Current Research

Latino Employees at UMD: Assessing their Health Needs to Promote Health and Well-Being (2016-2017).

In the U.S., chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disabilities. Racial/ethnic health disparities are prevalent particularly among Latino populations who bear a disproportionate burden of chronic diseases and disability when compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Given the size and rapid growth of this population, identifying key modifiable risk factors is critical to aid in chronic disease prevention efforts. The goal of this study is to assess Latino employee health needs and concerns, health behaviors/attitudes, and environmental/occupational exposures, to identify barriers and facilitators of chronic disease prevention and inform health promotion programs in worksite settings.

This study will use a sequential mixed methods design to assess the health needs of the Latino workforce in a university environment. The sequential mixed methods design includes a qualitative component (3-4 focus groups), which will inform a quantitative component (survey). Additionally, we will conduct location-based analyses of survey responses using geospatial information technology (GIS), including geospatial barriers analysis (e.g., assess the degree to which distance might be a barrier to workers seeking care). Our study population consists of self-identified Latino UMD employees in the following occupational categories: Facilities Management; Dining Facilities; and Residential Facilities. The research will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in social and behavioral sciences (Dr. Mary Garza: PI); environmental and occupational health sciences (Dr. Lesliam Quirós-Alcalá: PI); geographic information science (Dr. Kathleen Stewart: Co-I); and medical sociology (Dr. Ruth Zambrana: Co-I). This project is a UMD Tier-1 Seed Grant.

Diversify the Faculty, Transform the Institution: Learning from the Work-Life Experiences of African American, Latina/o and Native American Faculty (2014-2016).

Diverse college faculty play an integral role in advancing new knowledge and fostering pluralistic perspectives among young change agents that will advance equity in a diverse and global society. While greater numbers of underrepresented minority (URM) students are filling college and university classrooms, URM faculty representation lags far behind. African American/Blacks, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Native/Indian Americans have been historically underrepresented in the academy, relative to their proportion in the general U.S. population, and remain so today. The overall aims of this project are three: to synthesize and produce valid and meaningful evidenced-based information on higher education practices in consultation with a strategic advisory committee to expand the bench and enrich diversity in academia and to produce timely translation of these data into higher education work force policies; (2) to conduct a retreat with early career scholars who conduct scholarly work in Annie E. Casey Foundation program areas. A competitive process will be used. Senior scholars will be present to transmit lessons learned from the data on key workplace strategies necessary to navigate the academic terrain for successful tenured careers; and (3) to convene three national consultative sessions of key higher education administrative personnel and stakeholders to disseminate the information to inform their current policies and practices so as to contribute to the recruitment and retention of (URM) faculty.

Developing a National Latina Wealth Report Card: Implications for Tax Policy and Asset Growth (2015-2016).

Principal Investigator Dr. Ruth E. Zambrana, director of CRGE, received a one-year exploratory grant in partnership with The New Economics for Women (NEW); Bea Stotzer, founding director, to plan, coordinate and conduct a pilot study on the growth of Latina entrepreneurs in the United States. The research is being conducted in preparation for a national mixed methods study (surveys and interviews/focus groups). The goals of the study are to examine the economic drivers of entrepreneurial activity in major urban areas of Latino concentration to increase our understanding of how these processes of entrepreneurship contribute to economic stability, social mobility and family well-being across the life course. Data will be collected in six states – California, New Mexico, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and New York- to capture the heterogeneity of Hispanic subgroup entrepreneurial activity.

The study will be executed in three stages: 1) research in the form of data collection, 2) practice in the form of development of financial literacy products for Latino families and communities, and 3) policy in the form of tax policy incentives to promote and stimulate small business activity in Latino neighborhoods. This effort is an interdisciplinary, collaborative study that will convene three expert thought leaders meetings at each stage to include representatives from national entrepreneurial organizations, banking industry, corporate, legislators, philanthropy, survey methodologists, sociologists, technology experts and small business owners. The long range goals are to create partnerships with leaders in national organization to create a National Latina Wealth Index to monitor the growth of entrepreneurial activity and the financial well-being of Latino communities.

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