Saturday, June 20, 2009
Latino Health: Research Looks for Answers
SDSU researchers have partnered in a longitudinal study of Latino health to provide insight into the prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Graduate School of Public Health Professor Greg Talavera (pictured center).
Researchers at San Diego State's Center for Behavioral and Community Health Studies are partners in a national project to study Latino Health. The six-year National Hispanic Community Health Study, known as Project SOL, is now recruiting 4,000 Latino participants from San Diego's South Bay region.
It is funded by an $11.3-million contract from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. SDSU's team of researchers, including Graduate School of Public Health professors Gregory Talavera and John Elder, will work with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the San Ysidro Health Center.
Significant size and scope
Talavera said the size and scope of the study is exciting. Researchers hope to provide insight into the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease, asthma and other lung disorders in the Latino population.
"This integrated national study entirely focused on Latino health will answer some critical questions for the nation's largest and fastest growing ethnic minority," Talavera said.
Recruitment and data collection
SDSU is now soliciting participants through various methods in order to secure a diverse sample with a range of educational backgrounds, socioeconomic status and current health, with a slight bias toward older participants.
Each participant will undergo a medical examination and complete surveys of habits and attitudes. They will also provide annual reports on subsequent health status and cardiovascular events, thereby creating data on the incidence of cardiovascular events over time. According to the NHLBI, the Latino population is experiencing an increase in obesity, a higher risk of diabetes and changes in social and behavioral habits that may put them at risk for many major chronic diseases.
Students assist in research
Talavera is proud that San Diego State students comprise half of the field center's staff."Not only is it incredibly rewarding to provide a perfect laboratory to understand Latino health, but this study will also provide hands-on training for undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and post-doctoral students interested in public health."