Rachel Castaneda, PhD, MPH


Professor, Department of Psychology and Department of Clinical Psychology

Rachel Castaneda, PhD, is a research psychologist who joined the Department of Psychology as an associate professor in 2011. She brings extensive training in public health, developmental and health psychology, and addiction medicine/psychiatry. Her teaching and research integrate qualitative and quantitative research methods, with a focus on the application of behavioral and social-system-level theories to understand the etiology and maintenance of risky behaviors among diverse populations. Primary interests include tertiary prevention and disease management approaches, including wellness/health promotion; adolescent and young adult health; and cultural and social impacts on health status, including socioeconomic status, access, gender, and racial/ethnic health disparities. She is researching the recovery from substance use, taking a developmental social approach, and oversees several federally funded research and evaluation projects and county-led training and technical assistance initiatives around the state. She is also an affiliated scholar in the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs within the Department of Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.


  • PhD, Public Health (Minor in Psychology), University of California, Los Angeles
  • MPH, Community Health Sciences (Concentration in Health Education and Promotion), University of California, Los Angeles
  • BA, Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Academic Area

  • School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences


  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Adolescent and Young Adult Health Status
  • Disparities in Health
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Program Development and Evaluation
  • Research Methods (Emphasis on Longitudinal and Survey Methods)

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 362 – Research Methods in Psychology
  • PSYC 385 – Health Psychology
  • PSYC 463 – Drugs, Behavior, and Society
  • PSYC 512 – Non-Experimental Research Methods
  • PSYC 517 – Program Evaluation
  • PSYC 597 – Introduction to Thesis Seminar