Expert Bio

Melissa Mercado

Melissa C. Mercado, PhD, MSc, MA

Behavioral Scientist, Division of Violence Prevention


Areas of Expertise

  • Bullying and youth violence
  • Family violence

Melissa Mercado, PhD, MSc, MA is a behavioral scientist in the Division of Violence Prevention at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Apart from conducting her own original research, Dr. Mercado serves as a subject matter expert in youth violence and bullying prevention, and is a member of the federal inter-agency Editorial Board. She also provides subject matter and methodological support to multiple CDC-funded National Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention – commonly known as CDC’s Youth Violence Prevention Centers.

Dr. Mercado has worked in the non-profit, public, and private sectors as a public health researcher and communications specialist for over 10 years, conducting original epidemiological and qualitative research on a variety of topic areas – bullying, children’s health, emergency preparedness, family violence, health disparities, mental health, prescription drug overdose, unintentional injuries, and youth violence. Her research has been published and recognized in multiple local, national, and international forums, and has been characterized by an emphasis on community-based approaches to youth violence prevention and racial/ethnic minority groups.

She has more than 15 years of work experience in multicultural settings, including deployments during multiple emergency public health responses, and is a post-doctoral CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service alumna. A native of Puerto Rico, she is fluent in Spanish, and serves as an official CDC Spokesperson for Spanish/Latino media.

Before joining CDC, Dr. Mercado led research and health education efforts at the USF Harrell Center for the Study of Family Violence, and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Institute for Hispanic Health. She also served as faculty at the USF College of Public Health and Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida.

Dr. Mercado obtained her doctoral degree from the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health, where she specialized in community and family health. She also holds two master’s degrees in epidemiology and communications.