Maria Rosario (Happy) G. Araneta PhD, MPH, is Assistant Dean of Diversity and Community Partnerships at UCSD School of Medicine, and Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. She received her BA in Biology from UCSD and her MPH and PhD in Epidemiology (with special emphasis in Perinatal Epidemiology) from Yale University. Dr. Araneta received the 2014 American Diabetes Association’s Vivian Fonseca and Nagendran Family Diabetes Research Award for her research on diabetes among Asians and Pacific Islanders, the Best of Care Award as author of the leading 9 publications in "Diabetes Care" in 2015, and the Inaugural Wing Family Lectureship at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School in 2017. She was appointed to a four year term on the NIH Advisory Council for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities from 2015 to 2019, and selected to serve on the NIH Council of Councils from 2018 to 2023.
Her research interests include maternal and pediatric HIV/AIDS, birth defects, life course exposures, and ethnic health disparities in type 2 diabetes, regional fat distribution, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic abnormalities. She is the co-Principal Investigator of the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) where UC San Diego is one of 26 participating sites. Dr. Araneta is the PI of the UCSD Filipino Health Study, a longitudinal study of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis among Filipino men and women, co-investigator of the Rancho Bernardo Study, where she leads research on ethnic health disparities among Caucasians, Filipinos and African-Americans (Health Assessment Study of African-American Women), a co-investigator on a CDC funded community intervention to enhance healthy dining among Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and a co-investigator to assess health advantages and disparities in reproductive outcomes by race/ethnicity and nativity. She serves as a perinatal epidemiologist for the UC San Diego Mother, Child and Adolescent HIV Program, where she is a co-investigator on maternal and perinatal HIV studies in Mexico. Her prior research included studies on birth defects and adverse reproductive outcomes among Gulf War veterans, HIV transmission through donor artificial insemination, mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission, and behavioral intervention studies, including restorative yoga, active stretch and Zumba Fitness to reduce components of the metabolic syndrome.
Dr. Araneta is the Director of Epidemiology Courses for the UCSD CREST/MAS program where she teaches Epidemiology I and Applied Epidemiology, and taught Applied Epidemiology to junior faculty in Ethiopia through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative. She teaches research principles to UCSD medical students and doctoral students in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health.