Abstract: Innovations in Multi-Level Intervention Research in Latino Communities: Data needs for replication and process implementation

Los Angeles County has 4.6 million, 47.7%, Latinos, which makes it the county with the largest number of Latinos in the nation. While Latinos in Los Angeles are diverse with regards to income, education and levels of acculturation, many of them have risk factors that contribute to health disparities. On average, Latinos in Los Angeles have significant clinical and behavioral risks for heart disease, including high rates of obesity, diabetes, low physical activity levels, diets high in fat and sugar, and poor access to venues for healthy food purchasing.

Dr. Ortega will present an intervention to improve the food landscape in East Los Angeles, California, a high-profile Latino community that has been classified as a "food swamp," with poor access to comprehensive grocery stores and foods recommended as a basis for a healthful diet. A common venue for food purchasing in food swamps is the neighborhood corner store; there are over 100 in East LA. This corner store conversion, or market makeover, intervention involves many stakeholders and participants. The process, implementation and impact of this multi-level, community-oriented, trans-disciplinary and transformational intervention will be discussed.

In order to replicate and implement effective and translatable community-oriented, multi-level interventions, researchers must be cognizant of the need to collect both implementation process and outcome data that will provide information to the research and practice communities on best approaches for replicating and designing interventions. This is especially relevant as the country embarks on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which will likely result in communities having more need to focus on well-designed, large-scale health prevention efforts.

Dr. Ortega is a leading scholar in Latino health and a recipient of the Distinguished Nationally-Known Health Professional Award by the Latino Caucus of APHA. He is a Professor of Public Health (Health Policy and Management) and Psychiatry and Bio-behavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also the Principal Investigator of the NHLBI-Center for Population Health and Health Disparities based at UCLA.