Elsa Pinto López PhD, RD, LND

Email: elsa.pinto@upr.edu
787.764.0000 x. 2438


Florida International University, Miami, FL. – 2008
Ph.D. in Dietetics and Nutrition
Dissertation topic: Dietary Patterns and Substance
Use among Latino Women

University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, PR – 2002
M.S. in Environmental Health
Thesis Title: “Hygienic quality of street-vended ice cream”

University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, PR – 1998
B.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition


Nutritional Epidemiology – Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health – 2005
Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management – 2001


  • Young Dietitian of the Year, American Dietetic Association, Puerto Rico Affiliate – 2002
  • Achievement Award, Center for Research on US Latinos HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse – 2007
  • Distinguished Educator of the Year, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – 2010


Title: Diet patterns and drug use among Latinas
Support: National Institute of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Predoctoral Fellowship Award (F31)
Project goals: Describe the dietary intake among Hispanic women with reported substance abuse and how it relates to the varying levels of illicit drugs use, heavy alcohol use and/or non-medical use of prescription drugs. An observable association between dietary patterns and addiction severity may contribute to increase our understanding of the health consequences of drug abuse by a measure of dietary quality and to target interventions for substance abusers
Responsibilities: Principal investigator
Funding approved $28, 497
Date: 2006-2007

Title: Multilevel immigration factors and Latino males drug use
Support: National Institute of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Project goals: This study primary objective is to explore the role that contextual factors such as pre and post immigration factors have on the process of acculturation of Latino young adult males ages 18-34, and in turn, what effect acculturation has in influencing the illicit drug use behavior of these young adult Latino males.
Responsibilities: Research assistant – grant writer
Funding not approved

Title: Nutrition Live at UPR-RP; Distance Education within the Nutrition Curriculum
Support: US Department of Agriculture, NIFA
Responsibilities: Project director
Funding approved: $62,000
Date: 8/2011 – 2014

Title: Improved facilities for food and science laboratories at University of Puerto Rico
Support: US Department of Agriculture, HSI
Responsibilities: key personnel
Funding approved: $289,000
Date: 8/2011 – 2014


Evidence Analyst at the Evidence Analysis Library from the American Dietetic Association (2007- present)

  • Critical analysis and standard rating of the evidence included in peer-reviewed research articles for different topics in dietetics & nutrition.

Researcher and Outreach Coordinator at Center for Research on US Latinos HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (NIDA grant # R24 DA 14260-01A1) (2004–2007)

  • Developed and implemented a 24-hour dietary recall protocol using the 5-step multiple pass method, designed for NHANES, to collect data from Latino women in Miami, FL.
  • Coordinate and implement outreach strategies to recruit Latino women for a one time face-to-face interview to learn about substance using behaviors among Latino mothers and daughters in Miami, FL.
  • Data collection and preliminary analysis for a study on the intergenerational drug use among Latina mothers and daughters.
  • Conducted a secondary analysis of NHANES national survey data to identify dietary patterns among Latinas (>50 y/o) as it related to cardiovascular disease risk factors and alcohol use.
  • Coding of qualitative interviews among Hispanic gang members to learn about the factors associated to the onset of substance use.
  • Contributed in the preparation of a grant proposal to NIH to investigate the relationship between acculturation and the health of immigrants and their substance use in the US.

Research assistant (2003-2004)

  • Participated in the revision of the Florida Dietetic Association Diet Manual.
  • Conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on the cost-effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy for the management and prevention of chronic diseases. Benefits to older adults and the impact to public health from medical nutritional therapy were also included in this review. The document was submitted to the State of Florida Legislature for consideration of improving insurance coverage for nutrition services.

