Research

The primary objective of my research is to inform efforts aimed at reducing race/ethnic health inequalities that characterize our growing older adult population. Specifically, I am interested in identifying how residential environments, sociocultural processes, and other social factors “get under the skin” to influence health by elucidating the complex association between social determinants, psychosocial factors, and physiological precursors to disease and functional health decline among Latina/o/xs.

Current Project | Social Determinants of Diabetes

Older Latina/o/xs are disproportionately affected by diabetes. Their higher prevalence of diabetes is largely understood as a product of individual-level health behaviors without much attention given to how the various adverse social factors, social disadvantages, and social inequalities influence the disease process. I use the social determinants of health and biopsychosocial framework to assess how sociocultural, cohort, and neighborhood factors influence the prevalence of diabetes among older Latina/o/xs.

Current Project | Aging in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has the highest proportion of older adults aged 65 and older compared to any U.S. state; and are characterized with high levels of social and economic deprivation, greater usage of healthcare services, and higher rates of chronic conditions. Puerto Ricans have experienced compounding environmental disasters in the last 10 years, have a crumbling health care infrastructure, and are in a debt crisis that may be negatively affecting the health and quality of life of older Puerto Ricans. Due to data limitations, relatively little is known about the health and aging experiences of older adults on the island. I am using the Puerto Rican Elderly Health Conditions Project (PREHCO) to contextualize the health and aging experiences of older adults on the main island.

Current Project | Longitudinal Studies of Health

The health of Latina/o/xs over time results from multiple factors operating in nested environmental, political, social, behavioral, and economic contexts that change throughout the life course. Understanding changes in health over time can help identify Latina/os/xs who are at greatest risk for adverse health trajectories, and can help identify the factors that influence change in health over time.