El Centro also trains the next generation of health disparities scientist in the approaches and methodologies needed for culturally tailored prevention and intervention science. This includes community based participatory and community engaged approaches, and the use of culturally appropriate quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
Strong community partnerships serve as the platform for culturally tailored intervention science. El Centro works closely with service providers and community members to create strong links between available scientific knowledge and the unique needs of minority communities. This involves supporting community partners in implementing evidenced based practices that are aligned with the institutional and community culture and identifying and assisting community agencies in evaluating homegrown practices that show promise in effectively addressing health disparities.
Health Disparities (HD) are preventable differences in the burden of disease by race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location (urban vs. rural), income or education. These inequitable differences represent issues of social injustices, making HD an issue of ultimate importance. While HD are a social justice issue, they are also an issue of economic importance that impacts all Americans, regardless of race/ethnicity. In an effort to mitigate the negative health, social, and economic outcomes associated with HD, El Centro strives to eliminate these disparities through research, training, and working within communities in order to produce effective, culturally-informed and sustainable improvements to health.
El Centro conducts health disparities (HD) research focused on racial, ethnic and sexual minorities living in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Although there is great diversity within and across these minority groups, they share some common disparities in HIV, substance abuse, violence and mental health as well as the underlying root causes of these conditions.
The communities with whom El Centro partners and conducts research with, and the school’s international initiatives allows El Centro to capitalize on the full experience of our investigators, the diversity of South Florida’s population, and the inextricable connections between South Florida and the Latin American and Caribbean regions
At El Centro we design, test and disseminate “culturally-tailored” interventions that our investigators have designed or adapted for a specific group. The group may be a specific ethnic or sexual minority, or it may be a group experiencing a specific set of vulnerabilities (e.g., mothers in substance abuse recovery or victims of intimate partner violence). Culturally tailored interventions take into account the group’s unique experiences, values, beliefs and behaviors that impact health. The intervention developers also consider the group’s preferences for receiving health-promotion services and how to overcome barriers that make it difficult for group members to access services.
Here are the interventions being studied in El Centro:
1. SEPA, violence and HIV/STI prevention for Hispanic women
2. CIFFTA, Culturally Informed Flexible Family Therapy for Adolescents
3. Healthy Home, nurse home visits for mothers in substance abuse or mental health recovery
4. JOVEN, dating violence prevention for Hispanic youth
5. VIP, Testing for victims of intimate partner violence