Dr. Espinoza is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology & Palliative Medicine, and a core faculty member in the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity & Aging Studies. She is Co-Director of the San Antonio Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and Co-Leader of its Clinical Research and Pharmacology Core. For the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Dr. Espinoza serves as Director for the Geriatrics Research, Education & Clinical Center.
Dr. Espinoza’s primary research focus is understanding frailty, a geriatric syndrome that increases risk for physical decline. She has conducted epidemiologic and clinical translational research in this area, including clinical trials. Her epidemiologic work was the first to directly compare prevalence and incidence rates of frailty among Mexican Americans and European Americans in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (SALSA) cohort, in collaboration with Dr. Helen Hazuda, Principal Investigator of SALSA. This work identified that diabetes is a strong predictor of future frailty in older adults. Her translational research identified novel inflammatory biomarkers for frailty using high throughput proteomics techniques, collaborating with other investigators within the Barshop Institute. She is currently leading a randomized clinical trial of metformin for the prevention of frailty in older adults with pre-diabetes (NIH/NIA R01AG052697). She is also the Site PI for the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly study (ASPREE and ASPREE-XT), a landmark trial which demonstrated that low dose aspirin does not reduce risk for dementia, disability, cardiovascular diseases, or death, but increases bleeding events, in healthy older adults.
As Associate Director of the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) and Staff Physician, she provides clinical care at Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital and is actively engaged in research mentoring and clinical teaching to students, residents, and fellows. In this role she also oversees several clinical demonstration projects which serve to improve the care provided to older veterans in South Texas.