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Student Research Focuses on Latino Health Issues

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Over the past year, several students have been working with Dr. Veronica Acosta-Deprez (Health Science) and Dr. Erlyana Erlyana (Health Care Administration) on research that focuses on a wide range of Latino health issues.

Students Kristine Diaz, Samantha Kelly and Ramon Mejia from Health Science, Genesis Gutierrez and Dan Ta from Health Care Administration and Jesus Plascencia from Human Development submitted six abstracts to conferences such as the American Public Health Association (APHA) Conference, the Continuums of Service Conference and the Latino Health Equity Conference. All abstracts have been accepted and presented as posters or oral presentations except for those submitted for the APHA conference. They are pending approval.

The research studies dealt with topics such as noise pollution and its effects on cardiovascular disease, depression and mental health of Latino populations, best practices on service learning integration in a global health course, health seeking behaviors of children of migrant families, and factors influencing health seeking behaviors of internet users, among a few. Read highlights of some of their research:

  • "Noise Pollution and Depression Among Blue Collar Latinos: Implications for Educating and Aiding Vulnerable Populations" Gutierrez, G., Kelley, S., Mejia, J.R., Plascencia J., Erlyana, E. Ph.D., Acosta-Deprez, V. Ph.D.

    The research study evaluated the association between occupational noise pollution and depression among blue collar Latinos using NHANES 2011-2012 dataset. Results from the ordered LOGIT analysis indicated that there was no association between chronic exposure to noise at work and depression among Latinos. However, there was an association between chronic exposure to noise outside of work and moderate to severe depression.

  • "Determinants of Risky Sexual Behaviors Among Young Latino Students 9th-12th Grade" Mejia, J.R., Ta, D., Plascencia J., Gutierrez, G., Erlyana, E. Ph.D., Acosta-Deprez, V. Ph.D.

    The study explored whether Latino students who engaged in other risky behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, were more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors. Results indicated that male students in lower grade levels were most likely to engage in high-risk sexual behavior and that students who had been victimized were more likely to engage in risk sexual behaviors.

  • "Mental Illness and Health Seeking Behaviors in the Latino Population" Plascencia, J., Diaz, K., Gutierrez, G., Mejia, J.R., Erlyana, E. Ph.D., Acosta-Deprez, V. Ph.D.

    The study examined the mental health-seeking behaviors of Latinos using data from the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) 2002-2003. Results indicated that seven factors were significantly associated with mental health seeking behaviors: mental health rating, gender, frequency of working hours per week, education, income, marijuana use, and religious preference. Latinos who do not receive mental health treatment work more hours per week on average than those who do receive treatment, suggesting that lack of time may be a barrier keeping Latinos from seeking mental health treatment. It also found that Mexican Americans are the least likely to receive treatment.

  • "In Our Own Backyard: Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Global Health Undergraduate Courses" Acosta-Deprez, V. Ph.D., Erlyana, E. Ph.D., Calacsan, J., Kelly, S., Gutierrez, G.

    This presentation described an interdisciplinary, community-based model of service-learning that helped students connect local wisdom with global knowledge and explore ways of participating in the global society through an interdisciplinary teaching collaboration between faculty from the Departments of Health Science and Health Care Administration.


Research @ the Beach | Student Research