Critical health concerns in the United States are focused on the marked disparities in health status, health care access and health outcomes. Of particular concern are disparities associated with ethnicity and immigrant status. Immigrant ethnic minorities, compared to their native-born counterparts, are overrepresented in low wage and intrinsically dangerous jobs, in which they experience greater risks of hazard exposure, injury, and illness. Considering evidence documenting relatively unsuccessful worksite approaches with low-wage immigrant workers, our impetus is to advance occupational health (OH) research by shifting to community- focused, network-oriented strategies as a means for addressing OH disparities among immigrant workers. Interagency networks and partnerships are integral to building community capacities and efficiency of connecting target populations and delivery of interventions in the community. Co-ethnic agencies-those established and managed by individuals of the same ethnic or national background-are underutilized community assets capable of providing essential building blocks for the proposed collaborative approach for the promotion of immigrant worker health. The purpose of this research is to generate knowledge about Chinese community interagency networks for community-based approaches to promote the health of Chinese immigrant workers. The specific study aims are Aim 1: to characterize interagency networks among Chinese and non-Chinese agencies/organizations;
and Aim 2 : to describe organizational capacities (commitment, resources, organizational flexibility) of Chinese and non-Chinese agencies or organizations for immigrant worker health. Using an 'expanding roster'sampling method, agency network and capacities data will be gathered through joint interviews with workers (informants) representing the administrative and service aspects of each agency. The initial roster (n=40 agencies) will be expanded by including new agencies named by informants as part of the interview, significantly broadening the range of network data collected, with a final sample size of about 60 agencies. Network properties will be specified using a one-mode network analysis;graphics will provide visualizations of network structures. Organizational capacities will be analyzed using descriptive statistics and integrated with network findings using a summary matrix format. Findings will provide direct and practical knowledge about how Chinese and non-Chinese agencies are involved in Chinese immigrant worker health, which network links and agencies are critical for reaching workers, and which links might require augmentation to expand and sustain prevention efforts in the community. The information will be used to guide the development of an R01 intervention study. This developmental project responds to research calls set forth for the national health agenda (NIOSH) and offers a novel methodological approach for determining purposeful community connections and partnerships for community-based OH disparities research.

Public Health Relevance

Immigrants experience greater health disparities due to increased workplace hazard exposure that is commonly associated with riskier jobs. Worksite intervention efforts have not been highly successfully for low- wage immigrant groups. This project seeks to promote a healthier workforce by generating knowledge of community service networks and organizational capacities, necessary to disseminate community-based preventive interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Safety and Occupational Health Study Section (SOH)
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Inserra, Steve
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University of Washington
Other Health Professions
Schools of Nursing
United States
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