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Nelson Varas-Diaz


Global and Sociocultural Studies



Dr. Nelson Varas-Diaz is interested in the social, political and individual level implications of stigmatization. His academic career addresses the role of social and structural factors in the stigmatization of individuals and communities. His research has focused on the social stigmatization of disease (i.e. HIV/AIDS, addiction), marginalized groups (i.e. transgender individuals) and cultural practices (i.e. metal music, religion). These interests are manifested through research, policy work, teaching, and community involvement. Other subjects of interest include: 1) qualitative research, 2) mixed methodology, 3) issues related to community participation, and 4) social justice through research.

Selected Publications

Varas-Diaz, N., Rivera-Diaz, M., Rivera-Segarra, E.,Neilands, T., Ortiz, N., Pedrogo, Y., Mendoza, S., Rivera-Amador, A., Martinez-Garcia, S., Rivera-Suazo, S., & Albizu-Garcia, C. (2017). Beyond Negative Attitudes: Examining HIV/AIDS Stigma Behaviors in Clinical Encounters. AIDS Care.

Varas-Diaz, N., Torsten, B.N., Rodriguez-Madera, S. & Padilla, M. (2015). The role of emotions in the reduction of HIV/AIDS stigma among physicians in training. AIDS Care, 7, 1-8.

Rodriguez-Madera, S., Padilla, M., Varas-Diaz, N., Neilands, T.B. & Ramos, A. (2017). Violence against transgender/transsexual persons: An underestimated problem in Puerto Rico. Journal of Homosexuality, 7, 1-9.

Varas-Diaz, N., Rivera, E., González, O., Mendoza, S. & Morales, E. (2017). Heavy Metal as a vehicle for critical culture in Latin America and the Caribbean: Challenging traditional female gender roles though music. In B. Bardine & M. Elovaara (Eds.) Connecting Metal and Culture: Unity in Disparity.

Varas-Diaz, N. & Scott, N. (2016). Heavy Metal Music and the Communal Experience. New York, New York. Lexington Press.

Varas-Diaz, N., Mendoza, S., Rivera-Segarra, E. & González- Sepúlveda, O. (2016). Methodological strategies and challenges in research with small Heavy Metal scenes: A reflection on entrance, evolution and permanence. Metal Music Studies, 2, 3, 273-290.

The Distorted Island: Heavy Metal Music and Community in Puerto Rico https:/www.decibelmagazine.com2015/11/06/welcome-home-the-distorted-island-exclusive-premiere-of-feature-length-doc-on-heavy-metal-community-in-puerto-rico/


Areas of Expertise

Social stigmatization of disease (e.g. HIV/AIDS), marginalized groups (e.g. transgender individuals) and cultural practices (i.e. heavy metal music, religion); Research Methods, Caribbean Region.


PhD, University of Puerto Rico, 2002