230279 Reproductive health perspectives and experiences of Mexican-origin women in Texas

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Liza Fuentes, MPH , Research Department, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, New York, NY
Debora Upegui-Hernandez, PhD , Research, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, New York, NY
The Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) in the border region of Texas is 90% Latino; however, national level data is not adequate to describe the reproductive health disparities Latinas there face. The LRGV has a shortage of medical providers, an unemployment rate of 11 to 18%, and a per capita income less than a quarter the national figure. A key resource is the diverse network of promotora de salud that serve the region. Few studies have analyzed LRGV Latinas' experiences with reproductive health and correlated services. Similarly, there are few qualitative studies with mixed immigration status, low-income Latinas, and none with women from the LRGV. Given the socioeconomic challenges faced by LRGV residents, and the dearth of research on the reproductive health of Latinas from this region, a focus group study makes a significant contribution to researchers', policymakers' and program planners' understanding of LRGV Latinas' reproductive health. The purpose of this study was to understand the reproductive health experiences and perspectives of LRGV Latinas. Six 1-hour focus groups with Latina residents of colonias were conducted using an interview guide with open-ended questions and one set of scenario-based questions. Participants were recruited by local promotoras with pre-existing relationships in LRGV colonias. The results include the barriers and facilitators that immigration status, health insurance status, and safety-net program processes pose on obtaining reproductive health services, and women's strategies and experiences dealing with them. These findings can inform program planning and policy advocacy efforts to improve reproductive health care utilization by rural Latinas.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how immigration status impacts Latinas’ access to reproductive health services. 2. Identify the consequences and alternatives of being unable to obtain reproductive health services. 3. Identify key public policies that exacerbate or mitigate these barriers for Latinas.

Keywords: Rural Health, Immigrant Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I led design, conduct and data analysis of the study being presented.
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.