De La Cruz, Dr. Natalie

Professor of Practice - Public Health
School of Arts and Sciences
PhD in Health Education and Health Promotion, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health 2009
MPH, Brigham Young University 2006
BS in Community Health Education & Spanish, Brigham Young University 2004


Dr. De La Cruz has a PhD in Health Education and Health Promotion from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and has a strong foundation in public health research, spanning a variety of public health topics. Her dissertation research explored the parenting practices and fertility desires among mothers living with HIV. During her time as a graduate trainee fellow at UAB, Dr. De La Cruz conducted research related to reproductive health and personal hygiene practices, gender roles and sexual scripts, and evaluated the effectiveness of peer education in creating sexual health awareness, among other topics. After completing her PhD, Dr. De La Cruz worked as a Program Manager coordinating an NIH funded RO1 grant, where she was integral in designing, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of an interactive, theory-based, web-delivered reproductive health program and longitudinal RCT with biological endpoints targeting African American adolescent and young adult females.  She also worked as a technical consultant, providing research support to both private sector businesses and collaborating with academic faculty at various institutions. She is fluent in Spanish and has worked on projects internationally in the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Bolivia, and Honduras, and has experience working with minority populations in the US. She has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented research at a number of regional and national conferences. She has taught core and specialized public health courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels at both UAB and BYU and looks forward to working with students from Carolina University this Fall.  Outside of work, Dr. De La Cruz enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, playing soccer, Latin dancing, reading, volunteering at her kids’ elementary school, and spending time outdoors.


Frazier M, De La Cruz N, Garcés IC. Development of educational materials to improve rates of early eye care for Hispanic children. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 2012;14(4):608-616.

De La Cruz NG, Davies SL, Stewart KE. Religion, Relationships and Reproduction: Correlates of Childbearing Desires Among Mothers Living with HIV. AIDS & Behavior. 2011;15(6):1233-1242.

McCree-Hale R, De La Cruz N, Montgomery AE. Using downloadable songs from Apple iTunes® as a novel incentive for college students participating in a Web-based follow-up survey. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2010; 25(2): 119-121.

De La Cruz N, Crookston B, Gray B, Alder S & Dearden K. Microfinance Against Malaria: Impact of Freedom from Hunger’s Malaria Education When Delivered by Rural Banks in Ghana. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2009; 103(12): 1229-1236.

De La Cruz N, Cornish D, McCree-Hale R, Annang L, Grimley D. Attitudes and Sociocultural Factors Influencing Vaginal Douching Behavior Among English-Speaking Latinas. American Journal of Health Behavior. 2009; 33(5): 558-568.

Hawks SR, Madanat HN, Smith T, De La Cruz N. A classroom approach for managing dietary restraint, negative eating styles and body image concerns among college women. Journal of American College Health. 2008; 56(4): 359-366.

Schaeffer Z, Dearden K, De La Cruz N, Crookston B, Jensen JD, Rees C, Quigley S. Youth at Risk: Identifying Correlates of Violence in Bolivia. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. 2007; 19(4):473-483.

Dearden K, Crookston B, De La Cruz N, Lindsay G, Bowden A, Carlston L, Gardner P. Teens in Trouble: Cigarette use and risky behaviors among private, high school students in La Paz, Bolivia. Untangling the Relationship between Risky Behaviors and Cigarette Use in Bolivia. Pan American Journal of Public Health. 2007; 22(3): 160-168.

Hanson C, Novilla MLB, Barnes MD, De La Cruz N, Meacham A. A family-centered approach to educating the public: Using family health history and genomics in assessing risks and preventing chronic diseases. American Journal of Health Education. 2007; 38(4): 219-229.

De La Cruz N, Crookston B, Dearden K, Gray B, Ivins N, Alder S, Davis R. Who sleeps under bednets in Ghana? A doer/non-doer analysis of malaria prevention behaviours. The Malaria Journal. 2006; 5:61.

Novilla MLB, Barnes M, De La Cruz NG, Williams P, Rogers J. Public health perspectives on the family: an ecological approach to promoting health in the family and community. Family & Community Health. 2006; 29(1): 28-42.

Novilla MLB, Dearden KA, Crookston BT, De La Cruz NG, Hill S, Torres S. Adolescents engaging in risky sexual behavior: sexual activity and associated behavioral risk factors in Bolivian adolescents. The International Electronic Journal of Health Education. 2006; 9: 42-55.

Dearden KA, De La Cruz NG, Crookston BT, Novilla MLB, Clark M. Adolescents at risk: depression, low academic performance, violence and alcohol increase Bolivian teenagers’ risk of attempted suicide. The International Electronic Journal of Health Education. 2005; 8:104-119.

De La Cruz, Natalie