Carolina Vega Legarda, MD

Regional Research Program Coordinator for MHPSS, HIAS

Carolina is the Regional Research Program Coordinator for MHPSS, LAC in HIAS. Previously, she coordinated the Housing Program Initiative in HIAS Ecuador, where she was responsible for implementing an innovative initiative focused in providing shelter to refugees and people with human mobility issues under emergency circumstances, in alliance with Airbnb. Carolina has nine years of experience working in the humanitarian and development field and four years in the research area developed in Costa Rica, where she earned her degree as Biologist specialized in Ecology and Sustainable Development. In her current position, she combines her experience in case management, working close to families straggling with gender based violence and victims survivors of terrorism, with her technical background, strong interest in research and a passion towards strategy and team building. She fully understands how important it is to have great team dynamics in today’s multi-disciplinary environment and to serve with humbleness, seeking to provide the best service to the families that reach to HIAS. Carolina holds a certificate from Harvard University in Non Profit Financial Stewardship and a certificate in Local Strategic Development from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Professional Expertise


Biostatistics, Human rights/international law, International development, Psychology, Social work, Social and behavioral sciences


Common mental health conditions, Disaster relief/response, Displaced population health, migration/refugee issues, Economic development/livelihood, Gender-based violence and intimate partner violence, LGBTQ health, Security and safety issues/protection, Trauma

Methodological Areas

Community engagement and CBPR, Efficacy/effectiveness trials, Economic evaluation, Grant and proposal writing, Human-centered design/design thinking/innovation techniques, Implementation science, Intervention development and testing, Program evaluation

Strategies expertise

Community engagement, Capacity building, Decision supports, Intervention scale-up, Quality improvement, Partnership development, Sustainability, Task shifting/sharing

Intervention Expertise

Anti-stigma interventions, Mental health awareness/promotion, Campaigns/information, education, and communication, Psychosocial skills, Support groups, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Behavioral activation, Mindfulness/meditation

Partnership Expertise

Community-based organizations/coalitions, For-profit organizations/corporations, Funding agencies, International NGOs, Multilateral organizations, Professional associations, Schools and universities, Worksites