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Research

At the UCLA Blum Center, our goal is to promote a research program on health and poverty using an interdisciplinary action-oriented approach.

We harness innovation in research methodology. We collaborate with researchers across borders, across the country, across the state, and across town. We engage community members, leaders, and other policymakers to acquire new knowledge and gain insights related to factors that affect the health of Latin American populations.

Ultimately, we envision our research as inspirational, groundbreaking, evidence-based tools needed for program development and implementation, clinical practice improvements and policy reform.

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Research Underway
Advisory Roles and Memorandum of Understanding for International Research
Recently Completed Research Efforts

 

Research Underway


 

The CBRE Shared Advantage Project

The UCLA Blum Center is conducting research on the built environment and healthy communities to inform a recent initiative of CBRE titled CBRE Shared Advantage.

CBRE has collaborated with UCLA on this research project to identify best practices and understand the associations between the built environment and the health of communities. This research will inform strategies and activities of CBRE Shared Advantage. This project aims to identify published research linking the built environment to the health of communities, as well as current commercial real estate approaches to promote community health and wellness through operations including design, procurement, finance, and asset management.

Next Steps:

We continue to work towards the project deliverables that will inform CBRE Shared Advantage. A manuscript will be completed, and data collection and analyses will resume to ultimately support a report on commercial real estate approaches that improve community health.

The AltaMed Institute for Health Equity

Through this collaborative effort with AltaMed, faculty and staff at UCLA will direct and implement a series of activities designed to incorporate a learning health care system throughout AltaMed clinical and operational lines. When these activities have been implemented, the AltaMed Institute for Health Equity will become institutionalized as an entity that promotes and supports an effective approach for delivering health care that results in improved patient outcomes at sustainable cost rates.

Next Steps:

Work toward the official launch of AIHE will continue. Staff will be hired; office space confirmed and setup; work plan developed and work begun to provide rapid response, prioritization, and evaluation and assessment of innovations.

A Binational Network for Research, Implementation, and Evaluation of Youth Violence Prevention in Mexico and in California: Making Large-Scale Change to Prevent Youth Violence across Borders

The overarching aim of this project is to reduce youth violence in México and California. Together with colleagues from the Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria Ramon de la Fuente Muniz (Mexico), we will work toward this aim on many levels: through research (to identify underlying causes, risk, and protective factors) that will inform the subsequent design, development, implementation and evaluation of multi-level interventions addressing cross-cutting issues including migration, gender, and other special vulnerabilities and conditions. Through a binational network, we will launch an inaugural six interventions that seek to modify the environment (e.g., create safe meeting places), strengthen community ties, promote activities directed at the use of leisure time and incorporate other protective factors to prevent youth from engaging in violent or illegal activities. Inaugural interventions of this research network include:

  • Social Cohesion and Reduction of Youth Violence: A Community Intervention
  • PUERTAS, University Project for Healthy Students
  • Violence Perpetrated through Involuntary Drug Treatment among People who Inject Drugs in Tijuana, Mexico
  • Treatment of Aggressive and/or Dissocial Behavior in First Offenders with Psychiatric Disorders
  • Futuros, Youth-led Community Mobilization and Educational Savings to Reduce Partner Violence among Adolescents
  • Homeboy Industries

Status: Seeking funding. For proposal and more information, please contact our Center Coordinator at jbarnette(at)mednet(dot)ucla(dot)edu

 

Health Information Seeking Behavior and Proper Knowledge of Condom and Oral Contraceptive Use among Poor Adolescents in Costa Rica

Manuscript submitted to the Journal on International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Explores factors that influence knowledge of proper contraceptive use among 919 adolescents living in the poorest areas of Costa Rica. In review.

 

Call to Action: Restorative Justice for Guatemalan Victims, Reform the Common Rule to Prevent Shameful Atrocities

Invited Opinion Editorial for the American Journal of Public Health. In press.

