The Research Core is designed to provide the long-term infrastructure support that will facilitate and guide multidisciplinary research initiatives at Florida International University (FIU), the largest four-year Hispanic Serving Institution in the United States. The goal of this research will be the reduction and eventual elimination of substance abuse and HIV health disparities in Latino populations of Miami-Dade County.

The Research Core is responsive to the following objectives of the proposed NIMHD-C-SALUD:

  • Objective 1: Conducting innovative community based participatory research that will explore the rolethat social and cultural determinants have on Latino substance abuse and HIV health disparities;
  • Objective 2: Translating research findings into effective interventions for reducing Latino substance abuse and HIV health disparities;
  • Objective 3: Establishing and strengthening innovative community based participatory research (CBPR) partnerships between academic institutions and community groups/organizations.

Pursuant to the above stated objectives, the specific aims of the Research Core are:

  • Ensuring that research personnel have the skills necessary to conduct community based participatory research that will lead to community involvement across all research phases of the two research subprojects of the Center;
  • Providing opportunities for meaningful community involvement in substance abuse and HIV health disparities research in Latino populations;
  • Assisting the research subproject investigators with tools and expertise for effective development and implementation of their projects;
  • Stimulating new collaborative interactions among the two research subprojects, the Community Partnership/Engagement Core, the Research Education/Training core, the entire interdisciplinary research base at FIU, and other Universities, both locally and nationally;
  • Conducting the two research subprojects that are proposed as part of the Research Core. These two projects focus on the social and cultural factors underlying the twin epidemics of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse among Latino populations, the central theme of our Center of Excellence.

The two Research Core CBPR projects will: (a) further our understanding of the role that social and cultural determinants play in changing the behaviors that lead to HIV transmission and (b) advance knowledge of how to promote protective behaviors among Latinas, especially among Latina migrant farmworkers and recent Latina immigrants ages (18-23 ). These projects are likely to provide new directions and improvements in community based HIV/AIDS prevention and interventions associated with drug and alcohol use, and contribute to our long term goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS and substance abuse health disparities which disproportionately affect Latina populations in the U.S, and in particular Miami-Dade County.

CRUSADA houses major research studies that are funded by agencies such as the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

A Longitudinal Study of Drug Abuse & HIV Risk Among Latina Mother-daughter Dyads

Also referred to as “The Women Study” (De La Rosa, PI), this study is funded by the NINR. The Women Study examines how substance use (both licit and illicit) and HIV risk behavior trajectories of a community-based sample of Latina mothers and daughters are influenced by changes in familial (mother-daughter acoplamiento or attachment) and other cultural and social determinants of substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors over time.

A comprehensive description of this important research can be viewed on The Women Studysubsection of this website.

Drinking and Driving Among Recent Latino Immigrants

CRUSADA houses a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) R21 grant, collaboratively administered and investigated with Dr. Eduardo Romano, Pacific Institute For Research and Evaluation (PIRE). This grant examines pre- and post-immigration factors associated with drinking and driving behaviors. Cultural and familial factors will be investigated, along with the impact of social capital, alcohol/substance use, and aculturation, among other dimension that may influence drinking and driving behaviors. Legal documented/undocumented status will also be examined as a potential factor. The grant is titled Drinking and Driving Among Recent Latino Immigrants (R21AA022202; PIs: De La Rosa, Romano)

A comprehensive description of this important research can be viewed here.

The Haitian Administrative Supplement

The Haitian Administrative Supplement consists of four projects which aim to address some of the critical medical and mental needs confronting residents of the country of Haiti and the Haitian community in Miami-Dade after the devastating earthquake of January 13, 2010.

This project is funded by NIMHD through The Center for Substance Use and HIV/AIDS Research on Latinos in the United States, an NIMHD Exploratory Center of Excellence that is housed under CRUSADA.

A comprehensive description of this important research can be viewed on the Haitian Administrative Supplement subsection of this website.

