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Professor Ortega Awarded $2.7 Million R01 Award From NIH

Headshot of Ortega

September 29, 2020

Alex Ortega, PhD, professor and director, Center for Population Health and Community Impact in department of Health Management and Policy at the Dornsife School of Public Health, was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) $2.7 million R01 grant to study access to healthcare for Latino youth in mixed status families in California. The project is titled, “Understanding the Multiple-levels of Influence on Access to Care for Latino Youth.”

In the United States, there are more than 18 million Latinos under the age of 18 and they make up one-fourth of the total youth population. Historically, evidence shows that Latino youth have had the worst patterns of healthcare access and utilization of any youth group.

Furthermore, access to healthcare is even worse for 50 percent of Latino youth who have immigrant parents. These disparities are likely the result of multiple levels of youth and family, community, policy, and societal factors.

Ortega will lead a team of researchers that will address four specific goals in the context of families’ citizenship and documentation status compositions:

  • Estimating the disparities in access to and utilization of health care for Latino youth according to youth- and family-level factors

  • Understanding the processes and facilitators that increase the likelihood that Latino youth access and use services

  • Identifying how parental trust in health systems and institutions influence the determinants of health care access and utilization for Latino youth

  • Understanding how variations in county-level policy and societal contexts influence health services use for Latino youth

The project will provide critical new information on how the effects of multiple levels of influence affect access and utilization of care for Latino youth and will offer evidence to guide policy and practice interventions to improve access to care for Latino youth.