What We Do

The Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health's (CLAFH's) work focuses on four key thematic areas:

Health Inequities

Community Engaged Research on Health Promotion and Prevention

Latino communities and other communities of color in the U.S. are affected by a range of persistent and intersecting health disparities. However, existing health and social welfare programs are too often inadequately aligned with the unique needs of communities affected by chronic and emerging health disparities. To address this gap, CLAFH maintains a network of community partners throughout the United States, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, with whom we work collaboratively to understand and address the contextual factors and social determinants of health that drive disparities in sexual health (e.g., sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and unplanned pregnancies), infectious diseases (e.g., COVID-19, hepatitis), and behavioral health outcomes.

CLAFH’s community-engaged research is designed to meet three main goals:

  1. To identify overlooked or unaddressed health disparities.
  2. To develop culturally responsive and effective strategies and interventions that reduce health disparities and promote health equity.
  3. To disseminate our programs and research in order to promote uptake and real-world impact.

Within this scope of work, research to understand and address the continuing HIV epidemic in Latino communities in the US represents a focal priority area of the Center’s work.

Family Based

Evidence-Based Family Interventions

A large body of research shows that the family represents a primary context for health-related decision-making and behavior - particularly for adolescents and young adults. A core focus of CLAFH's research is to develop, evaluate and disseminate evidence-based family interventions that are designed to leverage the influence of parents in preventing negative adolescent and young adult sexual health outcomes (i.e., unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, HIV), other risk behaviors such as substance use, and in promoting adolescent life opportunities.

CLAFH is widely regarded as a national leader in the development and evaluation of parent-based prevention interventions. CLAFH’s parent-based interventions integrate strong theories of parental influence and adolescent decision-making, are routinely evaluated in large-scale community-based randomized controlled trials, and have had sizable effects on adolescent behavior. To learn more about ongoing research projects exploring the role of parents in promoting adolescent health and wellbeing click here.

Health Care Delivery

Nurse-Led and Interdisciplinary Interventions, Differentiated Care Models, and Decentralized Health Care Delivery

Access to health care remains unequal in the United States. As a result, effective interventions for prevention and treatment often fail to reach underserved communities, further exacerbating existing health disparities and hindering efforts to advance health equity.

CLAFH develops and evaluates innovative health care service delivery models designed to expand the reach of prevention and treatment services in underserved communities and increase Latino engagement in health care. We draw on novel approaches, such as nurse-led and interdisciplinary interventions, differentiated care models, decentralized health care delivered outside of formal health care settings, and partnerships that leverage the family as a context to promote reach and effectiveness of health care in order to increase the responsiveness of traditional and decentralized health care systems to communities affected by health disparities.

In particular, CLAFH seeks to advance the indispensable role of nurses through nurse-driven models of health care delivery. As the largest and most trusted segment of the U.S. health care workforce, nurses are ideally positioned for leadership in improving healthcare quality and outcomes and reducing population-level health inequities. Learn more here.

Real World Impact

Research Impact on Clinical & Public Health Practice & Policy

CLAFH is committed to impact. The Center’s research is designed to both develop new knowledge and inform real-world change in programming, practice and policy to reduce health disparities. CLAFH relies on three primary strategies to achieve tangible impact:

  1. Broad research dissemination across diverse constituencies to promote research uptake in programming, practice and policy.
  2. National scale-up of CLAFH’s evidence-based interventions, particularly in underserved communities affected by health disparities.
  3. Partnerships with research, professional and advocacy organizations; community-based organizations; government agencies; and pharmaceutical organizations.

As part of this work, CLAFH houses a national initiative for development of Latino leaders in the fight against HIV: the Instituto DILES (Instituto Latinx de Desarrollo Integral de Lideres Empoderados contra el SIDA; English: Latinx Comprehensive Development of Empowered Leaders Against AIDS Institute [DILES (Tell Them) Institute]). The program is designed to build leadership skills among Latinx individuals to drive meaningful change in their communities toward ending the HIV epidemic for Latinx men. Learn more here.