Recent Latina Immigrant Research Subproject

This longitudinal study, conducted within the Research Core as a CBPR project, consists of 4-annual assessments of recent Latina immigrants (N=600; ages of 18-23 at Time 1) conducted by our multi-disciplinary research team to:

  1. elucidate culturally relevant antecedent social determinants of liability (consisting of individual, cultural, interpersonal, and community /institutional determinants collectively referred to as social determinants) which predict HIV/AIDS risk behaviors (HIVR), concomitant substance use severity (SUS), HIV/AIDS diagnoses, substance use disorders (SUDs), and access to health care resources (HCR);
  2. determine the moderating effects of dyadic attachments (daughter-father, daughter-mother, daughter-peers, daughter-romantic partner) on the relationship between adverse social determinants and early adult trajectories of HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and SUS;
  3. clinically validate outcomes with laboratory tests (saliva, urine, and blood) for alcohol plus 9-drug classes, HIV-EIA and all STDs; and
  4. create a psychometrically sound and culturally relevant screening instrument derived from the obtained results (Latino Screening Index of Risk and Resilience-LaSIRR) which may be used by community based agencies to identify recent Latina immigrants at high risk of succumbing to HIV/AIDS and SUDs.

Longitudinal statistical analyses will include discrete hazard models, multiple decrement life table analysis, regression models for nonhomogeneous Poisson processes to estimate individual-specific trajectories, multinomial logistic generalized linear mixed models, latent class growth models to cluster trajectories by type, multivariate transition models for sequencing and time between onset of different behaviors, dual trajectory models to capture dynamic system interactions between change processes and causal networks to elucidate interactions among the modeled variables across 4-annual waves. Exploratory factor analyses (EFA) and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) will be applied to questionnaire and interview scales and scores obtained at baseline assessment to derive a preliminary LaSIRR to predict HIV and SUD outcomes at T-2, T-3, and T-4.

In summary, the obtained results will inform social policy for recent Latina immigrants to promote their recruitment and retention into community based health care prevention and intervention services. As such, the Community Partnership/Engagement Core will provide a platform to disseminate the project’s results. Moreover, Community Based Organizations will benefit from the project’s results and utilize this information in their fund seeking activities and to enhance their interventions. Thus, an empirically derived LaSIRR will help to identify recent Latina immigrants at high risk of developing threshold diagnoses of HIV/AIDS and SUDs so that culturally relevant, community based prevention, intervention, and treatment services can be targeted to redirect their adult developmental trajectories away from life threatening illnesses (HIV/AIDS) and towards healthy adult outcomes in life.

Latino Migrant Worker (LMW) Research Subproject

The principal objective of this study is to continue efforts to develop the most effective combination of behavioral interventions to optimize the health status of one of the most neglected and understudied populations affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country: Latina migrant workers. Early preliminary findings from the current study with this population suggest that cognitive-behavioral interventions are efficacious in the short-term reduction of HIV-related risk behaviors, while improving awareness, self efficacy, and coping skills. Hence, this CBPR study will extend these findings by seeking to determine whether exposure to a Cognitive Behavioral HIV Prevention Intervention (A-SEMI) can significantly produce long-term improvements in the ability of Latina migrant workers to take advantage of a health behavior change program which encourages the adoption and maintenance of healthier lifestyle behaviors (i.e., safer sexual practices and reduced substance use/abuse) essential for optimal health in the context of preventing HIV infection.

A corollary objective will be to determine whether A-SEMI is beneficial to less-acculturated segments of the affected population (i.e., non-English speaking Latina migrant workers) by establishing culturally and linguistically sensitive versions of the program in Spanish. To accomplish these objectives, 160 Latina migrant workers aged 18 and older from the Homestead and Florida City (South Florida) communities will be enrolled and randomized into either an experimental intervention (A-SEMI) group or a comparison group (HPC) with 6, 12, and 24 month follow-ups to evaluate the long term effectiveness of the A-SEMI to improve health status and reduce HIV related high risk behaviors. This project will be subcontracted out to the Farmworkers Association of Florida (FWAF).

