faculty spotlight: Dr. Leandro Mena

Dr. Leandro Mena is a clinician-researcher and public health advocate with expertise in the prevention and clinical management of sexually transmitted infections and the human immunodeficiency virus. He is the founding chair of the Department of Population Health Science at UMMC and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Mena directs the Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education & Policy at the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for Elimination of Health Disparities, and serves as the STD Medical Director for the state of Mississippi.

What is your professional background?

I graduated from medical school at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henrique Urena in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I then completed residency in Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL and an Infectious Disease fellowship at Louisiana State University Health Center at New Orleans. During my ID fellowship, I obtained a Master of Public Health with a concentration on Epidemiology of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) at Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine.

Tell us about what you do at UMMC.

I get to fulfill my dreams every day. As chair of Population Health Science, I have the privilege of working with amazing colleagues and staff members committed to eliminating health disparities and improving the health of Mississippians. I do my clinical work under the Division of Infectious Diseases. As a clinician, I provide clinical oversight to several innovative programs that represent a network of clinics in the city of Jackson that provide health services (including sexual health services) to vulnerable populations. As a researcher, I lead a robust clinical, epidemiologic and population health research program that focuses on understanding drivers of the Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome and Sexually Transmitted Infections disparities in gender and sexual minorities, improving prevention and treatments of these infections and developing novel service delivery models that are responsive to the needs of vulnerable populations in our state and region.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing medicine today?

Never forget that being able to care for a fellow human being is privilege. Listen to your patients and show them that you care.

What do you like most about UMMC?

The UMMC family! I feel very fortunate to come to work along so many individuals truly committed to improving the life of our community.

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