Profile: Sonia Arbona

Dr. Sonia Arbona Special Studies Epidemiologist, Texas Department of State Health Services, USA. Sonia is interested in infectious diseases, public health, and field studies in the U.S. Mexico borderland and Latin America. She served as a Board Member of the HMSG in the 1990s.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Sonia first came to the United States as a graduate student in the 1980s. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1991. She was an assistant professor in the Geography Departments of the University of Puerto Rico, Shippensburg University, and the University of Texas at Austin before starting her work with the Texas Department of State Health Services (formerly Texas Department of Health) in 1998. Her work has focused on infectious diseases, public health, and water contaminants. Her earliest research was on tuberculosis and the location of tuberculosis clinics in Puerto Rico, chemical pollution of water resources in Puerto Rico, access to dental care in rural Guatemala, forecast of HIV infection in Puerto Rico, and the use of agrochemicals in rural Guatemala. Currently, she carries the job title of epidemiologist and focuses on sexually transmitted diseases in the state of Texas. In this role she has developed projects on risk assessment practices of private practitioners, mother-to-child transmission, and the identification of core areas of disease transmission in large metropolises. Most recently she has been collaborating in the analyses of data collected by the CDC funded National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS) for populations at high risk of HIV infection to determine their risk behavior, testing behavior, and use of prevention services. Currently, she and colleagues at the Texas Department of State Health Services are representing Texas in a CDC initiative to likk social determinants of health to HIV prevalence. Her work has been published in journals on geography and on public health. As the only geographer in her work environment, she is occasionally invited to offer insights on what geography can offer to public health, and she occasionally presents talks on GIS applications in a public health surveillance system and mapping as a tool in epidemiology.

Sonia may be contacted at sonia.arbona@nulldshs.state.tx.us. See also http://www.aag.org/cs/jobs_and_careers/profiles_of_geography_professionals/arbona_sonia

Updated: August 2010