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Understanding needs: LRC is updating northern Nevada Latino needs and asset assessment

Web-based survey is part of a two-phase process by Latino Research Center for needs and asset assessment of Latino community

Have you ever wondered how public health resources and programs are allocated to communities? Well one way, is through a Community Health Assessment.

What is a community health assessment?

The health of a population is often measured by health outcomes and social determinants, or social and environmental factors that influence health. A community health assessment is a systematic process of identifying, collecting, and analyzing health outcomes and social determinants to realize needs and assets as reported by community members and secondary sources of data such as vital statistics or national health surveys. The collection of these data are then used to develop and implement a local plan to address significant unmet need and reinforce assets. An assessment creates an important opportunity to improve the health of communities by specifying a frame for providing services and solutions that support and nurture families and community. Additionally, a community health assessment makes it possible to coordinate efforts of public health agencies, healthcare systems, and other community organizations to improve health.

Main reasons a community health assessment is useful:

  1. Assess community health status, disparities, and assets
  2. Promote an understanding of a wide range of factors that influence health
  3. Mobilize partnerships to work together to improve population health

The Public Health Problem

Latinos are disproportionately burdened with chronic diseases that negatively affect quality of life, morbidity, and mortality. Furthermore, a significant number of Latinos live in poverty, have inadequate housing, food security, and no or limited health insurance coverage which contribute to overall health. Additionally, Latinos have low rates of seeking and receiving healthcare services compared to other U.S. populations, which is largely attributed to limited access to insurance coverage and language barriers. The language barrier also plays an important role in motivating Latinos to seek preventative care.

As one of the largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority in the United States and Nevada, Latinos have limited access to decision-making processes. Decision-making processes determine labor welfare, distribution of resources, and enforcement of language rights in health care services and beyond. Moreover, the lack of research, data, and ability to disseminate pertinent information to this diverse population hinders the ability to create a unified vision and work collaboratively on health solutions for the Latino community.

Doing my part as a future public health professional

This year, Latino Research Center at the University of Nevada, Reno has taken the initiative to update the 2013 Nevada Latino Needs and Asset Assessment with a focus on Northern Nevada. This assessment is being conducted in two phases, the first phase includes a web-based survey and phase two will include focus group interviews. The web-based survey is completely anonymous and asks questions about ethnic origin, family composition, educational and financial attainment, housing adequacy and housing affordability, food insecurity, community resources, health literacy, civic participation, and length of time in the U.S. The survey is available in English and Spanish and consists of 79 close-ended questions, as well as an option for participants to write in other responses. The survey can be found through the UNR Latino Research Center homepage, social media sites, and other community partnerships. This survey aims to prioritize Latino populations from Northern Nevada counties such as Humboldt, Elko, Pershing, Lander, Churchill, Lyon, and Washoe. These Nevada counties have high percentages of Latinos per the U.S. Census. Working to collaboratively incorporate these counties, will provide a broad view of the health status of Northern Nevada Latinos.

The results of the survey will help to develop resources and programs on topics that matter to the Northern Nevada Latino community and provides useful data to local organizations and policy makers. The Northern Nevada Latino Needs and Asset Assessment is an initial step to improve Latino health in Northern Nevada.

Take the survey

If you self-identify as a Latino/a, live in Northern Nevada, and are interested in responding to the survey, please access either the English or Spanish survey.

Take the survey in English

Toma la encuesta en Español

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Disparities. Health People 2020

Rabarison, K. M., Timsina, L., & Mays, G. P. (2015). Community Health Assessment and Improved Public Health Decision-Making: A Propensity Score Matching ApproachAmerican journal of public health105(12), 2526–2533. 

Blanca Plascencia-Reyna
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