Dr. Vargas holds degrees in dentistry and epidemiology from the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia; after fulfilling the obligatory rural service, she worked in private practice, academia, and in dental public health programs. She received a PhD in medical sociology from Arizona State University and was in the 1994 class of the CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) at the National Center for Health Statistics, where she stayed four more years. Dr. Vargas participated in the design of the oral health objectives for Health People 2010 and in the oral health component of national surveys. Currently she is part of the National Oral Health Surveillance System advisory committee, Dr. Vargas' research is concentrated on socio-economic inequalities in oral health. She has published scientific articles and has provided oral health data for publications and public health activities in this area of interest.