Melissa Chinchilla is currently employed by AltaMed as a Research Scientist. Dr. Chinchilla’s research rests at the intersection of housing, health, and community development. Her dissertation examined the community integration outcomes of formerly homeless individuals assisted through the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) largest homeless program, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-VA Supportive Housing (VASH). Dr. Chinchilla’s research on HUD-VASH points to the importance of voucher type and neighborhood factors in assuring that formerly homeless individuals in supportive housing are able to achieve housing stability and improvements in quality of life.
Dr. Chinchilla’s current research examines Latino homelessness in Los Angeles County, including what is driving the increase in Latino homelessness, gaps in housing and service provision, and best practices for serving this population, authoring Stemming the Rise of Latino Homelessness: Lessons from Los Angeles County. She was formerly a Post Doctoral Fellow in Health Services Research and Development at the Veteran Administration of Greater Los Angeles and a Master of Science candidate in Health Policy Management at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Chinchilla has also published on the use of Health Impact Assessment as an interdisciplinary teaching tool, and continues to examine ways to bridge the divide between public health and urban planning disciplines. Dr. Chinchilla’s work has been published by MIT Press and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. She has received research funding from the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center, Sagalyn and Hack Dissertation Grant, and the Veteran Administration Research Enhancement Award Program. Dr. Chinchilla earned her doctorate in Urban Studies and Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also holds a master in City and Regional Planning and bachelor degrees in Social Welfare and Mass Communications from the University of California, Berkeley.