Photo of Gabriela Leon Perez

Gabriela León-Pérez, PhD

Assistant Professor
(804) 828-3056


2018 Ph.D. in Sociology, Vanderbilt University

Dissertation: Health and Migration Within and Across Borders: A Longitudinal Study of Mexican Internal Migrants and Return US Migrants.

Committee: Evelyn J. Patterson (chair), André Christie-Mizell, Christy Erving, Katharine Donato, Stephanie DiPietro

2015 M.A. in Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 2015

2012 M.A. in Sociology, Texas A&M International University, 2012

2008 B.A. in International Studies, Cum Laude, Universidad de Monterrey, 2008



2018-present Assistant Professor of Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth University

2012-2018 Graduate Research Assistant, Vanderbilt University

2011 Adjunct Instructor, Laredo Community College



2016 León-Pérez, Gabriela, Kenneth A. Wallston, Kathryn M. Goggins, Heidi M. Poppendeck, and Sunil Kripalani. 2016. “Effects of Stress, Health Competence, and Social Support on Depressive Symptoms After Cardiac Hospitalization.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine 39:441-452.

2017 Donato, Katharine M. and Gabriela León-Pérez. “Educación, Género, y Migración de Colombia y México a Estados Unidos.” Pp. 179-202 in Migración Internacional Patrones y Determinantes: Estudios Comparados Colombia-America Latina - Proyecto LAMP, edited by M.G. Roa Martínez. Cali, Colombia: Universidad del Valle.

2017 Non, Amy L., Gabriela León-Pérez, Holly Glass, Emma Kelly, and Nanibaa’ A. Garrison. “Stress Across Generations: A Qualitative Study of Stress, Coping, and Caregiving Among Mexican Immigrant Mothers.” Ethnicity and Health. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2017.1346184

2017 Young, Maria-Elena, Gabriel León-Pérez, Christine R. Wells, and Steven P. Wallace. “Inclusive State Immigration Policies and Health Insurance among Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, and White Noncitizens in the United States.” Ethnicity and Health. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2017.1390074

2018 Young, Maria-Elena, Gabriela León-Pérez, Christine R. Wells, and Steven P. Wallace. “More Inclusive States, Less Poverty Among Immigrants? An Examination of Poverty, Citizenship Stratification, and State Immigrant Policies.” Population Research and Policy Review 37(2):205-228.

2018 Donato, Katharine M., Gabriela León-Pérez, Kenneth A. Wallston, and Sunil Kripalani. “Something Old, Something New: When Gender Matters in the Relationship Between Social Support and Health.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 59(3):352-370.

2018 McGee, Ebony, William H. Robinson, Dara Naphan-Kingery, Stacey Lamar Houston II, and Gabriela León-Pérez. “Determinants of Mental Health and Career Trajectories: Rationale and Design of the Engineering and Computing Doctoral Experiences Survey (ECDES).” Forthcoming in Diversifying STEM: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Race and Gender, edited by E.O. McGee and W.H. Robinson. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.



León-Pérez, Gabriela. “Tendencias y Determinantes de la Migración Calificada de México a Estados Unidos.” (Trends and Predictors of Skilled Migration from Mexico to the United States). Under review for the Mexican Migration Project’s 30th anniversary book, 30 Años Monitoreando la Migración México-Estados Unidos. Balances y Perspectivas.

Mixon, Amanda S., Kathryn M. Goggins, Samuel Nwosu, Jonathan S. Schildcrout, Kenneth A. Wallston, Katharine Donato, Gabriela León-Pérez, Frank E. Harrell, Susan P. Bell, Lindsay S. Mayberry, Eduard E. Vasilevskis, John F. Schnelle, Russell Rothman, and Sunil Kripalani, “Association of Social Determinants of Health with Hospital Readmission in the Vanderbilt Inpatient Cohort Study (VICS).” Under review at Annals of Internal Medicine.

León-Pérez, Gabriela. “Does Internal Migration Shape the Health of Indigenous Mexicans?”

León-Pérez, Gabriela. “Health and Migration Within and Across Borders: A Longitudinal Study of Mexican Internal Migrants and Return US Migrants.”

León-Pérez, Gabriela and Evelyn J. Patterson. “Self-Rated Health among Legal Permanent Residents in the United States: Do Gender and Prior Legal Status Matter?”

León-Pérez, Gabriela and Amy Non. “‘We Practically Have No Family Time Together’: Work and Parenting Stressors among Undocumented Mexican Mothers.”

Donato, Katharine D. and Gabriela León-Pérez. “How Gender Interacts with Education to Influence Migration from Colombia and Mexico.”