 

Advisory Roles and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for International Research


The UCLA Blum Center has forged rich relationships with several Latin American institutions and researchers to expand its reach and impact throughout populations and communities in Latin America. In addition to institutions hosting our summer scholars, we work with these entities in various research capacities:

 

International Centre for Health Equity (ICHE)

The Center is a consortium member supporting the development of the emerging ICHE. The Institute, to be headquartered in Costa Rica, aims to promote research excellence, participatory analysis and strategic programming to influence values, lifestyles and policies at global, national, local and individual levels.

 

Social Cohesion in Mexico

The Center serves as a research advisor to Social Cohesion Laboratory II, funded by the European Union, and implemented by the Mexican government in Oaxaca and San Luis Potosi.

 

Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE, Mexico)

MOU with CIDE and visiting scholar David Mayer-Foulkes, PhD; during his sabbatical at the UCLA Blum Center, Dr. Mayer-Foulkes authored a book, Development and Underdevelopment in Globalization. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/404315/Development_and_Underdevelopment_ In_the_Globalizing_Economy.

 

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua (UNAN)

MOU with Dean of Medical Sciences Alberto Meynard Mejia, MD to encourage student and faculty exchanges in opportunities. for training, research and education.

 

COMISCA. Consejo de Ministros de Salud de Centroamerica y Republica Dominicana.

 

Recently Completed Research Efforts


 

Family and Community Health, Immigrant Health Issue, Jan – March 2016

Guest editors for this issue are Center Director Rodriguez and Center Steering Committee member Steven P. Wallace, PhD (professor and chair, Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health). The issue features seven original reports on health status, health care, and determinants of health for immigrants to the United States. Access full issue.

 

Evidence-Based Interventions Focused on Youth Risk Factors: A Global Systematic Review to Identify Effective Programs Addressing Pregnancy, Violence, Youth Idleness and Substance Use Among Teens, May 2016

This report presents findings from a systematic literature review to help decision makers, program planners, and evaluators identify evidence-based youth programs. In developing this report, we had two objectives:

  1. To identify theory-based interventions that have been implemented and have proven effective in Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and other countries in Latin America – Caribbean (LAC) for reducing four youth risks: teen pregnancy and sexual and reproductive health (SRH), violence, youth idleness (because of dropping out of school and being unemployed), and substance use
  2. To identify successful theory-based interventions that may be appropriate for replication to reduce the previously described four youth risks in Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.

This report also includes a chapter describing key theories, frameworks, and strategies that have been used in youth programs, and a chapter that presents an overview of the policies and laws in the LAC region that promote healthy youth behavior. We end the report with a discussion of the main implications of the literature review and offer recommendations to advance the implementation and evaluation of theory-based interventions to improve youth health in the LAC region. View or download complete report.

 

 

Operationalizing Social Cohesion in Latin America: Implications for the United States, December 2015

In partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we have explored how social cohesion can be implemented to tackle inequities and, in turn, improve health and outcomes for all populations within a community. This research examined efforts underway in Latin America and Europe to inform practices that may be implemented in the United States. Our results are informing the RWJF Culture of Health Initiative designed to foster optimum health through US regions, cities, and neighborhoods.

Download or read the full report.

Other materials produced from this research: Social Cohesion – Its Role in Health Promotion and Health Policy:

  • Abstract presented at the American Public Health Association meeting, November 2016.
  • Powerpoint Presentation presented during panel session at the APHA annual meeting, November 2016

Operationalization of Social Cohesion: Interventions in Latin America and Europe, presented at the CUGH Annual Conference, April 2016

 

 

Investigative Research to Inform the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health: White Papers, September 2014

Using health equity data to inform policy, programming and actions within a culture of health framework, this research provides evidence on approaches to inform the RWJF culture of health action model. Effective multi-sector collaborations, shared values of health and social cohesion considerations are explored.

 

First, Do No Harm: The US Sexually Transmitted Disease Experiment in Guatemala, October 2013

This commentary published in American Journal of Public Health (2013;103(12):2122-2126) explores backdrop for the unethical medical research and violation of human rights related to the immoral, unethical and arguably illegal research experiments involving more than 5000 non-consenting Guatemalan people.