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1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
2703 Frontier Ave NE
Research Incubator Building (RIB) Suite 120
Phone: (505) 272-3955
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
2703 Frontier Ave NE
Research Incubator Building (RIB) Suite 120
Phone: (505) 272-3955
Research done at the PRC has been summarized in posters presented at local, regional, and national scientific conferences. Recent posters, with abstracts, can be accessed below.
Author: Itzel Guillen
Hello, my name is ItzelGuillen. I am a graduate of Rio Grande High School, and a freshman at UNM. I am a participant in the FYRE(First Year Research Experience) program.
FYRE gave me the opportunity to work more on a project that I participated in while I was in high school: RAPS. My research interest is the response of adults who were part of the project.
As a freshman, finding a mentor can be hard. Many students need more experience, but there may not be many open opportunities. For my mentor, I contacted Courtney FitzGerald at the UNM PRC. I met Courtney through the RAPS project while I was in high school.
For FYRE, I wanted to work with RAPS project data. I was able to do this with Courtney as my mentor.
Authors: Varayini Pankayatselvan, Sally Davis, PhD, Julia Hess, PhD, Theresa Cruz, PhD, Danielle Parker, BS
Health Impact Assessments (HIA) have been conducted throughout the United States, but few have been conducted in rural communities, specifically on the development of trails. This study explores the relationship between trails, social capital, quality of life and health to determine if trail building in the small, rural, tri‐ethnic community of Cuba, NM is associated with increased social capital and thereby increased health. First, a systematic literature review of the benefits of social capital on health and in relation to trails was conducted addressing the importance of social capital for a community. Second, STEP‐HIA survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics for percentages of people indicating if they walk with family/friends and gain both social and health benefits from the trails. Third, qualitative interview data from key stakeholders were examined in NVivo analyzing the relationship between physical activity, access to trails and social support. Overall, these results show the potential of trails to increase social capital and health in Cuba, NM. This information will be incorporated in a HIA to influence decision makers regarding the location of new trails in and around Cuba, and specifically for access to the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). These findings can then be used as evidence to plan the development of trails in other communities, particularly in rural areas surrounded by Public Lands.
Authors: Taylor Settecerri, Sally Davis, PhD, Theresa Cruz, PhD, Danielle Parker, BS, Emily Lilo, MPH, Julia Hess, PhD
Poverty, a social determinant of health, is common in rural communities. Developing recreation and
tourism infrastructure, such as trails, has the potential to reduce disparities and improve rural quality of
life through effects on health and local economies. There is limited information that exists on the
economic impact of outdoor recreation and tourism on small, rural communities, but there is a known
relationship between economic well‐being and health. Cuba, New Mexico, a small rural community,
experiences high rates of obesity and diabetes among its tri‐ethnic (Hispanic, American Indian, Anglo)
population. The University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center (PRC) has partnered with Cuba
to increase awareness of, develop, and study the effects of walking and hiking trails. The Santa Fe
National Forest Service (SFNFS) and New Mexico Bureau of Land Management (NMBLM) recently
proposed to construct a new segment of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) near Cuba.
The PRC is conducting a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) including the economic impact of the
proposed trail segment. An HIA uses multiple data sources and stakeholder input to determine the
effects of a proposed plan on the health of a population. We conducted mixed methods research
focused on the economic component of the HIA by examining data from local and visitor populations to
predict the likelihood of trail use, related expenditures, and the public’s perceptions of the CDT
expansion on the community. Decision‐makers including the SFNFS, the NMBLM, NM Department of
Transportation, Sandoval County, and the Village of Cuba will use the results to determine exact CDT
placement, access, and design. Economic effects predicted from this HIA may help decision‐makers
maximize desirable economic outcomes. Our findings indicate that CDT development has the potential
to attract many users from central and northwest New Mexico and provide substantial local economic
stimulation. This HIA will also serve as a model for others interested in studying and projecting both
health and economic impacts of new trails.
