Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities

Health Disparities Researcher Development Projects

Mexican and Central American Migration, Health Needs and Healthcare Access in the New York State Capital Region
James P. Collins, Professor, Department of Anthropology; and
Jennifer L. Burrell, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

This research is an ethnographic survey and study of health needs and access to healthcare among Mexican and Central American migrants in the Capital District region of upstate New York. This project specifically explores the relation between work practices, home economies, language obstacles and health care in three specific employment sectors: agriculture, service and restaurant work and the Saratoga track. Through the collection of ethnographic data, we are working towards an understanding of the social context of health that is the social, economic and political factors that contribute to migrants’ and providers’ understandings of health issues and health care options and their availability.

Improving the Health of Teens At-Risk for Gang Involvement
Kristi McClamroch, Ph.D.

This project involves conducting focus groups and individual interviews with inner-city youth in Albany in order to develop a Health Education Program to address issues of gang violence and sexual health, as well as broader health issues for this population. This project supplements an ongoing program, the Saturday Night Teen Program, which is run by the Albany Gang Prevention Program at the Albany YMCA. In the focus groups, Teen Night participants will be asked to identify priority health topics for themselves, their family, and their community. During the individual interviews, baseline information to describe sociodemographic, behavior, and health characteristics of Teen Night participants will be collected. These data will be used to develop with and for Teen Night participants a Health Education program aimed at alleviating health disparities in this population.

The Voices of Wellness's Self-Management Program for Arbor Hill, West Hill, and the South End
Sandra Austin, Ph.D.
The Voices of Wellness (VOW), a health committee of the Albany’s African American Clergy for Empowerment, is collaborating with Dr. Sandra Austin, Assistant Professor at the School of Social Welfare, a CEMHD research recipient, on the design and implement of an 8 session workshop on diabetes self management education. This project is also intended to support member churches in developing their health ministry and deeper partnerships between, Whitney M. Young, Jr. Health Center and community health providers.
In addition, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) of the Capital Region has contributed the use of Project POWER, a faith based curriculum on diabetes which is being used by the four health ministries in the African American communities of West Hill, Arbor Hill and South End that will host the workshops.
The workshop goals are to increase participants’ knowledge and behavior leading to the adoption of healthy behaviors for managing their diabetes. Pre and post surveys will be administered to participants to determine if the workshops enhanced their health awareness regarding healthy eating and exercising. A focus group will also be undertaken to access the formation of the health ministries.

Identification of Barriers to HIV/AIDS Care for African-Americans in the Capital District
Robert Miller, Ph.D.; Dwight Williams, Ph.D.; and Edwina Dorch, Ph.D.
Identified key informants are answering open-ended questions related to the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health care services. The specific objectives of this research are to determine if compliance with physician prescribed AIDS health care regiments varies (is greater) with certain ethnic identity profiles and concurrently less with other profiles. If this turns out to be the case, the same instrument that is used to reveal a Black American ethnic identity profile can be used by physicians to make risk assessments about the patients future degree compliance with their prescribed health care regiment. Additional questions are intended to reveal structural and systemic barriers; provider behavior; personal responsibility, satisfaction and dissatisfaction; race; gender; sexual orientation; treatment settings; and other, to be defined hindrances to care. The cite of the research is the Whitney M. Young, Jr., Health Center, an urban based diagnostic and treatment facility with HIV/AIDS services offered through the CHEER Department (Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Education, Empowerment Resources). The CHEER Department serves as the agency coordinator for a New York State funded program, Gay Men of Color Alliance (GMOCA). GMOCA is a psycho-social support group for those individuals who identify as bi-sexual, transgendered and gay men of color who are affected and infected by HIV disease.
Progress Report

Reaching Out to a Minority Community to Promote Use of Reproductive Healthcare Services
Annis Golden, Ph.D.
This project focuses on communication between a non-profit community-based provider of reproductive healthcare services and low income African American women in the community. The goals are to identify content and channels for communication by the healthcare provider that will result in increased utilization of the provider’s services by the African American community. Using interviews and focus groups, with both current users of the health center and non-users, the study will document community members’ perceptions of the healthcare provider, their interpretations of messages used in the provider’s recent communication campaigns, and impediments they perceive to using the provider’s services.
Progress Report

Capitalize on Community Project
Hayward Derrick Horton, Ph.D.
Capitalize on Community (CoC) is a five-year research and community outreach project that employs community forums, focus groups and one-on-one interviews to attempt to understand the nature of the disconnect between three important entities in black and Latino communities: HIV service providers, faith-based leaders and the population most at-risk of HIV/AIDS. The specific goals are: 1) to understand the factors that facilitate or impede effective HIV prevention in black and Latino communities; 2) to determine the extent to which HIV service organizations and faith-based leaders collaborate in their HIV prevention efforts; and 3) to determine what program and/or policy changes are necessary to enhance existing HIV prevention programs in the Albany Capital District.
Progress Report

Enhancing Psychosocial Competence Among Drug-Abusing Black Women
Lani V. Jones, Ph.D, MSW
A systematic and extensive study of positive mental health paradigms that seeks to enhance the functional capacity of Blacks with co-occuring disorders of drug abuse and psychiatric disabilities will ultimately result in better services, less treatment disparity, and improved system cultural sensitivity. The psychosocial competence framework offers a unique opportunity to work towards these goals, given its potential applicability to African-American service recipients. I propose a program of work that includes the implementation of preliminary pilot studies to examine the effectiveness of a culturally responsive group intervention aimed at reducing depressive symptoms and enhancing psychosocial competence among Black women with drug abuse/dependence disorders. This research has four overarching goals:

  1. To develop a working treatment manual,
  2. To examine the instruments for measuring psychosocial competence enhancement symptoms and sample all the relevant domains,
  3. To conduct preliminary pilots to better understand the utility of the intervention and its applicability, and
  4. To provide an effective mechanism for communicating research-based information to leaders, providers, and consumers to improve access to and the quality and effectiveness of mental healthcare for Black women.
    Progress Report

Social Determinants of Chronic Disease Related to Screening Practices among Latinas
Janine Jurkowski, Ph.D., MPH
In New York State, Latinos comprise 15.1% of the population and their numbers are growing in small cities. It is known that Latinos living in the U.S. experience health disparities compared to other groups. Latinas are less likely to obtain risk factor screenings for two of the leading causes of death, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes, compared to non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black women. Research on the reasons for this is relatively scarce and as a result, current health promotion campaigns targeting these women will be limited in their efficacy. The goals of this project are to

  1. Better understand social and cultural determinants of CVD and diabetes-related screening behaviors in the words of Latinas,
  2. Translate these words into a survey instrument for guiding future health promotion efforts, and finally,
  3. Develop community partnerships necessary for future participatory action research to address health issues among Latinas living in Albany and Amsterdam.

Four 90 minute focus groups will be conducted in collaboration with Centro Civico in the community. The focus group questions are guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior and the Health Belief Model, both of which are commonly used in public health research.
Progress Report