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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Culturally tailored research methods for Latino populations: Lessons learned from health literacy focus groups

Maribel Robledo, BA1, Samaria Roberts-Perez, BA2, Melanie Sarabia, BA, BCH3, Barbara Sharf, PhD2, Lee Green, PhD4, and Dhananjaya Arekere, PhD4. (1) Center for the Study of Health Disparities, Texas A&M University, 4222 TAMU, 609 Harrington Tower, College Station, TX 77843-4222, 979-862-2964, maribel@hlkn.tamu.edu, (2) Department of Communication, Texas A&M University, 4234 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4234, (3) School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, University Drive and Adriance Lab Road, College Station, TX 77843-1266, (4) Center for the Study of Health Disparities, Texas A&M Univeristy, 4222 TAMU, 112 Harrington Tower, College Station, TX 77845

Health educators (HEs) routinely seek culturally tailored interventions to better serve the increasingly diverse U.S. population. Research in health education is, however, still in its infancy in terms of fully recognizing and utilizing culturally appropriate research methods. Because of several constraints, HEs continue to apply methods and instruments developed for Whites to other racial and ethnic minority populations. The appropriateness of the recruitment strategies and research instruments utilized, and the accuracy and validity of data interpretation of subpopulations that differ substantially, especially the culturally and linguistically diverse Latino population, are suspect at best and inaccurate at worst. In 2005, researchers at a health disparities center employed novel methodologies when designing and organizing focus groups for Latinos with diabetes at a community health center. This presentation will present findings from those experiences in a comparative framework of existing literature. The recruitment strategies employed, focus group processes, and several challenges addressed during instrument development will be discussed. The results show that personal contact by telephone and face-to-face invitations at the clinic were more successful than impersonal invitation letters, directly translated from English to Spanish, in recruitment. Also, a focus group instrument in English that went through an iterative translation process into Spanish, improved responses and data collection. At a time when increasing minority representation in research studies and cultural competency are prominent in research processes and evidence-based decision- and policy-making, this presentation provides much needed insights into developing and implementing culturally appropriate methodologies to accurately generate data descriptive of Latino populations.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

    Keywords: Methodology, Minority Research

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    Not Answered

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