Grant for ASU Center on Minority Health

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A $7 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health funds a specialized research center to improve the health of minority populations.

Learn more about the grant from Flavio Marsiglia, principal investigator of a new specialized Center of Excellence at ASU and Regents’ Professor at the ASU School of Social Work. He is also the director of the Global Center for Applied Health Research.

ºº Find out about a grant for specialized research to improve the health of minority populations. We'll have an update on the different dream act legislation being discussed and, Arizona’s oldest catholic high school celebrates its centennial year. All this coming up straight ahead on Horizonte.

"Horizonte" is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS, members of your PBS station. Thank you.

A 7 million dollar grant from the national institute on minority health and health disparities of the national institutes of health, will fund a center of excellence at a-s-u to focus on minority health issues. Joining me now is Flavio Marsiglia, regents' professor at the a-s-u school of social work and director of global center for applied health research. He is also the principal investigator of the new a-s-u center of excellence. Professor, welcome back to "Horizonte." great new project. Tell us what the funding means and how it is going to be applied?

Flavio Marsiglia: This a competitive grant. You know? We had to apply almost a year ago and go through all this review process and we competed with all other universities and only six universities in the country got the grant and that is to work with ethnic minority groups around the nation. It is mostly Latino, Mexican American and urban Indian communities to improve the health of youth and their parents.

Jose A. Cardenas: I understand there will be two or three areas of focus.

Flavio Marsiglia: One area is substance abuse prevention with young people. We work mostly with kids in junior high. That is the best age to intervene for prevention between 12-14 years old and their parents. And then nutrition. Anything related to the way we eat and avoiding certain foods. Most of our work is prevention.

Jose A. Cardenas: I understand there will be three private projects a year for the next five years?

Flavio Marsiglia: Correct. We have two main studies that will last five years. Then smaller. We call it like incubator projects and people from asu were able to apply for those dollars and start their own line of research.

Jose A. Cardenas: One of the articles I read about this program quoted you as saying something along the lines of cultural beliefs have an impact on the biological components of health and what people think is a cure and what people think is an illness.

Flavio Marsiglia: Until this grant we were only working on the social side of things. This grant asked us to work on the biology and social and cultural part. We are trying to get more information of how those things are related. You cannot separate the social, the cultural, and the biological. They connect. And what we are trying to demonstrate is our beliefs about what is illness, what is good health, how can we get cured, access to health care, formal health care. As you know, the phenomenon of healers in the community may be a resource people use because they believe in that and sometimes that doesn't mean they will only use healers they may use also the regular doctor and combine it.

Jose A. Cardenas: Folk medicine practices actually work?

Flavio Marsiglia: Exactly. There is a lot of research about that that we didn't have before. Somehow some of our, you know, even parents and own generation, kind of looked down at some of these practices because we didn't have evidence. Now we have much more evidence that they work. Not everything works. Some things work. We don't have enough evidence yet to generalize it to the whole population but for some communities it seems to be doing a good job.

Jose A. Cardenas: As I understand, one of the things you are focused on because of the cultural aspects is the family and involvement of the family.

The support that comes from family. We also study acculturation. They learn the eating habits here and then the fast food and that is an issue with the family. The parents have one way of seeing the world and the children may have a different way. And even to monitor your child, if you mostly speak Spanish, your child mostly speaks English, they text in English. When the children help the parents navigate the outside world they lose power and the children gain power.

Jose A. Cardenas: I would like to talk about a different program you are involved in. Keeping it real which is analogous to the d.a.r.e program.

Flavio Marsiglia: It is to delay alcohol and drug use in young people. We have found it works well. We created it here in Arizona by Arizona-State University and Penn state. We have been getting request from other countries and we are in 12 different countries. We fleed need to adapt it culturally for those countries.

Jose A. Cardenas: You did it in Spain and it worked very well. You tried it in Mexico and first go around it didn't work so well and it was because the language. It is Spanish in both countries but there are differences.

Flavio Marsiglia: The first translation was in Spain. And then it was Castilian Spanish and we had to adapt to linguistically in Mexico for the kids to connect with the language. Same thing for the text and manuals and exercises the kids do. Maybe the examples are different. Even the English version we translate it again into Mexican Spanish. The examples don't translate. Kids couldn't connect to that. At the same time, depends on what part of Mexico. In Monterey it worked very well.

Flavio Marsiglia: Regents’ Professor ASU School of Social Work

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