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People  •  Communication Studies, CAMD  •  Professor and Chair

Maria Elena Villar

Dr. Villar joined Northeastern University in 2022 and serves as Chair of the Department of Communication Studies with an affiliate appointment in the Department of Health Science in Bouve College of Health Science. She is also faculty affiliate with the Latinx Student Cultural Center, and a founding member of the Public Engagement with Science Hub in CAMD.

Villar’s research is situated at the intersection of strategic communication and health/science communication, focusing on community engagement with under-represented and hyper-vulnerable populations. Many of her projects involve co-creation of content with community members around topics such as mental health stigma, domestic and sexual violence, vaccine hesitancy, and environmental threats to communities. Co-created products include fotonovelas, radio stories, community theater and board games. She has published over fifty peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and articles in conference proceedings, and has been the PI or Co-PI on several multidisciplinary sponsored research projects. She was chair and associate dean at her previous institution, Florida International University, and led efforts in addressing barriers to equity, diversity and belonging in academia.


Communication Studies, CAMD


  • PhD, Communication, University of Miami
  • MPH, Health Education, Community Health, University of Miami
  • BA, Economics, Columbia University