178661 Con un pie en dos islas: Cultural Bridges Informing Sexual and Reproductive Health between the Dominican Republic and New York City

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Haydée Morales, MA , Education and Training Department, Planned Parenthood of New York City, New York, NY
Vicki Breitbart, MSW, EdD , Dept of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Planned Parenthood New York City, New York, NY
Jaweer Brown, MPH , Margaret Sanger Center International, Planned Parenthood of NYC, New York, NY
Problem: Movement across borders is complex- even when bodies do not move back and forth information, beliefs, and resources do. In this study, we looked at the dynamic interplay of trans-nationalism, gender, economic (in)dependence and how the reproductive lives of Dominican women are played out across and beyond national borders.

Methods: Drawing on a grounded theory methodology, we conducted qualitative focus-group discussions with Dominican women living in Santo Domingo and in New York City. Discussions were transcribed, translated and analyzed for key recurrent themes. This iterative process continually compared the theories that emerged from the primary data to the opinions of community leaders, existing theories and data in the field.

Results: Women in the DR and the US described a hesitation to access health care services, depending instead on self-medication, (via herbal treatments and/or medications from pharmacies, like Cytotec for abortions), advice from community and family members, and the transfer of medications and packages between the two countries. Surprising, however, was a sense of resignation to gender inequity and endemic levels of intimate partner violence that prohibit women's ability to introduce condoms, exacerbate economic dependency on men, and limit the use of contraceptive methods.

Conclusions: Reproductive health needs of Latinas, and more specifically Dominican women, are diverse. These results point to the need for subsequent programs to address the influence of transnational reproductive health movements, to incorporate women's social networks into their reproductive services and to sensitize providers to the particular vulnerabilities of survivors of violence.

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: · Discuss the cultural framework and language of sexual and reproductive health that is specific to Dominican women · Understand how community incorporation, poverty and the lack of economic opportunities affect the exchange of sexual favors as a way to ensure access to housing, food and financial security. · Identify strategies to more effectively engage Dominican women with sexual and reproductive health messages

Keywords: Reproductive Health, Immigrant Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a contributing author to the analysis and final report of the research data
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.