As the largest ethnic minority group in the United States, numbering nearly 58 million, Latinxs are the principal driver of demographic growth, accounting for half of the national population growth since 2000. The U.S. Latinx population continues to not only grow but diversify. While Mexicans remain the largest U.S. Latinx immigrant group, shifts in immigration patterns over the past decade indicate steep increases in Latinx immigrants of Caribbean and Central and South American origin arriving in the U.S.
Health disparities (e.g., alcohol liver disease, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and mental health) impact Latinxs in the U.S. These disparities are influenced by sociodemographic, behavioral, social, and societal factors including language and cultural barriers, lack of access to health care, and structural discrimination. To tackle these issues, researchers must first identify the mechanisms influencing health disparities and explore multilevel interventions to address them. There also remains a salient need to increase the number of Latinxs and other ethnic/racial minority investigators pursuing careers in biomedical and behavioral research.
The Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) at Florida International University (FIU) is at the forefront of these efforts with an overarching goal to prevent and eliminate health disparities affecting Latino communities in Miami-Dade County, Florida. This work centers around conducting community-based research and establishing community engagement strategies and partnerships to build a long-term, sustainable presence in vulnerable and marginalized Latinx communities, including immigrants and farmworkers. CRUSADA has also funded and trained nearly 60 health disparity professionals at the faculty, postdoctoral, and predoctoral levels. Most recently, CRUSADA is home to FIU’s Health Disparities Initiative, funded through an endowment by National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).
Read and learn more on NIMHD.com.