Researchers Explore Latino Health Issues at Fair

For the third consecutive year, Cedars-Sinai scientists explored medical issues and gathered health data from the Latino community at the Health and Wellness Fair, presented by Telemundo 52-KVEA and the California Endowment. The 11th annual event, which drew 30,000 to the Los Angeles Convention Center, provided an opportunity for scientists to focus on a historically underrepresented group in medical research.

At the Jan. 25 fair, researchers circulated bilingual questionnaires to attain insight into the health habits and prevalence of diseases in the Latino population and also flyers to provide a user-friendly introduction to the world of clinical research. Spanish-speaking translators, trained by the study investigators, were on hand to administer the surveys.

Over the years, Cedars-Sinai scientists have deepened and extended their participation in the fair.

"Two years ago we screened over 200 women at the fair and found some interesting behavioral findings. This year we returned with the desire to learn more and to provide health recommendations to participants who are planning a pregnancy," said Calvin J. Hobel, MD, staff physician and professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Besides Hobel, participating Cedars-Sinai researchers included: Mark O. Goodarzi, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and the Endocrine Genetics Laboratory; Ruchi Mathur, MD, medical director of the Diabetes Outpatient Treatment and Education Center in the Division of Endocrinology, assistant program director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center and associate professor of Medicine; and Leslie Raffel, MD, professor of Pediatrics and Cedars-Sinai site director for the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)

Cedars-Sinai's research outreach was facilitated by the CTSI, which fosters collaborative research among its four participating institutions.

Research topics pursued at the fair included:

  • Pregnancy: A questionnaire administered by Hobel assessed the health habits of Latino women before pregnancy. Hobel also offered questionnaire participants health recommendations for achieving a healthy, successful full-term pregnancy.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: A questionnaire designed by Goodarzi sought to characterize the prevalence and characteristics of polycystic ovary syndrome, a common hormonal disorder that increases the risk of infertility and diabetes.
  • Healthcare access: Raffel's questionnaire sought insight into how the Latino community accesses healthcare. It included questions such as: "Is there a place that you usually go to when you are sick or need advice about your health?"
  • Follow-up care: Another Raffel questionnaire assessed why individuals elected to attend the health fair in the past and asked if they had sought follow-up care for any health issue at a community clinic operated by the John Wesley Community Health Institute Inc., where individuals undergoing screening at the fair, are typically referred to obtain free or discounted treatment.

"These questionnaires help us learn more about problems in the Los Angeles Latino population and explore issues the community may face in accessing health care," said Raffel. "Cedars-Sinai's participation in the fair gives us the opportunity to engage community members in biomedical research and hopefully make them aware of how participating can help solve some of the health problems that occur in their community."

For more information about research opportunities at next year’s fair, please contact Erica Bolton, management assistant, at 310-423-3087.