Faculty Highlight: Miguel Barrios-Barrios, M.D.

Dr. Miguel Barrios-Barrios was born in Espinal, Tolima, Colombia and moved to Bogota where he studied medicine at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He has worked in emergency and delivery rooms and ambulatory medicine in several small cities in the countryside of Colombia. His areas of interest are how poverty affects the health of people and how underserved people access the healthcare system. In addition, he would like to study how poverty affects the mental health of individuals—in terms of poor diet, sleep deprivation, and lack of exercise—to work on the prevention of major mental illness.

Another area of interest is how discrimination and stress can affect LGBT individuals in making them more susceptible to mental illness, and how LGBT affirming psychiatrists and therapists play a role in their recovery.

When Miguel arrived in the United States in 2007 his fluency and use of the English language was underdeveloped. He committed to daily study using resources and sharing time with friends in his quest to master the language. In December 2013, Miguel successfully passed his medical exams with verification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Graduates (ECFMG) and is applying for a residency in Psychiatry, the field in which he wants to be a professor and researcher.

As a Research Coordinator at the Center for Healthful Behavior Changes at NYU, Miguel is involved in hypertension research studies for minorities, especially African Americans and Latino populations. Miguel is aware of how a lack of education and literacy affect the health of minority groups and focuses on lifestyle changes for seniors. He uses motivational interviewing for patients with hypertension in helping to stimulate lifestyle changes.

In his spare time, Miguel runs in Central Park and is a member of Frontrunners New York (FRNY). Miguel competed in his first New York City Marathon in November 2013. Currently he is training for races with the New York Road Runners, learning to swim, and painting colorful flowers with oils on canvas. Miguel spends time with his partner in Upstate New York.

Miguel misses his family, friends, and foods of his native Colombia. Especially the Lechona from Espinal, tamales tolimenses, and the tropical fruits: lulo, curuba, and tree tomatoes.