María Elena graduated as MD from the Evangelical University of El Salvador in 1995. In the same year got an Administration of Public Health Services Diploma from the Veracruz University of Mexico. In 2000 she got a master degree in Public Health Services Management from the Jose Simeon Cañas Central America University of El Salvador (UCA). She graduated from the Field Epidemiology Training Master Program (FETP) from the Del Valle University of Guatemala.

She worked for 4 years at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) leading the Improving Cervical Cancer Early Detection Project in El Salvador. In 2007 she joined the Central America team of a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Training Epidemiological Program and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET) on HIV second-generation surveillance for over 10 years. From 2012-2017 she became the team leader and senior epidemiologist of TEPHINET branch office of Central America. Then moved to the Dominican Republic where she worked with the Ministry of Health and conducted an Epidemiological Surveillance Assessment at national level on Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya (2017-2018). In 2018 moved to El Salvador where she worked for Tulane University, University Research Co., (URC) and the Executive Secretariat of the Council of Ministers of Central America and the Dominican Republic (SE-COMISCA) as epidemiologist. In 2020 moved to Spain where she has worked as an independent consultant on COVID-19 and tuberculosis. She joined P95 as epidemiologist in February 2021.