Testing the Waters and Making Waves:
The TREE Center Pilots Health Equity Interventions with Communities
By: Lisa Cacari Stone
Pilot studies play an important role in helping to improve and shape future work that tackles the structural determinants of behavioral health and advancing health equity.
Through a dedicated mentoring program of the TREE Center led by the
Investigator Development Core
(Dr.’s Matt Borrego, Theresa Cruz, Janet Page Reeves), early stage and under-represented minority researchers are partnering with communities in New Mexico to develop interventions and produce knowledge about community health, policies and programs.
Each year the TREE center invests up to $150,000 in three pilots and by 2022 we will have invested over $750,000 for a total of 25 studies.
In November 2019 and January 2020, five pilot project teams showcased their collaborative efforts at the TREE’s monthly meetings. Each pilot produced positive impact on linking Mexican immigrant women, Latina teens, Dine community leaders and Latinx Youth with social networks, health services and to eachother. Each project featured a culturally and linguistically centered approach:
- Providing Expanded Continuous Labor Support to Pregnant Women in New Mexico with Substance Use Disorders: Partnering with Community Researchers – PI: Dr. Pilar Sanjuan, Dr. Raquel Rivera and Dr. Larry Leeman
- Mental Health Equity – PI: Dr. Julia M. Hess, Guadalupe Fuentes, Annette Carreon-Fuentes and Alexandra Hernandez-Vallant
- Development of a Multi-Level Intervention Framework to Reduce Disparities in Unintended Teen Pregnancy among Hispanic Adolescents – PI: Melanie Baca, MD, Mayra Perez BS, and Stephanie Chambers, MPH
- Developing Community Partnerships through Research to Define Community Well-Being from a Diné-centered Perspective with Three (Diné) Navajo communities in New Mexico - PI: Vincent Werito, PhD, and David Begay, PhD, Mario Atencio, Patrick Werito, Elroy Keetso (community members)
- Adapting Evidence-based Knowledge and Practice to Increase the Capacity of a Community Health Coalition to Reduce Suicide Risk Factors in Rural New Mexico Coalition to Reduce Suicide Risk – PI: Shannon Sanchez-Youngman, PhD and team
What next? The TREE’s
Community Engagement and Dissemination Core
(Dr.’s Belone, Avila, Katira, Zhao and Emily Guerrera) will pair up with the IDC and pilot PI’s and their community partners in order to share findings with diverse communities in New Mexico.