The Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC), a NIMHD Exploratory Center of Excellence, aims to address knowledge gaps on the role of social determinants of health- including cultural processes-as factors in the creation, reduction and elimination of health disparities.
SIRC aims to advance research by moving beyond the proximal causes of risk and protective behaviors to consider how factors at multiple levels such as the family, community, and culture influence health behaviors. With support leveraged from the Administrative and Research Cores, these two proposed pilot studies will enhance SIRC's current work and add knowledge that can result in specific improvements in the health and well-being of racial/ethnic minorities. The first pilot study, The Role of Refugee Mothers'Experiences with Trauma and Forced Migration on Child Emotional and Behavioral Health, explores how Vietnamese and Cambodian refugee parents'pre- and post-migration experiences influence family dynamics and youth behavioral and mental health outcomes. The second pilot study, Unintended Consequences for Minority Health at a Time of Changing Immigration Policy and Economic Conditions, seeks to understand how economic and socio-political change affects health care utilization for Latinos. These proposed pilot research projects will continue SIRC's work to advance social determinants of health to include sociocultural processes in the reduction and elimination of health disparities using a multilevel approach. By identifying ways in which cultural processes act as a social determinants and fundamental causes of disease, these pilot projects extend SIRC's aim to understand ethnic minorities'vulnerabilities and manifestations of risk and resilience behaviors.
Given the large racial and ethnic differentials in access to health care and health outcomes in the United States, reducing health disparities is critically important. In order to do this, knowledge about those factors that impede health care access and impact psychological and behavioral problems within ethnic minority communities is necessary. Going beyond individual- level determinants, this project employs a multilevel sociocultural approach to enhance our understanding of health disparities among ethnic minority communities in the United States.