The UCLA-USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities is a multidisciplinary center funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that will focus on reducing cardiovascular disease risk among Latinos in East Los Angeles, California. East L.A. is an urban community with high rates of obesity-related chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and stroke. East L.A. is over 96% Latino; 85% of whom have Mexican ancestry and the rest come mainly from Central America.
Our primary objective is to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in this under-served area. To accomplish this objective, we have three integrated, complementary projects, two cores, and a Training and Career Development Program. We will use a community-based participatory approach to implement family and neighborhood environment interventions, along with the collection of physiological data that will examine risk in individuals and across generations. The intervention components include several dimensions that affect health outcomes - personal & family factors, systems factors, and environmental factors.
Project 1 is an intensive home environment intervention involving families, of which one member is a high-risk case newly enrolled in a local diabetes care clinic. Project 2 will examine vascular function and cardiovascular disease risk biomarkers for individuals varying in generational and immigrant status, to increase the understanding of the basis for the Latino acculturation paradox in CVD risk. Project 3 will conduct make overs of comer stores to enable them to market and provide healthier food options, as well as enable them to serve as a venue for training community members about healthier food options and meal preparation strategies.
The center will also capitalize on the inclusion of both promotoras and youth public health advocates in intervention activities. The public health rookies will be adolescents recruited from a public high school in the community. The two cores provide administrative and research methods resources to the projects, and the Training and Career Development Program will provide resources and infrastructure to provide a pipeline for the public health rookies and will train and mentor graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty on the use of interdisciplinary, disparities-reduction research.