Latino Health Research, Practice and Policy: Identifying our Strengths and Growing our Collaborations
There has been significant growth in the Latino population in the Pacific Northwest. From 2000-2011, the Hispanic population in the WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) grew by 93% and accounted for 43% of the region’s growth. However, we know very little about this expanding community because of barriers that have made it difficult to engage in health research. Barriers include: researcher knowledge of the community, language, costs, legal documentation, trust and community knowledge of research. Group Health Research Institute in collaboration with the University of Washington Institute for Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) convened the inaugural regional Latino Health Conference April 17-18, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. One hundred community stakeholders, researchers, and policymakers were invited from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho and Oregon to discuss the most prominent health issues that impact Latinos.
There were 3 aims for this conference:
- Provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge and professional networking for the purpose of developing new research collaborations focused on the health of Latinos
- Publish conference proceedings that identify specific opportunities for research collaborations grounded in the views of conference participants
- Create a website for the dissemination of the conference proceedings and to foster ongoing communication among conference participants.
In order to meet conference objectives, the conference planning committee which included community members, policymakers and academics paired community and academic experts as keynote speakers on the topics of physical health, mental health and the Affordable Care Act. After each opening talk, participants were invited to share their knowledge in smaller breakout sessions about a particular health need. Each breakout session focused around three topic areas: the current state of the issue, barriers to conducting research in that topic area and opportunities for research and partnership. Included in this document are some of the many ideas conference participants shared during the 2 days.
Over the 2 days 9 breakout sessions were offered to participants:
- Mental Health including stress, anxiety and depression
- Interpersonal Violence
- Cancer Screening and Prevention
- Applying global health solutions to local solutions
- Substance Use
- Academic and Provider Workforce, Diversity, Training and Pipeline
Information garnered from breakout sessions are being used to develop a research agenda for the Latino Center for Health. The inception of the Latino Center for Health was celebrated the evening of April 17 with the additional invitation of 100 local community stakeholders, policymakers and academics to a reception. Reception attendees included the Speaker of the House and other House Representatives, directors of several consulates, Regents from the University of Washington, Deans and other academics and community based organization executive directors and other stakeholders.
Through the hard work of conference participants, research recommendations were identified in each of the topic areas. The following pages represent some of the areas that community, academic and policy experts found germane to Latinos in the Pacific Northwest. Next steps include growing the Latino Center for Health as a hub of research for Latino health issues in the region. This will include reaching out to our academic and community partners to establish research connections. Future Latino research conferences will be developed to continue to understand issues as our growing community transforms.