Comadres/Compadres and “You Gotta Know!” Campaigns

PI: Bohs, Rhonda, PhD.
Aim 1: To stimulate and nurture efforts by community based organizations (CBO´s) to design, implement and evaluate evidence based and culturally appropriate intervention programs that address the Latino health disparities in HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in Miami-Dade County. 
Aim 2: To improve access to prevention and treatment programs for HIV/AIDS and substance abuse for Latinos in Miami-Dade County by engaging community leadership. 
Aim 3: To involve young Latino adults in health promotion and education outreach models for preventing HIV/AIDS and substance abuse.

Clusters and Trends of Sexual, Substance Use, and Other Health Risks among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Adolescents

The purpose of this study is to identify the links among health risk or compromising behaviors (substance use, sexual risk, delinquent and mental health behaviors) using the Florida Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) 2001, 2003 and 2005. Specifically, the prevalence of each risk behavior in each survey year, as well as combined data, will be evaluated between Hispanic and non-Hispanic adolescents. In addition, the trends and clusters of individual health risk behaviors of Hispanic and non-Hispanic adolescents will be compared.

HIV Risk Behavior and Substance Abuse among Recent Latino Immigrants

PI: De La Rosa, Mario, PhD.
The aims of this project are three fold: 
1) Examine the influence of pre-immigration assets on post-immigration HIV risk behaviors among recent Latino immigrants over time; 
2) Identify the effects of pre-immigration assets on post-immigration acculturation related stress and substance use among recent Latino immigrants over time; 
3) Investigate the relationship between pre-immigration assets, and post-immigration acculturation related stress, substance use, and HIV risk behaviors over time.

HIV Infection and Risk of Fatal Drug Overdose in Miami Communities: An Individual and Community Level Analysis

PI: Martinez, Ramiro, PhD.
The data from this study will provide information on the violence/drug use nexus that could further inform policy makers and human service providers on the spatial distribution of drug overdose deaths, drug violence, and HIV infection. The results suggest that future neighborhood-level research on violent crime should devote explicit attention to the disorganizing and violence-producing effects of illicit drug activity and HIV infection.

Development of a Culturally Congruent Latino Residential Treatment

PI: Rice, Christopher, PhD.
This pilot study addresses preliminary design and methodological issues, such as clinical protocols and therapist practices, necessary for the development of a standardized treatment manual. Protocol standardization is a preliminary step toward conducting a rigorous efficacy assessment of the culturally congruent residential treatment for Latino substance abusers. The goals of the application are realized by achieving the following specific aims: 
Aim-1 – Develop and refine a standardized, culturally appropriate protocol for residential treatment aimed at improving retention and increasing the treatment efficacy of Hispanic/Latino substance users. 
Aim-2 â€“ Identify, develop, and modify clinical assessment protocols, including procedures and measurement instruments that will permit baseline assessment of culturally specific inpatient characteristics, optimal assignment of inpatients, improve retention in treatment, and increase engagement in treatment protocols.

HIV Risk Reduction in High Risk Hispanic Migrant Workers in South Florida

PI: Jesus Sanchez, PhD.
1. Implement, evaluate, and assess the differential effectiveness of two brief HIV risk reduction intervention strategies among Hispanic Migrant Workers (HMW). This aim will employ a randomized experimental design to compare a distinct intervention (A-SEMI) with a standard comparison group (HPC). The primary outcome to be assessed will be the reduction of HIV related risk behaviors (e.g. frequency of unprotected sex) inclusive of a tiered approach to prevention, also known as ABC (abstinence, being faithful, and consistent condom use). 
2. Assess whether alcohol and other drug use (AOD), social factors (Soc-Influence), Att-Mot-Skill, and Stage of Change variables, may mediate the effects of each intervention.
3. Assess if key variables (i.e., gender, acculturation, cognitive functioning, and traumatic abuse history) moderate the relationship between the intervention and HIV transmission risk behavior.