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Developing Research and Community Literacies to Recruit Latino Researchers and Practitioners to Address Health Disparities

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Engaging community residents and undergraduate Latino students in developing research and community literacies can expose both groups to resources needed to address health disparities. The bidirectional learning process described in this article developed these literacies through an ethnographic mapping fieldwork activity that used a learning-by-doing method in combination with reflection on the research experience. The active efforts of research team members to promote reflection on the research activities were integral for developing research and community literacies. Our findings suggest that, through participating in this field research activity, undergraduate students and community residents developed a better understanding of resources for addressing health disparities. Our research approach assisted community residents and undergraduate students by demystifying research, translating scientific and community knowledge, providing exposure to multiple literacies, and generating increased awareness of research as a tool for change among community residents and their organizations. The commitment of the community and university leadership to this pedagogical method can bring out the full potential of mentoring, both to contribute to the development of the next generation of Latino researchers and to assist community members in their efforts to address health disparities.

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  1. Existing literature interchangeably uses the terms Latino and Hispanic. As Table 1 illustrates, there is no consensus among people from Latin American countries who presently reside in the United States as how to identify themselves. For the purposes of this research, we use the term Latino to describe the characteristics of our research team.


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This research was funded by a 5-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) P60 award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) #P60MD006912. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the PRCC Research Team members Marilu Medina, Tamara Medina, Emanuel Pumarejo, Yanitza Rivera, Luis Angel Melendez, and Melissa Ramos, and undergraduate students Sophia Grim, Eriliza Guerrero, Ruth Medina, Aida Palencia, and Beninson Peña whose fieldwork made this project a success.

Conflict of Interest

Authors Phillip Granberry, Idalí Torres, Jeroan Allison, Milagros Rosal, Sarah Rustan, Melissa Colon, Ivette Cruz, and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center Research team declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This research was reviewed and approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board, Assurance #FWA00004634. All procedures involving human participants performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

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Correspondence to Phillip J. Granberry.

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Granberry, P.J., Torres, M.I., Allison, J.J. et al. Developing Research and Community Literacies to Recruit Latino Researchers and Practitioners to Address Health Disparities. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 3, 138–144 (2016).

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