The Southwest Institute for Health Disparities Research (SWIHDR) at New Mexico State University has been gaining recognition throughout southern New Mexico for its work on a USDA-AFRI-funded initiative to prevent childhood obesity. Salud Para Usted y Su Familia [Health for You and Your Family] (SPUSF) is a multi-site, 5-year project being conducted in border communities in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The New Mexico SWIHDR team is composed of faculty, staff and students from the Colleges of: Health and Social Services; Agriculture, Evironmental and Consumer Sciences; and Arts and Sciences. The goal of SPUSF is to develop a family-based intervention that will reduce screen time, improve diet, and increase physical activity among Mexican heritage children between the ages of 7 and 11 years. Promotoras de salud are critical staff on the SPUSF research team due to their deep knowledge of border communities and their ability to serve as community liaisons. SPUSF in New Mexico has created Community Advisory Boards that include community members and stakeholders from groups such as the Southern New Mexico Community Health Workers Committee, Chaparral Improvement Group, Parents in Action, and Village of Columbus City Hall Community Members. Currently in its third year of funding, SPUSF has conducted environmental assessments of food venues and spaces for physical activity, discussion groups, or pláticas, with mothers and children, and surveys of mothers and fathers in participating communities. This information will be used to develop a family-based intervention that will be implemented during year 4. In year 5 the program will be evaluated and successful elements will be integrated into education and Extension activities throughout the state. The SWIHDR team looks forward to working with southern New Mexico community partners through the completion of SPUSF and future projects to improve health equity in border communities.
As part of the US Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal And Child Health Field-Initiated Research Program, NMSU faculty members and students are trying to determine why rates of cesarean delivery are substantially higher in the US-Mexico border Hispanic population than among other California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas Hispanics. While cesarean delivery rates have fallen in recent years in other US populations, they have risen among Hispanics in the border counties. This secondary data analysis project links individual-level birth certificate data to several sources of county-level data in the four border states in order to explore the relationships between environmental and other contextual factors and the risk of cesarean delivery. Geographic comparisons, race/ethnicity comparisons, and trends in cesarean delivery outcomes over time are also being studied. This collaborative project involves faculty members and students from the Colleges of Health and Social Services and Business. In addition to combining unique perspectives to address this border region health disparity, this project is also building critical research skills in students.