U of A professors receive grant to research Hispanic health paradox

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The “Hispanic health paradox” refers to the longer life expectancy and better health outcomes that some hispanic and latino patients can have despite facing greater social and economic risks. Two psychology professors at U of A received a grant to study this paradox. One of those professors, Dr. John Ruiz, discussed his research with Horizonte’s José Cardenas. The main question of this research is not if the health paradox exists, but why it exists and what are the factors that contribute to this paradox.

“About 2012-13 pretty convincing evidence came forth in fact that this was a real phenomena, and we’re not talking about small differences we’re talking about quite significant large differences. The Hispanic community in the United States is often living 2-3.5 years longer than other populations,” Ruiz said.

This paradox is fully recognized by the CDC as a real phenomena.

The research will investigate different aspects of Latino/Hispanic culture that may contribute to this health paradox and the difference in health outcomes.

“The first hypothesis many people have is that there is something about latino culture itself that is really driving this. Many folks are familiar with movies like Coco for example that came out a few years ago and really emphasized the importance of family at the individual level and across the lifespan,”

Ruiz added that as latino citizens grow older they tend to become more important in the family circle, and receive care givers and proper healthcare which could potentially contribute to longer lifespans.

The focus of this study in particular will focus on lung cancer patients, due to the high number of people who have it and the fact that it has the highest rate of cancer deaths.

John Ruiz, Ph.D/Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology, UArizona

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