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Center Creates Opportunities for Faculty, Students and the Community

The Latino Community Health Team

Ten years ago the CSULB/NCLR Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation and Leadership Training opened its doors, unveiling new offices in the Foundation Building before a group of political, health and campus officials.

Since then, the Center has earned national and international recognition for its programs that have positively impacted Latino communities not only in Long Beach and Southern California, but throughout the United States and Mexico. The Center focuses on improving, promoting and advocating for the health, culture and well-being of diverse Latino/Hispanic communities, while providing research and community service opportunities to faculty and students.

“The need for this Latino center developed from a long-standing relationship between faculty at Cal State Long Beach and the leadership of the Institute for Hispanic Health at the National Council of La Raza,” said founding director Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis.

“Through our day-to-day efforts, the Center embodies the CSULB mission by providing students community-based participatory research and engaged learning experiences that serve the local community as well as building scholarship,” noted director Dr. Mara Bird.

Expanding into the Community

In 2013, the Center expanded into the heart of Long Beach. Centro Salud es Cultura, located on 12th and Pine Avenue in a densely populated, Latino-dominant, high need area of Long Beach, provides a home for community-based participatory research (CBPR) interventions as well as student training in community-based research.

Health education, tutoring and Zumba classes are offered weekly, and a unique Noche Cultural celebrates Latino heritage and culture each month. View the calendar for a complete schedule of events.

Collaborations with CSULB faculty, students and community-based organizations are welcomed and encouraged.

The Latino Community Health Team

The Center has created a short-term study abroad class in the Yucatán peninsula thanks to a grant from the Partners of the Americas 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation fund. This course is open to undergraduates as HSC 420 or graduates as HSC 590. Dates for Summer 2015 are June 22-July 3.

Four partial scholarships are available through this grant, as are other CSULB scholarships. Students can apply for both the course and the scholarships through the Study Abroad office.

Creating Healthy Communities

The Center's research and community programs in HIV/AIDS, obesity prevention, substance abuse prevention, maternal and child health, nutrition education, student academic achievement, and advocacy working with promotores de salud (community health workers) represent its commitment to engage various audiences in a dialogue that empowers people to take action in creating healthy communities for all.

Two certificate obtainees take a photo with Center Director, Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis

The following active research programs at the Center and Centro offer opportunities for students and faculty.

Preventing Childhood Obesity

Known in the community as "Sanos y Fuertes," the Transdisciplinary Graduate Education Program to Prevent Latino Childhood Obesity has three goals:

  1. Provide 35 graduate fellowship opportunities that will prepare students for careers that lead to improvements in health and nutrition in efforts to reduce obesity among Latinos. Applications for the next cohort of multidisciplinary graduate fellows are due April 20.
  2. Institutionalize a six-course graduate level Latino Health and Nutrition Studies certificate program at CSULB that can serve as a national model to institutionalize culturally-relevant curriculum to improve the health and nutrition issues facing Latino populations. The Latino Health and Nutrition Studies Certificate program is open to any graduate student at CSULB. Applications for the Latino Health and Nutrition Studies Certificate are available through the Center’s website.
  3. Develop a culturally and linguistically relevant Sanos y Fuertes CBPR childhood obesity prevention intervention to be administered to 375 Latino families with children ages 2-8.

The project is funded through a five-year grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Food and Nutrition.

Addressing Substance Abuse and Disease Prevention

ˇSalud a la Vida! Cheers to Life! is an alcohol/substance abuse, HIV, Hepatitis C prevention (HVC) project funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This project aims to build capacity on the CSULB campus and within the Long Beach community to deliver effective integrated HIV/HVC and alcohol and substance abuse interventions targeting Latino young adults 18-24.

The goal is to develop an intervention strategy and plan that addresses the specific needs of Latino young adults and Long Beach young adults in general. Together with Bienestar, the Center staff will work to reduce HIV/HVC risk and alcohol and substance abuse among Latino young adults, and expand the evidence base of effective culturally and linguistically relevant integrated prevention interventions. Each year graduate research fellowships will be available to link students to this research.

Research Training and Tutoring

The Hispanic Health Opportunity Learning Alliance (H2OLA), funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, is a collaborative effort led by the Center and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

H2OLA provides health disparities research training and tutoring in biomedical fields to Latino undergraduate students during their sophomore and junior years, widening the pool of minority applicants for advanced degrees. H2OLA provides 140 Latino undergraduate students and 30 minority graduate students with educational, mentoring and career development opportunities designed to facilitate careers in health disparities research.

There are limited undergraduate positions available for Spring 2015. Recruitment is open for both graduate and undergraduate students for Fall 2016.

This project also brings top researchers to CSULB for the Latino Health Equity Conference to discuss Latino health issues. Registration for the April 17 conference, “Del Poder al Saber: From Knowledge to Action,” is now open. Student abstracts are due March 6. Conversations regarding presentations during a Center for Latino Community Health event

Producing More Scientists and Engineers

The five-year Title III Hispanic Serving Institution Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (HSI-STEM) Program aims to increase the number of under-represented Latino students attaining highly valued degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Free tutoring services in these subjects are available to all by Promotores de STEM. Research programs and events open to families and communities are also part of this program. Additional information and applications for these services can be found on the HSI-STEM website.

The project is funded by the United States Department of Education and is a collaboration between the Center and the Colleges of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Engineering.

Health and Health Disparities Research

CSULB's Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) Project is a university-wide effort to promote and involve faculty and students in minority health and health disparities research. The CSULB Center for Health Equity Research was founded thanks to this grant and is the administrative home of these efforts.

Through the Center, RIMI provides mentorship, training and research experience for graduate students to increase their interest and readiness for doctoral-level health disparities research. Ongoing research skills trainings are offered monthly to all CSULB graduate students. In addition, a research course entitled "Health Equity and Health Disparities Research in the U.S." is taught every semester.

The RIMI project is funded by a five-year grant awarded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and its RIMI Program.

Center for Latino Community Health | Research @ the Beach | Faculty Research