$61M, Multicenter Study To Examine Health, Acculturation of Hispanics
A six-year, $61 million multicenter study is seeking to gather data on the health of Hispanics to expand current research on the group, the Miami Herald reports. The Hispanic Community Health Study -- funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute -- will take place at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine and three other field centers in San Diego, the Bronx in New York City and Chicago. The University of North Carolina will serve as the data coordinating center.
Researchers are hoping to gather baseline health data on 16,000 Hispanics. Currently available data on Hispanics is mostly based on Mexican-Americans. For the new research, each study site will focus on collecting data from a particular subgroup, according to the Herald. The UM site, for example, will include 4,000 participants from Cuba and Central and South America. Participants will range in age from 18 to 74 and will be preselected from communities that are more than 80% Hispanic, the Herald reports.
The first three years of the study will focus on gathering data. Participants will undergo standard blood tests, psychosocial assessments, dental exams, neuro-cognitive testing, and hearing and lung function exams. Participants' sleep and physical activity also will be monitored with devices they take home.
Researchers will follow up with participants after the initial clinic visit and then annually for three years. Marc Gellman, research director at UM's Behavioral Medicine Research Center, said patients will not receive treatment through the study, adding, "We're an observational study, but people can go back to their own doctors with this information." He added, "The assessments are quite thorough. They get tests here they wouldn't get in a doctor's office in a typical physical."
The study also will examine the role of acculturation in immigrant health. Neil Schneiderman, the study's lead researcher, said, "We're looking at acculturation and how immigrants' habits change over time. Since arriving here, are they smoking more or less? Are they eating more or less? What are they eating? How does assimilation affect health?" Schneiderman said, "As Hispanics continue to become a larger percentage of the population, we need to prepare health care for the future," adding, "We will be able to identify needs and what has to be done to improve the health of our community" (Veciana-Suarez, Miami Herald, 2/3).