The changing demographics of the U.S. population ~ in which recent immigrants are playing a key role in population growth ~ have and will continue to exert a major influence on the course of health disparities. Therefore, the very timely overall mission of the proposed GWU NIMHD P20 Exploratory Center is to build on an existing academic-community collaboration with the Latino immigrant population in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in order to better understand factors contributing to racial/ethnic minority health disparities specific to this critical population, to increase both community and academic capacity to address these factors, and to test a multi-level community intervention addressing the health disparity issue of substance abuse and co-occurring conditions. This collaboration will: 1) Contribute to the transdisciplinary advancement of the field with respect to eliminating health disparities as well as the health of the Latino community;2) Develop, implement and evaluate an innovative, community-driven, multi-component community intervention (called ADELANTE) that addresses a vulnerability cluster of substance abuse and co-occurring conditions in youth and families;3) Provide an ongoing mechanism for training and educating faculty, students and community members in a range of issues related to addressing racial/ethnic health disparities generally and in Latino immigrant/refugee populations;and provide opportunities for partner community members to gain specific research skills that will increase capacity and research participation;and 4) Support the overall mission of the Center by conducting specific, collaborative activities aimed at: increasing skills and knowledge related to preventing substance abuse and related health conditions, testing innovative social media and branding strategies to increase the likelihood of behavior change, and improving health literacy and capacity using a tested community training approach. 5) Disseminate the results of the research to the participating communities and to the field, via the Center website and multiple channels.
The proposed Center is highly relevant because of its demographic focus, its foundation In an existing university-community partnership, and the clear need to develop collaborative intervention and research approaches to address health disparities in this significant population group.