Meet Salud America! Grantee Javier Rosado
Javier Rosado knew he wanted to help people.
He just didn't know how to match that interest to a field of study.
The University of South Florida undergrad sought help at the school's Career Center. There and with help from his scholarship mentors, he explored his values, interests and skills, got interested in behavioral health, got a degree in interdisciplinary social sciences and earned a doctorate in counseling psychology at Florida State University.
When he started work at a rural pediatric clinic and observed shockingly high obesity rates among Latino kids, he knew he'd found the right way to help.
"I quickly noticed there were significant barriers to addressing the problem. Latino parents had their children's best interests at heart but lacked information and resources," said Rosado, who now coordinates clinical behavioral health services at that clinic in Immokalee, Fla., which serves primarily Latino migrant workers. "I knew it was my responsibility to contribute to coming up with solutions for this problem."
Rosado is one of 20 pilot researchers funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through Salud America! for $75,000 over two years.
With his work based in Immokalee and Quincy, Fla., Rosado is looking at ways rural clinics and school health programs inform Latino parents about their children's weight.
"The long-term goal is to change the policies of these clinics," he said. "We think BMI (body mass index) will be the most helpful tool to explain children's weight to families. We're hoping to show the clinics how they can use BMI information to improve their patients' care."
Following children's routine medical checkups, parents will be asked about:
- Ideal body size and male/female weight differences;
- The way the clinic or schools deliver weight-related information;
- Whether the parents fully understand their child's health situation; and
- What parents think they need to combat obesity-related issues
In addition to the interviews in Immokalee, Rosado's study will gather information from parents of Latino children in Quincy, where a separate obesity study is under way.
After those children receive BMI screenings at school, their parents receive a letter explaining the results. Rosado and his colleagues will interview those parents on the letter's content and learn what change, if any, they made in response to the letter's BMI report.
"We want to see how parents react to a BMI report and how information could be most effectively presented," he said. "The results could help other communities do the same."
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