Faculty Profile for Dr. Melinda Villagran

profile photo for Dr. Melinda Villagran
Dr. Melinda Villagran
Professor — Department of Communication Studies
Program Faculty — Translational Health Research Center
NUEC 247
phone: (512) 245-4044

Biography Section

Biography and Education

Melinda Villagran is the Executive Director of Texas State's Translational Health Research Center, leading applied health research programs with community partners to improve health and increase resilience in Texas. Dr. Villagran is also the Principal Investigator for the Community Mental Health M.A.P. (Monitoring and Assessment Program) grant funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Co-PI for the State of Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Accelerating Credentials grant focused on marketable skills for workforce development. With a Ph.D. in health communication, Dr. Villagran supports diverse research involving Texas State faculty, students, and community partners, working together to create healthy, equitable, resilient communities. After serving as a professor and graduate program director at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, Dr. Villagran joined the Texas State in 2012. In the last decade she has served as a professor, department chair, research center director, chair of the university's Council on Funded Research, and the PI on research and programming awarded over 10 million dollars in funding to address health issues among underserved and vulnerable populations. Dr. Villagran is the recipient of the Presidential Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity at the professor level, and the author of two scholarly books and over 65 peer-reviewed journal articles on communication topics.

Teaching Interests

health communication campaigns and interventions; organizational communication, data analysis and visualization methods, empirical research and statistics, training and development; population and community health disparities; team science

Research Interests

Translational Health Research; communication; community health interventions; communication about cancer, end of life; health equity for persons with disabilities, Latinos, women, older adults, women and children; communication training; interdisciplinary teams; research mentoring; student research and service learning opportunities for workforce development

Selected Scholarly/Creative Work

  • Eger, E. K., Villagran, M. M., & Burney, M. N. (2024). LGBTQ+ peer advocates’ health communication praxis for student health outreach and intersectional identities. Health Communication, 1–13.
  • Maleki, S., Dede-Bamfo, N., Ekren, E. M., Mohammadalizadehkorde, M., & Villagran, M. M. (2024). Mapping Access to Children’s Hospitals in Texas. Environmental Research and Public Health, 21(2), 140. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21020140
  • Nicotera, A., Villagran, M. M., & Kim, W. (2021). Managing in hospitals. In Handbook of Management Communication (Vol. Cooren, F. & Stücheli-Herlach, P. (2021). Handbook of Management Communication. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton., pp. 477–490). Boston, MA, US: Degruyter Mouton. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1515/9781501508059
  • Eger, E. K., Long, R. A., Tonciu, A., Villagran, M. M., Jessica Schneider, & Trevino, B. N. F. (2023). Libraries as conveners to build community resiliency in rural Texas: A pilot project translating the COPEWELL framework through community collaboration. San Marcos, TX: Translational Health Research Center. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/TXResiliency
  • Villagran, M. M., & Keeley-Vassberg, M. (2022). Health Promotion Messages in Families. In The International Encyclopedia of Health Communication (pp. 1–5). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119678816.iehc0962

Selected Awards

  • Award / Honor Recipient: Showcase Seminar Distinguished Scholar Award, University of Oklahoma. 2018 - Present
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Currently Serving Spouse Advisory award, Military Officers of America. 2009 - Present
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Presidential Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity. 2014
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Rockefeller Brothers Fund Mentor for Students of Color Entering the Teaching Profession. 2003
  • Award / Honor Recipient: Teaching Award of Merit. 2009

Selected Grants

  • Biediger-Friedman, Lesli M (Principal), Qasem, Apan Muhammad (Co-Principal), Villagran, Melinda Morris (Co-Principal), Johnson, Cassandra (Co-Principal), Renick, Cecil O (Co-Principal), Hwang, Sangchul Scott (Supporting), Mendez, Francis A (Supporting), Sen, Keya (Supporting), Ramamonjiarivelo, Zo H (Supporting), Shanmugam, Ram (Supporting), Charles, Joni S J (Supporting). NUEVA - Nutrition for Underserved Elders Via Application, United States Department of Health and Human Services - Administration for Community Living, Federal, $2764270. (Submitted: March 10, 2022, Funded: August 1, 2022 - July 31, 2027). Grant.
  • Fulton, Lawrence V (Principal), Villagran, Melinda Morris (Co-Principal), , Bing Zhou (Co-Principal), Mendez, Francis A (Co-Principal), Ekin, Tahir (Co-Principal), Qasem, Apan Muhammad (Co-Principal), Konur, Dincer (Supporting), Alanis, Emmanuel (Supporting), Zihagh, Fereshteh (Supporting), Dong, Zhijie (Co-Principal), Shen, Xiaoxi (Supporting), De Nadai, Alessandro Stevens (Supporting), Zhu, Ye (Co-Principal), Hewitt, Barbara A (Co-Principal), Valles Molina, Damian (Supporting), White, Alexander (Supporting), Dolezel, Diane M (Supporting), Ioudina, Vera (Supporting), Islam, Tanzima Z (Supporting), Lee, Chul Ho (Supporting), Metsis, Vangelis (Supporting), Moradi, Masoud (Supporting), Gao, Ju (Supporting), Li-Jen, Lester (Supporting), Jones, Dustin (Supporting), Pham, Vung (Supporting), Holt, Melinda (Supporting), Kyung An, Min (Supporting), Islam, ABM (Supporting), Cho, Hyuk (Supporting), Liu, Quigzhoung (Supporting), Liang, Fan (Supporting), Topinka, Joseph Baar (Supporting). The Accelerating Credentials of Purpose and Value for the Texas Innovation Corridor (TIC) Consortium Grant, THECB, State, $1450000. (Submitted: November 2021, Funded: February 2022 - October 2022). Grant.
  • Villagran, Melinda M. (Principal). Community Health and Economic Resilience Research, State of Texas, State, $5100000. (Funded: October 1, 2021 - October 1, 2023). Grant.
  • Villagran, Melinda M.. Central Texas Mental Health M.A.P. (Monitoring & Assessment Program), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Federal, $2000000. (Funded: September 2021 - September 2024). Grant.
  • Villagran, Melinda Morris (Principal), Burney, Marsha N (Supporting), Keeley-Vassberg, Maureen (Supporting). Networx: A Virtual Safety Net to Improve Postpartum Health, St Davids Foundation, Private / Foundation / Corporate, $289633. (Submitted: October 2017, Funded: January 2018 - August 2020). Grant.

Selected Service Activities

Texas State Health Scholar Showcase
January 2017-Present
Texas State Council on Funded Research
Translational Health Research Initiative
LBJ Distinguished Lecture Series
University Strategic Planning Process - Innovation "Read Across"