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Cynthia Fraga Rizo

Associate Professor

Cynthia Fraga-Rizo, Ph.D.



Suite 540-H

325 Pittsboro Street

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

O: 919-962-6512

M: 305-244-7046

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Cynthia Fraga Rizo, Ph.D., MSW, is an associate professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Dr. Rizo has practice experience providing services to survivors of intimate partner violence and their children. Dr. Rizo has worked on a number of projects in the area of interpersonal violence, including intimate partner violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault.

Her primary research focus consists of developing and evaluating interventions for particularly vulnerable survivors of interpersonal violence, including Latinx survivors and youth. Dr. Rizo is currently working to develop and evaluate school-based sex trafficking content for students as well as protocols that schools can use to connect at-risk youth and victims to  needed community services.

Dr. Rizo teaches MSW courses on human development, confronting racism and institutional discrimination, and research, as well as a social work doctoral course on theory.

Dr Rizo was a recipient of the 2017 Linda Saltzman New Investigator Award.

Degrees and Licenses

MSW, Florida International University
BA, Florida International University

Primary Program

Research, MSW Education, and Doctoral Education


Safe Zone Training

Research and Professional Interests

Intimate Partner Violence
Human Trafficking
Prevention and Intervention Research
Latinex Survivors

Principal Investigator

Feasibility Evaluation of a Parenting Intervention for Latinx Mothers who have Experienced Intimate Partner Violence (Co-PI)
UNC – Human Trafficking School-Based Programs – 2016 (PI)


School-Based Trafficking Program for High-Risk Youth, 2017 (Co-I)

Recent Publications

Nemeth, J. & Rizo, C. F. (in press). Estimating the prevalence of human trafficking: Progress made and future directions. American Journal of Public Health.

Rizo, C. F., Klein, L. B., Chesworth, B. R., O’Brien, J. E., Macy, R. J., Martin, S., L., Crews, M. E., & Love, B. L. (2019). Educating youth about commercial sexual exploitation of children: A systematic review. Global Social Welfare, 6, 29-39.

Rizo, C. F., O’Brien, J., Macy, R. J., Ermentrout, D., & Lanier, P. (2019). Reporting maltreatment to child protective services in the context of intimate partner violence research. Violence Against Women, 25, 131-147. doi:10.1177/1077801218761604

Rizo, C. F., O’Brien, J. E., Wretman, C., & Givens, A., Kainz, K., & Chesworth, B. (2018). Investigating the complex relationship between intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration among system-involved women in heterosexual relationships: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0886260518780781

Rizo, C. F., Wretman, C. Macy, R. J., Guo, S., & Ermentrout, D. M. (2018). A novel intervention for system-involved female intimate partner violence survivors: Changes in mental health. Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Advance online publication.

Presentations, Workshops and Media

Rizo, C. F. (2019, January). Applying stress and coping theory to intimate partner violence survivors’ coping and help-seeking experiences. In C. F. Rizo (Organizer), Coping, help-seeking, and service engagement in response to intimate partner violence: Survivor, perpetrator, and service provider perspectives. Symposium presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, San Francisco, CA.

Rizo, C. F., Martin, S. L., Crews, M., Franchino-Olsen, H., Love, B., Klein, L. B. (2018, August). Working in schools to teach students about sex trafficking and respond to students in need. Workshop presented at the Project NO REST Conference, New Bern, NC.

Rizo, C. F., Klein, L. B., Martin, S., Macy, R. J., Chesworth, B. R., Crews, M., Love, B., & O’Brien, J. (2018, July). Commercial sexual exploitation of children: Identifying and educating youth in schools. Paper presented at the International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference, Portsmouth, NH.

Rizo, C. F., Givens, A., & Chesworth, B. (2018, January). Factors associated with cultural competence and perceived barriers to providing culturally-appropriate services to Latina survivors of intimate partner violence. Poster presented at the Society for Social Work and Research Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Van Deinse, T, Rizo, C. F., & Macy, R. J. (summit organizers). (2018, November). Family Justice Center and co-location summit: Evaluation and research summit. Greensboro, NC.


SOWO 500

Human Develop In Context I: Infancy to Adolescence



SOWO 501

Confronting Oppression and Institutionalized Racism



SOWO 810

Evaluation of Social Work Interventions



SOWO 900

SOWO 900. Conceptualizing Social Problems to Inform Interventions