Michelle Y. Martin Romero, Ph.D.

E-mail: michellemartinromero@unc.edu

Research Goals and Interests:

Michelle’s research centers on critically investigating the ways in which youth of color contribute to and shape the health and well-being of their families. By positing youth as active agents, her work seeks to understand the contextual and developmental factors that influence youths’ contributions to the family’s everyday survival in low-socioeconomic, resource poor settings. Her work employs a youth-centered participatory research approach that places emphasis on the voices and lived experiences of youth.

Michelle’s research also considers what youth contributions look like in mixed-status (e.g., U.S. citizen child vs. undocumented parent) Latinx families living in non-traditional (im)migrant destinations; how these contributions may be encouraged or limited by the surrounding micro-, meso-, exo-, and macro-systems; and, consequently, how such contributions may shape the health and development of Latinx youth over the life course. As such, her present work centers on integrating experiences related to immigration and discrimination in understanding the physical and mental health of Latinx youth. Michelle currently serves as lead analyst for the Promoting Dialogues project conducted by Dr. Gabriela Livas Stein’s CAMINOS lab at UNC at Greensboro (UNCG) in collaboration with Drs. Stephanie Irby Coard (UNCG), Laura Gonzalez (UNCG), and Lisa Kiang (Wake Forest University). This project examines the facilitators and barriers to racial/ethnic socialization processes in Mexican American, Chinese American, African American, and Southeast Indian American immigrant youth and their families.

Michelle’s previous work has argued for the conceptualization of Latinx youth involvement in family food preparation as a family assistance behavior – an important contribution to family health and functioning. By implementing participatory techniques (e.g., participant-generated photo elicitation interviews), she investigated how individual attributes, family contexts, and sociocultural norms and beliefs shape the family food preparation behaviors of Latinx youth living in a small, rural area of Northeastern U.S. This work identified several implications for dietary health promotion and obesity prevention efforts, as well as future research concerned with the development of youth from (im)migrant Latinx backgrounds.

For more information, please visit Michelle’s website.


Martin Romero, M.Y., Jeitner, E.C., & Francis, L.A. (2018). Visualizing perceived enablers of and barriers to healthy eating by youth in rural El Salvador. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Martin, M. & Francis, L. (2016). U.S. migrant networks and adult cardiometabolic health in El Salvador. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 18, 1350-1356.

James, D.C.S., Harville, C., Efunbumi, O., & Martin M.Y. (2015). Health literacy issues surrounding weight management among African American women: a mixed methods study. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 28 (Suppl. 2), 41–49 doi:10.1111/jhn.12239.