Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities in Youth

The main focus of this research area is to understand and reduce health disparities with a special emphasis on youth living in the border region.
Our aims are to address:

  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Education
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Obesity

Current Projects include:

  • NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Comprehensive Research Center in Health Disparities (CRCHD), PI: Daley
  • Families in Transition Study (Project FIT), PI: East
  • Bio-psychosocial Determinants of Adolescent Obesity/Cardiovascular Risk, PI: Gahagan
  • Proyecto MAC/Project CAM, PI: Zúñiga
  • Proyecto Acceso/Project Access, PI: Zúñiga
  • School Health Services Research, PI: Taras
  • San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network
  • Risk factors associated with 30 day readmissions to Children’s Hospital, PI: Yang

PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS

NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Comprehensive Research Center in Health Disparities (CRCHD)

The main goals of the CRCHD are to expand minority health and health disparities research activities by conducting interdisciplinary biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and community-based applied research. Additionally, the CRCHD aims to provide health information to minority and other underserved communities, as well as inform the scientific and professional communities about health disparities; and promote the participation of health disparity groups in biomedical and behavioral research. As a result, the core objective is to prepare new investigators to CRCHD to strengthen the infrastructure for research and training in minority health / health disparities through partnerships, outreach, involvement of populations with disparate health risks, and curricula for university trainees. Trainees range from high school through post doctoral fellows, and Junior Faculty.

Project Dates: 2007-2012
Total Funds Granted: $6,245,920
Director: Sandra Daley, M.D.
Website: meded.ucsd.edu/crchd/

Families in Transition Study (Project FIT)

This grant, funded by the Office of Population Affairs, supports the analysis of data gathered as part of the NIH-funded Project FIT. Findings will help understand why the other adolescent children in the family also become pregnant.

Years: 2007-2011
Total Funds Granted: $365,991
Director: Patricia East, Ph.D
Contact: peast@ucsd.edu

Bio-psychosocial Determinants of Adolescent Obesity/Cardiovascular Risk

This NIH-funded research project is designed to further understanding of the environmental and social conditions related to the development of obesity in a high risk urban, Hispanic/Latino population. The aims of our research focus on how children develop circadian rhythms related to eating, sleeping and physical activity, and subsequently how these patterns lead to obesity. The goal is to unveil modifiable conditions in order to prevent obesity and related diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Project Dates: 2008-2013
Total Funds Granted: $2,796,637
Director: Sheila Gahagan, M.D., M.P.H.
Contact: Christine Williams 619-243-2422

Proyecto MAC/Project CAM

Project Title: Complementary & Alternative Care Behavior in HIV+ Latinos in the US-Mexico
Funding agency: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The purpose of this community-based participatory research study is to identify the nature and extent of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among HIV-positive Latinos on the San Diego/Tijuana border. CAM use among US Latinos living with HIV is associated with delayed utilization of and poor adherence to antiretroviral therapies (ARVs) that may exacerbate health disparities in HIV care access and health outcomes. This study will lead to development of culturally-effective interventions to improve access and adherence to HIV care in Latinos who face health disparities. The project is a collaboration between: the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); San Ysidro Health Center, San Ysidro, California; Agencia Familiar Binacional (AFABI) and Tijuana General Hospital, Tijuana, Baja California.

Project Dates: 2009 –2011
Total Funds Granted: $304,781
Director: María Luisa Zúñiga, Ph.D.; 619-681-0689
Contact: Justine Kozo, M.P.H. 619-243-5103

Proyecto Acceso/Project Access

The purpose of this study is to assess binational health care seeking behavior, including HIV treatment utilization and use of complementary and alternative medicine, and barriers to HIV medical care among Latinos living with HIV who reside in the San Diego or Tijuana U.S.-Mexico border region. The project is a collaboration between: the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); San Ysidro Health Center, San Ysidro, California; Agencia Familiar Binacional (AFABI) and Tijuana General Hospital, Tijuana, Baja California.

Project Dates: 2008-2011
Total Funds Granted: $343,953
Director: Maria Luisa Zúñiga, Ph.D.; 619-681-0689
Contact: Justine Kozo, M.P.H. 619-243-5103

School Health Services Research

This Division’s interaction with schools across San Diego County and elsewhere is associated with analysis of school-derived data, ranging from effects of school occupational therapy, to use of school physician services for children with special health care needs and the effects of poor health on academics.

Project Dates: Ongoing
Contacts: Howard Taras, M.D., htaras@ucsd.edu

San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network

Throughout the County of San Diego, this network provides outreach to parents of uninsured children, through community partner agencies, providing education on children’s preventive health, assessment of health coverage eligibility options for children’s access to care, assistance in applying to multiple low/no cost federal/state and non-profit health coverage programs, presentations/teachings on health access, use/retention of managed care. Evaluations of health coverage retention are also conducted.

Project Dates: 2002-2011
Total Funds Granted: $1,890,000
Director: Howard Taras, M.D.
Contact: Elaine Pizzola, 619.692.8677
Website: www.sdkhan.org

Risk factors Associated with 30 day Readmissions to Children's Hospital

This is a prospective observational research study done at Rady Children's Hospital of San Diego. The purpose of this study is to understand what factors influence why some children are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their initial admission. The project will explore race, culture, language, and elements of hospital care. The goal is to improve the quality of health care for hospitalized children by identifying high risk groups and finding modifiable factors.

Project Dates: 2010-2011
Principal Investigator: Joyce Yang, M.D.
Contact: jyang@rchsd.org; 858-966-5841

The Center for Community Health conducts educational research and programs in areas such as increasing the work-force diversity in the health professions, and providing advanced training for post-doctoral fellows in public health, education, nursing, and development-behavioral pediatrics.