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Dr. Viola Benavente, Assistant Professor

Viola G. Benavente, PhD, RN, CNS

Dr. Benavente is a native Texan, born in San Antonio, with more than 30 years of nursing experience.  Her career trajectory includes practicing in critical care environments, working in hospital administration, and teaching in academic institutions in both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, as well as other educational settings for staff development and patient education.  She earned a BSN from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, now known as the University of the Incarnate Word, an MSN from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with an expertise in critical care nursing and recognition as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.  She holds a PhD in nursing science from the University of Pennsylvania where she was awarded a Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Nursing Research/National Institutes of Health to identify predictors of coronary heart disease in Mexican-American women.  Following doctoral study, Dr. Benavente was awarded a competitive two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she examined the cardiovascular risks of older Latinas who participated in the well-known Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Longitudinal Study.  Her program of research is focused on the cardiovascular health promotion of Latinas, in terms of disease prevention and risk reduction. Dr. Benavente is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, the International Association of Latino Nursing Faculty, Sigma Theta Tau, American Heart Association, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, and the Southern Nursing Research Society, to name a few.  She has received the Archbishop Oscar Romero Special Recognition Award in 2016, a Faculty Mentor Award in 2013, and the Edgar C. Hayhow Award for Outstanding Article of the Year in 2007.  Dr. Benavente has published several manuscripts about Hispanic healthcare, specifically on cardiovascular health promotion behaviors, self-care and cardiac symptom management, and the cultural and linguistic competence of healthcare providers.

  • Cardiovascular health promotion of Latinas, in terms of disease prevention and risk reduction

  • Cognitive health of older Latinas with cardiac risk

  • Health and healthcare disparities among Hispanics


Presented "Preventing Cardiovascular Disease: Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC)" at the Tercer Congreso Internacional de Salud (3rd International Congress of Health) held on the Universidad de Guanajuato in Guanajuato City, Guanauato, Mexico, 4/6/17-4/8/17. The University of Guanajuato through the Division of Health Sciences and Engineering Campus Celaya - Salvatierra, has organized the Third International Congress of Health with the purpose of bringing together those interested in the investigation and treatment from a holistic perspective. The fundamental objective of the research in the field of health is to deepen the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms, biochemical, cellular, genetic, physiopathological and epidemiological studies of diseases and related health problems, and establish strategies for their prevention and treatment.

Presented "Perceived Health Status and the Cardiovascular Health of Mexican Women in the United States" at the The Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science in conjunction with the National Institute of Nursing Research's 2016 National State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research: "Determinants of Health" in Washington, D.C., September 14-16, 2016.  Abstract


Received a Research Enhancement Program (REP) grant from Texas State University’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in support of conducting her study entitled, “Promoting the Cardiovascular Health of Mexican-American Women in South Texas”. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Texas State University offers the Research Enhancement Program (REP) Grant Award to full-time faculty in fulfillment of its mission to contribute to the greater body of knowledge through research, scholarship, and creative expression. Through a peer review process, the REP provides funding for faculty from all disciplines to conduct research and creative activities. Dr. Benavente was awarded $7,947 of an $8,000 limit to conduct her study entitled, “Promoting the Cardiovascular Health of Mexican-American Women in South Texas.” The purpose of her study is to examine the cardiovascular health-promoting lifestyle behaviors of Mexican-American women. Specifically, she will explore Mexican-American cultural interpretations regarding cardiovascular health and disease by: (1) identifying health-promoting lifestyle behaviors that encourage and/or inhibit cardiovascular health promotion, and (2) assessing teaching/learning methods that will enhance comprehension and retention. (12/8/2016)

Received a Pilot Grant award from the 2017 Latino Aging Research Resource Center (LARRC) on 4/3/17,. This $25,000 award is in support of conducting her study, entitled, “Heart Technologies and Cognitive Health Promotion of Postmenopausal Latinas”.