UMass Boston

Current Research


Our community-based research focus is on understanding structural, environmental, psychosocial, and cultural determinants of health behaviors to reduce health disparities and promote health among multi-ethnic Latin American (primary languages Spanish and Portuguese) populations in the United States and Latin America. Our current community-based research employs mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) to develop culturally responsive health promotion and disease prevention interventions with a special focus on: (1) early life stages - pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood, and (2) cancer health disparities and prevention in racial and ethnic minoritized populations.

Maternal and Child Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

  • Brazilian Immigrant Families Healthy Living Project (BRIF-HLP): This community-engaged mixed-methods research project is designed to explore, understand, and identify modifiable healthy lifestyle behaviors during early stages of life including pregnancy, infancy and early childhood in Brazilian immigrant families living in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The project has two main components aimed at examining 1) beliefs, attitudes and experiences of first-time pregnant women related to gestational weight gain and physical activity; and 2) parents’ beliefs, attitudes, parenting styles, and parenting practices related to the risk of early childhood obesity (e.g., infant feeding, healthy eating, physical activity, sedentary behaviors including screen time, and sleep).
  • Central American Families Healthy Living Project (CAF-HLP): This community-engaged research is designed to explore, identify and understand modifiable healthy lifestyle behaviors during early stages of life including pregnancy, infancy and early childhood among Central American families originating from the three Northern Triangle countries – Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The project has two main components aimed at examining 1) parents’ perception of importance of energy balance related behaviors (eating, physical activity, screen-time, sleep) and preferences (informational content and delivery) for the design of a home-based intervention to promote healthy energy balance-related behaviors and healthy weight status in preschool-aged children; and 2) pregnant women’s beliefs, attitudes, and experiences related to gestational weight gain, diet, physical activity, and oral health.

Cancer Health Disparities and Prevention in Racial and Ethnic Minoritized Populations

  • Engaging Central American Parents to Develop Contextually and Culturally Tailored Messages to Increase Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (PRE-VPH):  This community-engaged, sequential mixed-methods study builds on our previous HPV prevention research with multi-ethnic Latino/x communities. Guided by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences’ “Best Practices in Mixed Methods Research in the Health Sciences”, this research focuses on Central American families from the three Northern Triangle countries – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to develop contextually and culturally tailored messages to promote uptake of evidence-based HPV vaccine recommendations.
  • Toward Racial Equity and Justice in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination: An Exploratory Study with Cape Verdean Parents: This community-based, mixed-methods research is design to assess Cape Verdean parents’ knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and uptake of the HPV vaccine for their children (9-17 years of age).
  • Engaging Brazilian and Central American Young Adults (18–26 years) to Assess Factors Influencing Uptake of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: This community-based research is designed to factors influencing knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and uptake of the HPV vaccine among Brazilian, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Honduran young adults (18-26 years of age) living in the United States.
  • HPV and HPV Vaccination Knowledge and Attitudes, and Behaviors (KAB) Among Medical and Nursing Students in the Dominican Republic: This research is designed to assess structural and psychosocial, and cultural factors influencing medical and nursing students’ KAB and acceptability of the HPV vaccine.

Cross-Cultural Adaptation of Energy Balance-Related Measures

  • Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ) and Caregiver’s Feeding Styles Questionnaire (CFSQ): In collaboration with colleagues at the Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), we are conducting research to cross-culturally adapt to Brazilian Portuguese (Rio de Janeiro) the CFQ (Birch et al., 2001) and the CFSQ (Hughes et al., 2006) among caregivers of children aged 3 to 6 years enrolled in a family health service in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  
  • Parental Self-Efficacy for Obesity Prevention Related Behaviors Scales: In collaboration with colleagues at UMass Boston, the Federal University of Ceará, and Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ) we are conducting research to cross-culturally adapt to Brazilian Portuguese the Wright et al. (2014) parental self-efficacy scales for obesity-related behaviors: 1) helping their child get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day, 2) helping one's child consume five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, 3) limiting sugary drinks to once a week, and 4) limiting consumption of fruit juice to 6 ounces every day.

La Familia: Latin American Health Research Collaboratory

Department of Exercise and Health Sciences
Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences
100 Morrissey Blvd. - Quinn Building, Room 619
Boston, MA 02125 - United States