Thursday, October 24, 1:00pm, AHC5 Room 300A, CRUSADA LECTURE – Using Reflexive Ethnography to Understand Long -Term Drug and Health Disparities among Latino Young Adults
Using Reflexive Ethnography to Understand Long-Term Drug and Health Disparities among Latino Young Adults
Alice Cepeda, PhD
Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
University of Southern California
Avelardo Valdez, PhD
Professor, Social Work and Sociology;
Professor of Practice, Policy, Research & Advocacy for the Latino Population,
Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California
Thursday, October 24
AHC-5, Room 300a
Academic Health Center 5
Third Floor Conference Room
Substance use and misuse are complex behaviors mediated by a multitude of biological, social, environmental and developmental factors. Due to the multilevel determinants of addiction, interdisciplinary research teams must be cognizant of consumers’ daily lives “from within” their complex and dynamic social reality. Utilizing a reflexive ethnographical approach, we investigate how people come to understand, act, and manage their day-to-day experiences in specific settings. We highlight the importance of this approach in understanding social interactions, systems, and processes that contribute to substance use risks, trajectories, and health outcomes among Latino populations. Using data from several 15+ year National Institute on Drug Abuse longitudinal studies with young adult, drug-using Mexican American women and men, we discuss the drug related health disparities caused by factors such as incarceration, cumulative trauma, and concentrated poverty. Reflexive ethnography provides tools to see the world that is constructed by the observant participants (investigators, research staff, and users themselves) working together. We discuss how enhancing knowledge from this perspective can contribute to the development of more effective behavioral drug treatments and interventions for Latino populations.
Alice Cepeda has focused her research on the social determinants that influence the development of drug abuse health disparities across generations in Mexican-origin populations. Dr. Cepeda has received several NIH grants, and her most recent NIDA-funded study follows a cohort of Mexican American adolescent females who were affiliated with male gang members during their adolescence.
Avelardo Valdez has focused his research on the relationship between substance abuse and social and health consequences among high-risk groups. Dr. Valdez has investigated hidden populations, including youth and prison gang members, and heroin users. His most recent NIH grant focuses on the mechanisms by which immigration processes expose individuals to alcohol/drug dependence and mental and physical health disparities among recent immigrants floating between Mexico City and Los Angeles.