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Amelie Ramirez

I am director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. I have spent 30 years directing research on human and organizational communication to reduce chronic disease, cancer, and obesity health disparities affecting Latinos.


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Articles by Amelie Ramirez

Family Support Research: Head Start Centers as Resource Hubs


Latino health early childhood development head start

This is part of our Building Support for Latino Families: A Research Review » The Growth of Head Start Given the evidence to support the benefit of organized early childhood education, development of high-quality ECE centers that also promote engagement of Latino parents holds great promise for the future of Latino children. Many programs from the 1960s and on provide evidence for the effectiveness of incorporating parent-targeted elements within early childcare programs, and these family-based approaches form the basis for the two-generation model discussed later in this review. The first explicit family-based program was Head Start, which in 1965 declared the goal of providing low-income preschool children a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, ...

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Family Support Research: Policy Implications


Latin family sitting in the street

This is part of our Building Support for Latino Families: A Research Review » Conclusions More than one-third of Latino families live in poverty and two-thirds are low-income, and face limited access to high-quality education, community resources, and health care. Latino children excel in cognitive and social development measures when they participate in high-quality center-based early childhood education and public pre-K programs. Single-site ECE and infant care centers partnered with family resource centers offer the highest-impact outcomes for low-income Latino children and parents. Parent resources in two-generation programs must focus on services that aid parents in finding high quality jobs with family-supporting wages. Efforts to minimize the toxic stress associated ...

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Family Support Research: Latinos’ Big Healthcare Gaps


asthma doctor Latino boy

This is part of our Building Support for Latino Families: A Research Review » Latino Families Lack Access to Healthcare Due to high costs, Latinos are less likely to participate in insurance or retirement plans, even if offered by their employers.100 Although the percentage of Latinos with no health care coverage dropped from 26.2% to 15.1% from 2013 to 2016 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is still much higher than the percent drop among uninsured non-Latino white from 14.1% to 6.6% in that same span, according to a report.101 Latinos also continued to perform worse on most measures of access to and utilization of their health care than whites, often due to reasons like citizenship status, language, socioeconomic status, and a lack of awareness of the ACA's provisions, ...

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Family Support Research: Introduction and Methods


Latino family

This is part of our Building Support for Latino Families: A Research Review » Introduction Latinos are expected to comprise 32% of the U.S. population by 2050.1 As such, the strength and health of this country’s future workforce depends upon the investments made in Latino communities today. Currently, one-third of U.S. Latino families live in poverty and two-thirds are low-income, with limited access to high-quality education, community resources, and health care.2,3 Recent research has shown that social programs targeting adults as well as children result in the most effective long-term improvements in children’s academic success, health, and future economic stability.4 Thus whole-family support services that address the specific social, medical, and economic needs of ...

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Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review



Abstract Latino youth are far more likely than their peers to have mental health issues. These often go unaddressed and untreated. Why? Immigration, poverty, bullying, and other family and social factors can stress Latino youth. But there’s good news, too. Programs are emerging to reduce family, school, and community stress. These can positively impact mental health among this population. Promising policies, while few, also are emerging. Read the News Release (PDF) Read the Issue Brief (PDF) Explore success stories and find tools to take action! Contents Introduction & Methods. This Salud America! research review assesses available research about mental health and access to care among Latino youth. This review also examines programs and policies to tackle ...

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Mental Health Research: Future Research


mom teacher counselor girl depressed sad bully bullying

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Current research is lacking Latino youth suffer disproportionately from mental health issues compared to their peers. But there is a relative lack of research dedicated to interventions aimed at addressing the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems in this population. Family and community interventions are needed Immigration, acculturation, discrimination, and poverty-related stress have all been identified as issues that affect Latino youth, and these often overlap and interact in complicated ways. While physical activity-based interventions have been shown to have a positive effect on mental health among Latino children, family and community-based interventions are also necessary to confront ...

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Mental Health Research: Policy Implications


leaders should mental health programs latino kids

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Conclusions Latino children and adolescents are disproportionately affected by mental health problems compared to their peers, especially Latinas, who have the highest rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt of any group. The factors affecting the mental health of Latino youth are complex and include the immigration process, acculturation, poverty-related stress, bullying, and discrimination. Latino children are less likely to receive help for mental health problems, and their parents are less likely to recognize and seek help for their children’s mental health issues. The barriers to the receipt and use of mental health services among Latino children include cultural differences in the ...

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Mental Health Research: Latino Community and School Issues


latino kids face bullying at school

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Community stressors are linked to Latino kids' depression, etc. Garcia and Lindgren recruited 53 Latino adolescents and caretakers to participate in focus groups in which participants would discuss mental health stressors. There were two focus groups each for boys, girls, mothers, and fathers. The boys’ groups generally focused their discussions on racism and discrimination, particularly racial profiling. One of the boys’ groups consisted of adolescents recruited from a community center with a program for truants. They discussed stressors that were not identified in the non-truant group, including gang activity, violence, and substance abuse. In the girls’ groups, discrimination and immigration were ...

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Mental Health Research: Latino Family Issues


Latino child and parent communicatoon and suicide

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Cultural identify affects Latino youth self-esteem Umaña-Taylor and Updegraff used data from a longitudinal study on Latino adolescents’ ethnic identity to determine whether self-esteem, cultural orientation, and ethnic identity had a mediating or moderating effect on the relationship between discrimination and depression. The study included 273 Latino adolescents, 84 percent of whom identified as Mexican-American, and 72 percent of whom were born in the U.S. Participants completed a questionnaire that included questions related to self-esteem, depressive symptoms, cultural orientation, ethnic identity, and perceived discrimination. Acculturation, the process by which recent immigrants adopt cultural ...

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