Chrissy Getrich credits her success to having great educational opportunities while growing up. Beginning with her great-grandparents' arrival to the United States from Poland, and a determined grandfather who chose education over working in the coal mines, Getrich is now a research scientist and medical anthropologist with a doctorate in anthropology.

She is also currently part of the New Mexico Center for Advancement of Research, Engagement and Science (CARES) on Health Disparities Center.

As the first Louise Lamphere Public Policy Awardee in the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies, Getrich continues her work through Research Involving Outpatient Settings Network, (RIOS Net) which is a practice-based network dedicated to improving the health of traditionally underserved populations in N.M. The network is composed of primary care clinicians practicing in community health centers, Indian health service/tribal facilities and academic settings.

"The need for research in N.M. is great," Getrich said, "and working with RIOS Net allows me to visit the entire state." She said that working with Native American tribes, the northern N.M Hispanic populations as well as the state border areas is immensely gratifying. 

Getrich has worked on a variety of RIOS Net studies based in primary care settings, including cancer prevention projects on overcoming barriers to colorectal cancer screening among Hispanics and Native Americans and the development and delivery system for the HPV vaccine policy in N.M.  The vaccines prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause most cervical cancers.

For more information about the NM CARES Health Disparities Center, RIOS Net or the Undergraduate Student Pipeline, contact Miria Kano at (505) 272-3876 or

Story by Nora Chavez