2017 Public Scholars Fellowship, Vanderbilt’s Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy, 2017-2018

[Funded: $2,000]

2015 Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning Graduate Fellowship, Vanderbilt University [Funded: $5,000]

2017 Vanderbilt University Travel Grant [Funded: $500]

2012 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Doctoral Fellowship, 2012-2017

2011 Lamar Bruni Vergara Research Assistantship, Texas A&M International University, 2011-2012

2010 Lamar Bruni Vergara Graduate Scholarship, Texas A&M International University, 2010-2011

2006 Distinguished Student Award for Academic Excellence, Universidad de Monterrey



“Tendencias y Determinantes de la Migración Calificada de México a Estados Unidos.” Paper presented at the 30th Anniversary Conference of the Mexican Migration Project, 2017, Mexico City.

“Internal Migration and the Self-Rated Health of Indigenous Mexicans: A Longitudinal Study.” Paper presented at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 2017, Montreal, Canada.

“A Life Course Approach to the Health of Mexican Return Migrants.” Paper presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 2016, Seattle, WA.

“Self-Rated Health Trajectories of Legal US Immigrants: Does Prior Legal Status Matter?,” with Evelyn J. Patterson. Paper presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 2016, Seattle, WA.

“Emotional Labor in Health Survey Research: Interviewing Sick Patients for a Wage.” Paper presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 2015, Chicago, IL.

“Género, Educación, y Migración a los Estados Unidos. Una Comparación entre Colombia y México,” with Katharine M. Donato. Paper presented at the conference Colombia en la Encrucijada: El Proyecto LAMP-Colombia Sobre Migración, 2015, Bogotá, Colombia.

“A Study of Barriers to Health Care and Adaptations of a Border Community Population,” with John C. Kilburn. Paper presented at the 75th Annual Meeting of the Southern Sociological Society, 2012, New Orleans, LA.

“Laredo, Texas: Crossing for Health Care Services,” with John C. Kilburn, Fernando Quintana, Marcus A. Ynalvez, and Maria Romero-Ramirez. Paper presented at the McGill University Conference on Training and Retention of Health Professionals, 2012, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

“Crossing to Mexico for Health Care: Only for the Poor and Uninsured?” Paper presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Sociological Association, 2011, Little Rock, AR.



Research Assistant, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 2012-Present

Duties: Perform research in several substantive areas including migration and health, mortality, and political sociology; also assist in quantitative analysis of data.

Research Assistant, Explorations for Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative, Department of Teaching &

Learning, Vanderbilt University, 2017-Present

Duties: Quantitative data coding and analysis using SPSS and SAS, conduct literature reviews.

Research Assistant, Hispanic Immigrant Project, Vanderbilt University, 2014-2016 Duties: Conduct focus groups and interviews with immigrant women and children, qualitative data coding and analysis using NVivo, design and translation of questionnaires, supervise undergraduate research assistants.

Graduate Assistant, Texas A&M International University, 2011-2012

Duties: Coordinate the Lamar Bruni Vergara/Guillermo Benavides Z. Academic Conference; provide assistance to the Institutional Review Board.

Research Coordinator, Laredo/Webb County Health and Workforce Needs Assessment, 2011

Duties: Design and translate household and youth questionnaires, coordinate field interviewers, data management, quantitative data analysis.



 Certificate in Health Policy, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy, Meharry Medical

College, 2016

 Mellon Institute in Digital and Public Humanities for Early-Career Scholars, Vanderbilt University, 2015

 Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Institute:

▪ Immigration, Immigrants and Health Conditions, Health Status, and Policies: Examining Multilevel and Multidimensional Models and Approaches, 2015

▪ Longitudinal Analysis, Including Categorical Outcomes, 2014

 Summer Institute on Health, RWJF Center for Health Policy, Meharry Medical College:

▪ Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and Decision Making in Health Policy, 2015

▪ Race, Ethnicity, and Health, 2013



Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2018-present

Undergraduate courses: Research Methods for the Social Sciences, Immigration & American Society

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Vanderbilt University, 2012-2018

Undergraduate courses: Contemporary Mexican Society; Criminology; First Year Writing Seminar: Mass Incarceration; Environment and Development. Duties: Guest lectures, lead discussions, manage blogs, grading.

Adjunct Instructor, Laredo Community College, 2011

Course: English as a Second Language (lecture and lab)



CHS Faculty Council Member, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2018-present

Sociology Undergraduate Studies Committee, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2018-present

Student Council Member, American Sociological Association International Migration Section, 2015-2016

President, Sociology Graduate Program, Vanderbilt University, 2015-2016

Vice President, Sociology Graduate Program, Vanderbilt University, 2014-2015

Graduate Student Council Representative, Vanderbilt University, 2014-2015

Graduate Recruitment Assistant, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 2014

Graduate Senator, Student Government Association, Texas A&M International University, 2012

Committee Member, Lamar Bruni Vergara/Guillermo Benavides Z. Academic Conference,

Texas A&M International University, 2011-2012

Vice President, Alpha Kappa Delta, Texas A&M International University, 2011-2012

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