Maria Claudia Norena


Maria C NorenaMaria C. Norena is the Associate Director of Strategy and Innovation for two interdisciplinary research centers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Since 2003, she has worked in the establishment and strategic development of UAB’s Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC). During that period, the Center received $100 million in competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health. The Center’s most recent work focuses on the intersection of health, economic development, the social determinants of health, and the impact of the built environment in community health.

Since 2012, Maria also works in UAB’s Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center (SSC). The center has partnered with national and international universities to develop joint research and training programs on smart urban development, including a Master’s in Sustainable Smart Cities with the UK. The UAB SSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Birmingham to evaluate and develop new projects on urban sustainability. Through this collaboration, Birmingham was selected as one of the 2014 IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Global Competition.

Prior to her current positions, she directed the International Strategic Planning and Development of the UAB Health System. Her work included the creation of the International Medical Service and establishing a network of academic affiliations with top institutions in Latin America.


  • Bachelors in Social Communication Sciences – Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.
  • Diploma in Advanced Marketing – University of California at Berkeley – Executive Training Program.
  • Fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Center for Creative Leadership.

Member Board of Directors

  • YWCA OF CENTRAL ALABAMA (2013 – present)
  • BIRMINGHAM BUSINESS ALLIANCE -Chair, Hispanic Business Council (2011 – 2013)
  • UAB AMC21 INNOVATION BOARD (2011 – present)