CCTS Staff Profile: Amparo Castillo, MD, MS, PhD (c)
Dr. Amparo Castillo joins the CCTS as the new Co-Director of the Recruitment, Retention and Community Engagement Programs. In conjunction with Dr. Alicia Matthews, she will provide education, training and consultations on evidence-based participant engagement approaches across a broad range of community and clinical research studies.
Dr. Castillo earned her degree in Medicine and Surgery at the Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia. She spent the next two years working in primary care, emergency care, and in the administration and development of rural community health with programs in education and preventive medicine. During this time she organized and implemented a city-wide pilot vaccination program that was used as a model for other cities, and provided regular medical assistance for the underserved Katio-Embera indigenous community. Castillo’s report on an epidemic of hepatitis that afflicted the indigenous community of Murrí, Antioquia, was published in the "Boletín Epidemiológico de Antioquia" in June, 1982. She then turned her focus on outpatient medical assistance and the development of motivational and preventative programs for obesity and hypertension that involved relaxation techniques and alternative medicine approaches.
Dr. Castillo obtained a Master of Science degree in Physiology from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, IA, in 1994. In 1995 she was awarded an NHLBI-sponsored Post-Doctoral Fellowship to study the effects of Transcendental Meditation on carotid atherosclerosis in hypertensive African Americans, and the results of which were widely publicized. As Assistant Professor and Researcher at the Maharishi College of Vedic Medicine and the Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Iowa, Castillo participated on NIH-sponsored research projects on the health effects of the Transcendental Meditation program in different ethnic groups.
In 2003, Dr. Castillo joined the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Midwest Latino Health Research Training and Policy Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago as Training Coordinator. She later served as Project Director for the Chicago Southeast Diabetes Community Action Coalition under the CDC-sponsored REACH 2010 Diabetes Initiative. In this role, she developed and implemented educational programs for community health workers and other health care professionals assisting the Hispanic and African American minorities of Southeast Chicago.
Castillo was Director of Training for the Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED@Chicago) funded by the CDC under the REACH-US national initiative. CEED sought to effect systems and policy changes at the regional and national levels. Dr. Castillo is also co-author and Senior Trainer of the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) and other health education programs addressing low health literacy among minority groups.
As a doctoral candidate in Community Health Sciences at the UIC-School of Public Health, Castillo conducted intervention research using Tai Chi for glycemic control and stress reduction among Latino older adults. Her current interests continue to address health disparities by implementing health education interventions, and facilitating the training and capacity building of community health workers.