The Latino population has experienced a dramatic increase over the past decade, making it the largest minority group in the United States (US). Along with this surge in numbers Latinos also face greater challenges in accessing health care compared to the general population. These health disparities, which are particularly salient among Latina women, make it imperative to develop a clear understanding of the factors that affect the disproportionate numbers of people suffering from HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in this population. Our long term goal is therefore to contribute to the reduction, prevention, and eventual elimination of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse health disparities among Latinos. The proposed Center will expand on the activities of our current P-20 NIMHD C-SALUD located at Florida International University (FlU). C-SALUD will focus its research, training, and community collaboration activities with Latinos in Miami-Dade County, a county that not only houses a high concentration of Latinos but also has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of HIV, cocaine related deaths, and emergency room admissions in the U.S. The proposed continuing C-SALUD will build on ongoing collaborations with community based organizations which have a longstanding history of providing health and social services to Latinos at risk for HIV and substance abuse as well as other underserved Latino populations in South Florida. The Center will be organized around four cores: Administrative, Research, Research Education /Training, and Community Partnership/Engagement. The target population will be Latinos, particularly Latina women residing in Miami-Dade County with a focus on Latina farm workers ages 18 and older and recent Latina immigrants who have lived in the U.S. less than one year, ages 18-23. These two Latino subgroups are at high risk for HIV and have been impacted by the HIV epidemic. We anticipate that partnerships between C-SALUD researchers and the Miami-Dade County Latino community, will lead to the development of new collaborative strategies for researchers, CBOs, and the Latino community at large to work together more effectively in reducing and eliminating HIV and substance abuse health disparities among Latinos.
The Center is expected to enhance our understanding of the role that social and cultural determinants of health have on the substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors of Latinos, particular Latinas. This knowledge is expected to lead to the development and refinement of culturally relevant and evidence-based HIV prevention strategies available to HIV-uninfected/infected individuals and users of substances among Latinos who are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS and substance abuse epidemics in the U.S.
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