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Latin America Links

Dr. Pilar Amaya Rey Bio

Universidad Nacional de Colombia

MHIRT Research Projects in Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela in collaboration with the Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Project 1: Family Health and Family Risk: A Characterization of Families with Elders in Latin America

(Spain, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela). This study involves a project through which the instruments measuring family health and family risks gets validated and standardized in the respective countries. Families who take care of elderly members are compared with other families along the health and risk variables

Student Activities:
Students will collect data in primary care clinics, accompany staff on home visits, interacting with the research team in discussions of methods and results. Consequently, they will observe the care provided for indigent elders and discuss with the team political, administrative and operational aspects of direct care to these clients. They will understand the necessity of these clinic programs that entail all aspects of care, including nutrition counseling, soup kitchen, exercise program, cardiac disease prevention, social interaction and activity program for the survival and well-being of the clients.

Project 2: Families with Elders in Latin America: An Approach to Explore Family Health and Family Risk

(Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Salvador, Dominican Republic, Argentina, and Colombia). This is a validation study of the Health and Risk Battery in the study of families taking care of elders.

Student Activities:
Students will observe interventions used to decrease the negative effects of severe poverty. They will join clinicians and researchers who use a family-focused approach to support elders within their families. In addition to the programs listed above, they will meet families in their homes and listen to discussions about their daily challenges and health practices. They will be familiarized with a battery of assessment instruments to examine health risk factors, including family functioning or substance use, the effectiveness of various service delivery models, and the quality of nursing care. They will assist in evaluating care needs, service delivery models, and care quality with attention to health disparity issues.

Project 3: Profiles of Family Health and Family Risk: Analysis and Comparisons of Chronic Illness Situations in Rural and Urban Families with Elders in Colombia.

This study seeks to describe chronic conditions of families with elders and their profiles of family health and risk in various geographic areas, urban and rural, in Colombia

Student Activities:
Students will be placed in primary care clinics and accompany researchers on home visits with families who take care of chronically ill members. They will learn about the use of and data collected with the risk assessment instruments discussed above. In discussions with families and the team, they will learn about methods of care these families use and programs the clinics offer in preparing family caregivers to do their work. In addition to assisting in documenting care activities and program interventions that families participate in. They will be introduced and participate in the evaluation procedures that look at program outcomes and client satisfaction. Finally, the students will be placed in rural and urban clinics and will observe the differences in family caregiving. These clinics exemplify differing care issues of the rich and poor populations in both rural and urban settings, highlighting health disparity concerns.

Further Student Involvement Information:

In all projects, through direct interaction with clients and interaction with the team, students will learn about health disparities, barriers to access of the indigent, programs to prevent health problems and client satisfaction with these programs. Thus, they will be introduced to the efforts of Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work made to reduce health disparities. This model is one that will provide insightful examples of interdisciplinary work that will be useful in health care work in South Florida. Guided by their mentors, they will critically examine service delivery models, methods of client recruitment, and dissemination of health information to the poor and illiterate. They will visit public and private hospitals and clinics to visualize disparities. This is particularly relevant in addressing issues created by accessibility to health care.

They will be engaged in nursing research aimed at diminishing disparities. Depending on the stage of the projects, their involvement ranges from the conceptualization of a study to the dissemination of the results and, most importantly, discussion of the results with political administrators of Health and Welfare for the sake of improving health care for the poor. The students will participate in team discussions about instrumentation, in data collection, data processing, maintenance of databases, data entry, analysis and assist in comparisons of the results with national and international literature, and health interventions for families with local health personnel.