Applying Global Health Solutions to Local Latino Communities

As our immigrant communities grow, it has become increasingly important to gain knowledge in order to best serve them. The University of Washington has a strong School of Public Health program, with an emphasis on global health. Students are encouraged to conduct research in a foreign country and bring their knowledge back to the United States to apply or understand it as it relates to those similar communities. There are other organizations in our region with the mission of translating global solutions to local communities.


  • Need to understand conditions where people are coming from and their work here and abroad
  • Understanding how other poorer countries have better health care practices than in the U.S.
  • There has been a tremendous growth in the Latino population in the State; dramatic increase especially in Yakima Valley; we need to understand our community and where they have come from
  • Lay health workers (Promotores) is a model program for underserved communities
  • Research is moving to patient centered research (PCORI grants) that values the input of the communities


  • Sustainability of programs — too much helicopter research where researchers come in to conduct their research and leave nothing for the community; an example of a successful, sustainable program is the Promotores program
  • There are few researchers in and from the community, so they do not have an understanding of the culture
  • There has been a general lack of follow-up regarding research results
  • Lack of a cultural approach partly because the researchers are not from the community they are studying
  • When materials are translated many times, survey instruments are of poor quality
  • Research has generally been a one-way process; this is slowly changing with Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR)
  • Working with vulnerable populations, particularly the undocumented, is often difficult
  • Have to be conscious of where we are hosting events in anti-immigrant areas
  • Unable to conduct research anytime with migrant populations, so experience low attendance in intervention projects in the summer (because migrant workers are in the fields); December through March is a good time for intervention projects
  • Childcare needed during research interventions
  • Transportation can be a barrier for participants, particularly in rural areas
  • Many researchers do not recognize the diversity in the Latino community
  • Lack a bridge to become more acculturated to research — communities may lack an understanding of research and the process


  • Understanding the social networks that exist for information sharing — dissemination of research results but also for recruiting participants
  • Need for more and updated community health assessments
  • Community gardens may be a place for interdisciplinary partnerships
  • Crowd-sourcing to fund projects
  • In creating partnerships, researchers need to learn flexibility in process of working with our communities
  • Consider Evidence Based Practices (EBP) and principles, but a real need to develop some particular to our community

Contact Information | Latino Center for Health | | | 206-616-9365