Masters’ Thesis research (2000-2002)
Hygienic quality of street vended ice cream


Journal articles

  • Dillon. F.; De La Rosa, M., Rojas, P., Pinto, E. (Under review). Attributions about Addiction among Hispanic Mothers and their Daughters. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
  • Rojas, P., Duan, R., Dillon, F.R., De La Rosa, M., Pinto, E., Malow, R., & Ruffin, B. (Under review). Underlying reasons for condom use among drug abusing Latino women who received HIV/AIDS education from their healthcare providers. Women’s Health Journal.
  • Rahill, G., Pinto, E., Thomlison, B., Ganapati, E. (2011). The use of metaphors as an engagement and intervention strategy for practice with Haitian clients. American Journal of Psychotherapy.
  • De La Rosa, M., Dillon, F., Ganapati, E., Rojas, P., Prado, G., Pinto E. (2010). Mother-daughter attachment and substance abuse among Latinas in the United States. Journal of Drug Issues. 40(2).
  • Rahill, G. Pinto, E. (2009). The Practice and Use of Informal Injectionists among U.S. Haitian and Latino Immigrants: A Call for Health Research to Inform Health Practice. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions. 9(3): 348-351.
  • Rahill, G., Pinto, E., Vanderbiest, A. & Rice, C. (2009). What Is Relapse? a Contemporary View of Treatment for Alcoholism. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions. 9(3): 246-262.
  • Pinto, E., Rice, C., Weddle, D. & Rahill, G. (2008). Dietary patterns derived by cluster analysis and cardiovascular risk factors among Hispanic women; NHANES 2001-2002. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(2): 248-256.
  • De La Rosa, M., Rahill, G., Rojas, P. & Pinto, E. (2007). Cultural adaptations in data collection: field experiences. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Use, 6(2):163-80.


  • Elsa Pinto, Patria Rojas, Mario De La Rosa, & Guitele Rahill (April, 2010). Cultural Adaptations in the Collection and Entry of Dietary Intake Data: Field Experiences with Latino Women. Poster presented at the 2010 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Anaheim, California.
  • Rojas, P., Duan, R., Pinto, E., De La Rosa, M., Craig, S. (September, 2007). Cultural Identity and Diet Quality in a Community Sample of Latino Women. Poster presented at the 2007 National Hispanic Science Network Annual Conference, Miami, FL.
  • Pinto, E. De La Rosa, M., Weddle, D., Newman, F., Rafie, C., Dixon, Z., Himburg, S. & Rojas, P. (April, 2007). “Diet Quality among a Community Sample of Latinas reporting drug and alcohol use; The Latino Women’s Study”. Poster session presented at the 2007 Annual Experimental Biology Conference, Washington, DC.
  • Pinto, E., Rice, C., Weddle, D. & Rahill, G. (March, 2007). “The Relationship among Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Dietary Patterns, Alcohol Consumption and Ethnicity among Women 50 Years and Greater”. Presented at the Annual Forum of Research and Education of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. San Juan, PR.
  • Rahill, G., Pinto, E., Vanderbiest, A. & Rice, C. (January, 2007). What Is Relapse? a Contemporary View of Treatment for Alcoholism. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work Research. San Francisco, California.
  • Pinto, E., Rice, C., Weddle, D. (September, 2006). Dietary patterns of older women; Analysis of NHANES 2001-2002. Poster session presented at the 2006 Annual Food and Nutrition Conference of theAmerican Dietetic Association, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Pinto, E., Rojas, P., De La Rosa, M. & Rahill, G. (September, 2005). Data collection phase of drug using and non-using Latino women: field experiences. Poster session presented at the Fifth National Conference of the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse, Miami, FL.
  • Pinto, E. (January, 2005). Predoctoral fellowship application; Dietary patterns and substance use among Latino women. Poster session presented at the first annual conference of the Center for Research on US Latinos on HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse, Miami, FL.

Association Newsletters/Magazines

  • Pinto, E. (2003). Calidad higiénica de helados distribuidos por vendedores ambulantes. Equilibrium, 3, 23.
  • Pinto, E. (2002). Contaminantes ambientales en los alimentos. Equilibrium, 2,18.


  • Editor, American Dietetic Association, PR Chapter, San Juan, PR 2002 – 2003 Served as editor and coordinator for the association’s newsletter that is provided to all members.
  • Secretary, Association of Graduate Students in Dietetics and Nutrition – FIU University 2004-2005
  • Vice-President, Association of Graduate Students in Dietetics and Nutrition – FIU University 2005-2006
  • President, American Dietetic Association, PR Chapter, San Juan, PR 2008-2009
  • Advisor, American Dietetic Association, PR Chapter, San Juan, PR 2009-present
  • Delegate, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, PR Chapter, San Juan, PR 2011- present


  • American Dietetic Association
  • Registered Dietitian
  • Member of “Colegio Nutricionistas y Dietistas de PR”
  • Licensed Dietitian in Puerto Rico – licencia #1249 – Registro de Profesionales de la Salud
  • National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse
  • American Society for Nutrition