & Review, 2011;68:683-698.
  3. Feldman JM, Acosta E, McQuaid EL, Goodwin RD, Canino G, Ortega AN. The role of caregiver major depression in the relationship between anxiety disorders and asthma attacks in island Puerto Rican youth and young adults. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 2011;199:313-318.
  4. Vargas-Bustamante A, Chen J, Rodriguez HP, Rizzo JA, Ortega AN. Use of preventive care services among Latino subgroups: How much are disparities attributable to the health system? American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2010;38:610-619.
  5. Feldman JM, Ortega AN, Koinis-Mitchell D, Kuo AA, Canino G. Child and family psychiatric and psychological factors associated with child physical health problems: Results from the Boricua Study. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 2010;198:272-279. PMCID: PMC2958697.
  6. Ortega AN, Horwitz SM, Fang H, Kuo AA, Wallace SP, Inkelas M. Documentation status and parental concerns about development in young U.S. children of Mexican origin. Academic Pediatrics 2009;9:278-282.
  7. Ortega AN, Canino G, Alegria M. Lifetime and 12-month intermittent explosive disorder in Latinos. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 2008;78:133-139.
  8. Ortega AN, Fang H, Perez VH, Rizzo JA, Carter-Pokras O, Wallace SP, Gelberg L. Health care access, use of services, and experiences among undocumented Mexicans and other Latinos. Archives of Internal Medicine 2007;167(21):2354-2360.
  9. Ortega AN, Feldman JM, Canino G, Steinman K, Alegría M. Co-occurrence of mental and physical illness in U.S. Latinos. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2006;41:927-34. PMCID: PMC2791952.
  10. Ortega AN, Alegria M. Self-reliance, mental health need, and the use of mental healthcare among island Puerto Ricans. Mental Health Services Research 2002;4(3):131-140.        
  • Health Disparities
  • Health Services Research

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