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CBPR with Hispanic Groups

There are many CBPR studies conducted with Hispanic/Latino populations,32-39 and the approach is widely accepted as a way of better understanding health inequities and of discovering and developing intervention approaches to reduce them. Nevertheless, there are challenges, and, in certain groups, these challenges may be even more pronounced. We present the issues that CBPR researchers have identified as important when working with Hispanic populations. We then provide examples of successful CBPR efforts. These examples highlight common issues relevant across Hispanic subgroups and also identify unique considerations for doing CBPR with certain marginalized groups.


Hispanics constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. There were 55.3 million in the country in 2014, 17.3% of the total US population.40 About 25% of US Hispanics are millennials (ages 18-33), and about one- third of all Hispanics are younger than 18.41 Hispanics represent a diverse group who trace their ancestry to more than 20 Spanish-speaking nations. According to Pew Research Center’s 2011 American Community Survey, about 65% traced their origins to Mexico,42 followed by 9.5% of US Hispanics who have origins in Puerto Rico, with another 3.7 million living in Puerto Rico.42 Salvadorans are the third largest group, followed by Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Spaniards, Hondurans, Ecuadorians, Peruvians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and Argentineans.

The majority (65%) of US Hispanics are native born.40 Immigrants (19.4 million in 2014) can face significant issues related to discrimination, low SES, and healthcare access that negatively influence health and quality of life.40-43-47 Hispanics have higher birth weight and lower smoking rates than other groups;48- 50 however, they experience health disparities in other areas, such as teenage pregnancy, diabetes, cervical cancer, asthma, and obesity.48,50-52 Additionally, Hispanics have lower rates of insurance coverage than other groups.53

The diversity of the US Hispanic population is important to CBPR investiga- tors54,55 because health problems, health risk behaviors, and cultural factors may vary according to the subgroup. Mexicans, for example, have higher rates of diabetes than other groups; Puerto Ricans smoke more than Mexicans.56 These differences across groups may be as fundamental as how people refer to themselves.

Throughout this section, we will refer to this diverse population as Hispanic; however, this may not be the preferred term of all individuals who have ethnic affiliations with one or more Spanish-speaking country.57 There has been longstanding debate, primarily among academicians, about the right terminology.58,59 This may be among the very first issues to be understood and clarified when undertaking CBPR. While the research community usually refers to individuals that identify with an ancestry in a Spanish-speaking country as Hispanics or those originating from Latin America as Latinos, many US immigrant Hispanic populations identify themselves according to their country of origin (e.g., Mexican, Salvadoran, Cuban). Early discussions about how people see themselves is an important step in conducting CBPR among Hispanics.60

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