Dr. Melissa Mercado Crespo
Division of Violence Prevention,
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Dr. Melissa Mercado Crespo, a behavioral health scientist at CDC's National
Center for Injury Prevention and Control, grew up knowing she could end up
working in the healthcare industry. Her curious and inquisitive nature was
displayed from an early age at school and church. “I loved to play doctor and
teacher,” shares Dr. Mercado Crespo.
But the path to become a behavioral scientist for the Division of Violence
Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) was not linear. She started her bachelor’s at the
University of Puerto Rico as a biology student to study medicine. Then doubts to
continue that path arose. It was around that time that Dr. Mercado Crespo learned
about Healthy People, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program
that promotes health.
“I fell in love,” she says. “I love healthcare. I get to merge passion of
research with health and communications.” She finished her studies, including
two master’s degrees in Puerto Rico in epidemiology and communications. Dr.
Mercado Crespo obtained a Ph.D. University of South Florida’s College of
With more than 15 years of work experience in multicultural settings,
including deployments during multiple emergency public health responses,
Dr. Mercado Crespo was all hands-on deck once the coronavirus hit the U.S.
“It became a public emergency response,” she shares. “The pandemic
Dr. Mercado Crespo conceptualized, designed, and published CDC's
COVID-19 Parental Resource Kit, which helps parents manage the emotional
well beings of their children through practical tools. Available both in English and
Spanish, the kit includes:
• Age-group specific information on social, emotional and behavioral
challenges faced by children and youth during COVID-19
• Resources to support parents and child/youth-serving adults in
helping their children/youth cope: Webpage content
• Door hangers
• Shareable social media graphics and Postcards
• Game Board, Children's Activity Book, Scavenger Hunt game
“I love healthcare,
I get to merge passion
with health and
- Dr. Melissa
Dr. Melissa Mercado Crespo, Division of Violence Prevention,
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Also serving as CDC spokesperson for Spanish media, Dr. Mercado Crespo
asks Latinas with an interest in health outside of traditional medicine to
“We need you,” she shares. “Put yourself out there. Take that step, take
that risk. Even if it’s difficult, persevere.”
Want to comment or have any questions on this article?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
10 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle V ol. 27, No. 3, 2021