Los Angeles, CA
Michelle Parra is a dedicated and experienced researcher with a diverse background in the field of public health, health protection across the lifespan, and child and adolescent mental health. She also has expertise in the area of health policy and government funded programs for disease and risk prevention.
As an evidence-based and prevention researcher, Michelle also holds the title of adjunct associate professor within the University of Southern California School of Social Work, where she has taught courses on research methods, the science of social work, and evaluation practice for the past 13 years.
Before joining HMA, Michelle served as director of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Control program for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) where she led planning, outbreak control efforts, training, intervention and evaluation programs, and services to increase immunization coverage and reduce vaccine preventable diseases throughout Los Angeles County (LAC).
Michelle also previously served as the director of LACDPH Injury and Violence Prevention Program where she oversaw local data collection from various partners for a national violent death reporting system, analysis projects, and administered grants to reduce intentional and unintentional injury. She also developed evidence-based recommendations for violence prevention programs, and collaborated with community-based organizations, policy makers, and partners to reduce injury morbidity and mortality in LAC.
Prior to the LACDPH, Michelle was the evaluation core leader at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion as well as project director of the Children with HIV-Infected Parents study at the Center.
Michelle also spent 25 years working in research settings with a variety of populations, including adolescents with anxiety and depressive disorders, adolescent girls in juvenile detention, children experiencing abuse and neglect, LGBTQ populations, chronically mentally ill outpatients, as well as individuals at risk for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV infection. She has extensive experience running large-scale, National Institutes of Health-funded multi-site projects, as well as expertise in secondary data analysis of large datasets, and training and use of standardized psychological assessments.
Michelle earned her doctorate and master’s degrees at UCLA in psychological studies in education where she also received a bachelor’s degree in Italian language and literature and political science.