Current Projects

Understanding Latino Risk and Prevention Behavior by Generational Status Understanding the relationship between risk behaviors in California
Understanding oral health needs in Merced County
Unfavorable eating patterns among Mexican-identified Californians: stratifying by nativity is crucial to understanding generational differences
Background: 70% of Mexican-identified Californians are overweight or obese, and inappropriate diet is a contributing factor. Little is known about how social determinants of excess soda consumption (ESC), fast food meal consumption (FFM), and vegetable consumption (VC) among Mexican-identified Californians (MICs) varies by generational status.
This project is done in collaboration with Jennifer Mendiola,,Anna Song, Lillian K. Diaz-Rios, Mary V. ModayilSocial determinant of physician care utilization varies by generational status among Mexican-identified CaliforniansBackground: Previous research shows Hispanics are less likely to report a usual health care provider, which combined with high prevalence of overweight/obese, heightens risk for chronic diseases. A health in all policies approach requires understanding generational differences in Latino health care utilization. In California, fewer foreign born Latinos have health insurance coverage(23% vs 36%) or have visited a physician (73% vs 78%) compared to US born Latinos. We examined behavioral and social factors including access to care that predict these generational differences in medical care utilization. Our findings supports the assertion that smoking plays a role in health differences between US and foreign born Latinos.

This project is done in collaboration with Jennifer Mendiola,,Anna Song, Lillian K. Diaz-Rios, Mary V. Modayil

Social and Environmental Policy Protection Varies by Language Spoken among Latinos

Objective: Latinos are one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the US and California. However, tobacco-related research on Latinos has historically focused on documenting the determinants of smoking. We present differences in tobacco control policy implementation factors in California residents 1. between Latinos and non-Latinos, and 2. among Latino smokers by primary language spoken (English or Spanish).

This project is done in collaboration with Mary V. Modayil, Institute for Population Health Improvement; University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA

Generation status as a determinant of influenza vaccination among Mexican-identified adults in California, 2011-12

This project seeks to identify how determinants of the receiving an influenza vaccination varies by nativity, and generational status among Mexican-identified adults in California.

This project is done in collaboration with two UC Merced students: Van Do-Reynoso and Jennifer Mendiola

Understanding the relationship between tobacco use, alcohol use, and unhealthy eating in California.

This study examines the relationship between tobacco use and other risk behaviors among all Californians, stratifying the sample by race/ethnicity, and smoking status.

Overnuturition is associated with asthma severity among Californian adults with asthma:

Increase in body mass index is associated with increased risk of asthma symptom exacerbation, but not much is known about the relationship between overconsumption of particular types of unhealthy food, and symptom severity. We examine the relationship between asthma severity and excess soda consumption (ESC), fast food meal consumption (FFM), and fried potato consumption (FPC).

This project is done in collaboration with Ricardo Cisneros and Paul Brown

This project seeks to identify oral-health related factors that may contribute to the risk of cognitive impairment in Merced County through the use of a community-based survey. In particular this project will test if there are oral health related disparties between Latinos and non-Latinos in Merced County, and will seek to identify an intervention to promote greater levels of flossing and brushing among residents.


This project also examines oral heath beliefs and behaviors among UC Merced students.