• Research Statement

  • Working Research Statement

    Research Frameworks

    (1) Theory of Social Suffering, which collapses the distinction between social problems and health problems and suggests institutions devised to address suffering often make matters worse.

    (2) Community Health Empowerment Theory, which aims to facilitate the engagement of community members in the process of recognizing personal and social contextual resources, and in the identification of desired health goals and the means to attain these goals.


    Primary Research Participants

    Low-SES racial/ethnic minority individuals and families (in particular, but not limited to, Latinos); health care providers. 


    Research Programs

    My research area is customized, culturally sensitive health promotion and health care. I have built community and academic partnerships to lead two community-based research programs—Patient-Centered Culturally Sensitive Health Promotion and Patient-Centered Culturally Sensitive Health Care—that promote health and prevent disease in at-risk communities. These research programs target different social determinants of health, ranging from immigration status and education to quality of received health care. These programs involve defining, assessing, and testing culturally sensitive interventions to increase health promoting behaviors (e.g., healthy eating and physical activity) and reduce health risk behaviors (e.g., poor sleep) in these communities. The focus of this research is on understanding the relationship among these interventions (and its associated lifestyle changes) and health outcomes (e.g., rates of obesity, hypertension). The two research programs are:

    Patient-Centered Culturally Sensitive Health Promotion: My work in this area is based on precision prevention and the notion that health promotion approaches must be based on key sociodemographic variables. I have collaboratively developed and tested different versions of the Health-Smart Behavior Program. I have also published several articles on precursors to health behaviors and health-related quality of life in low-SES racial/ethnic minorities and rural patients. Most recently, my work has concentrated on sociodemographic and health correlates of sleep disturbances in Black and Brown communities, which are a major unmet health problem.

    Patient-Centered Culturally Sensitive Health Care (PC-CSHC). My work in this area responds to increasing national calls for health care that is responsive to the needs and values of racial/ethnic minorities as a pathway to improve their health outcomes. I am partnered with Denver Health to conduct two research studies: (1) “Preferred Provider Cultural Sensitivity Indicators and their Association with Perceived Quality of Care”; and (2) “Implicit Bias and Opioid Prescriptions at Emergency Department Visits.” Moreover, I am working with the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado to increase access and awareness of mental health services to immigrants in 3 rural areas of Colorado. 

This portfolio last updated: 07-Jul-2021 11:53 AM