Researcher Spotlight: Dr. Maria Mora Pinzon

Researcher Spotlight: Dr. Maria Mora Pinzon

Maria Mora Pinzon, MD, MS, is Board Certified in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, with a focus in geriatrics. She is currently a primary care research fellow at the UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and a scientist with the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute.

profile photo of Dr. Maria Mora Pinzon

Maria Mora Pinzon, MD, MS

Dr. Mora Pinzon was drawn to studying Alzheimer’s disease and dementia after learning about the tremendous challenges and health disparities faced by Black and Latinx communities. These individuals are more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, live longer, and have unpaid caregivers. Her research is about understanding the factors that sustain some of these health disparities, and how to address them to improve access to culturally appropriate resources.

Dr. Mora Pinzon was recently awarded a UW Department of Medicine Pilot Award. The purpose of the study was to revise the “Cultural Beliefs about Alzheimer’s Disease” survey to one that has been validated for Latinx older adults in Dane County. Once validated, that survey will be tested using a larger sample in a future NIH grant application.

In 2020, Medscape recognized Dr. Mora Pinzon as a rising star in medicine, poised to become a future leader in her field.

For Dr. Mora Pinzon, building a community is crucial to her work in preventive medicine. “All of my work is interconnected with people. I rely a lot on community partners, mentors, and professors,” she said. “It’s very interdisciplinary and that, for me, is one of the best things in my research.”

Through her work in preventive medicine and research, Dr. Mora Pinzon seeks to promote voices from underrepresented communities and to encourage organizations to take necessary steps to be inclusive in ways that resonate with cultural values and account for the diversity that exists within communities of color. By addressing the barriers and factors to improve access to healthcare services for Alzheimer’s disease in communities of color, she hopes to develop research approaches that will improve early diagnosis, and build community trust in researchers, allowing institutions and organizations to better serve Latinx and Black individuals with dementia and their families.

For Dr. Mora Pinzon, a Latina physician-scientist, seeing the interest from the Latinx community to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease is what drives her. “They are the reason behind my work, and I hope my work honors them and makes them proud,” she said.