Authors: Hannah Stowe McMurry, Sally Davis, PhD, Theresa Cruz, PhD
Obesity is a serious health issue and is a primary risk factor for a myriad of chronic diseases. Obesity is rooted in socio-cultural, economic, and political factors, and thus disparities exist in the obesity disease burden. In the United States, poorer and rural populations, as well as Hispanic and American Indian populations, suffer elevated obesity rates. Physical activity is a key obesity and chronic disease prevention and treatment mechanism, and research shows that broad-based, multi-component, community-wide initiatives are effective in increasing physical activity within communities. However, most prevention efforts have been designed for urban, non-Hispanic and non-Native populations. More research is needed in order to create successful prevention programs for rural and diverse communities. This study focuses on Cuba, New Mexico - a rural, under-resourced, and majority Hispanic and American Indian community that suffers a disproportionate chronic disease burden. This study is a component of the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center’s evaluation of the VIVA-Step Into Cuba initiative, a physical activity-focused prevention program. Data were analyzed from three consecutive years of an annual VIVA-Step Into Cuba cross-sectional survey. Nine walking related and demographic variables were analyzed in order to describe differences in barriers and facilitators to physical activity within the Cuba population. Differences in facilitators and barriers by gender and age were identified. The findings of this study provide insight not only in terms of improving the Step Into Cuba program, but also in terms of designing more effective rural and minority physical activity interventions
Authors: T.H. Cruz, PhD, S.M. Davis, PhD, R.L. Kozoll, MD, MPH, A. Schulte, S. I. Mishra, PhD
How does a small, rural community effectively implement the CDC’s Community Guide recommendations for promoting physical activity?
Authors: Sally Davis, PhD, Shiraz Mishra, MBBS, PhD, Alejandro Ortega, BS, Kathryn Peters, MA, MCRP, and Felipe Amaral, MA
The New Mexico SEPA project engages rural Hispanic and American Indian middle school students in the science around us, through curricula, summer camp, field trips, career days, school gardens, nature hikes and other learning opportunities in and out of the classroom. Emphasis is placed on role models, health careers, healthy living, and natural history. Learning activities are inquiry based, culturally appropriate and educationally sound. Frequent “think tanks” ensure teacher input and guidance. Professional development is aligned with the program objectives and needs of the teachers.
Authors: Jennifer Johnston, BS, and Glenda Canaca, MD
Despite the many public health interventions in the past 40 years, in 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that rates of obesity, overweight, and disease related to diet are high, indicating that education alone is not adequate to change behavior. Social marketers have developed a specific planning process using traditional commercial marketing techniques to create positive social behavior change. Based on these principles and other specific strategies, the UNM PRC social marketing team developed and pilot tested a campaign in Santa Fe, NM, that showed promising results (an average increase of 0.76 serving per day, from baseline to follow-up, in fruit and vegetable consumption in the intervention group). The proposed intervention builds on these findings to test the campaign in rural communities across NM.
Authors: Linda J. Peñaloza, Cristina Murray-Krezan, Courtney FitzGerald, and José Canaca
The Risk/Resiliency Assessment Project for Students (RAPS) uses a positive youth development approach to engage students directly in the analysis and reporting of their school’s 2011 NM-YRRS data. Participants were 35 high school students from two Albuquerque area high schools who attended a day-long project retreat. Survey metrics included pre/post tests for critical health literacy, participant sense of community engagement, and pre/post assessment of student self-efficacy and civic attitudes. Survey items were derived from The Measure of Service Learning: Research Scales to Assess Student Experiences.
Authors: Abigail Velasquez, Theresa Cruz, PhD, Andrea Cantarero, BSEH, Sally Davis, PhD
The QUITNOW program is an evidence-based method for increasing tobacco cessation in New Mexico. Although many efforts have been made to create and implement tobacco cessation interventions, research on the effectiveness of such programs in rural communities is limited. Data obtained from cities are typically generalized to all communities. This study aims to address the following question: "To what extent are adults in rural communities engaging in the QUITNOW program compared with adults in urban communities?" We hypothesize that rural communities may have a considerably lower rate of accessing QUITNOW than urban communities because of unique circumstances, which vary according to community. Rates of QUITNOW use will be calculated for each zip code in New Mexico. We will analyze the ratio of the total number of initial contacts to the eighteen and over population who are tobacco users interested in quitting. Data from rural communities will be compared with data from urban communities, statistically by t-test. We found the initial contact rate to be significantly lower (P=.03) in rural communities than that of urban communities. Results also indicated there was not a statistical difference in enrollees. This research will inform development of a focus group to better understand barriers to QUITNOW use in rural communities. It will also inform future interventions to increase use of QUITNOW in those communities. Tobacco-free living is an essential component of reducing health disparities. Our findings regarding disparities associated with residence in a rural community will help to address gaps in our knowledge.
Authors: Courtney Thornton, Theresa Cruz, PhD, and Sally Davis, PhD
Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) contributes to increasing obesity rates because they are a highly caloric beverage with poor nutritional value. Substituting SSB consumption with water consumption will help to decrease obesity. Water consumption is affected by various factors, including water access, a clean water supply, SSB popularity, policies, recommendations, and individual perceptions. Little research has addressed water consumption in rural populations. We are investigating access to drinking water of residents of the rural multicultural town of Cuba, NM. A literature review is being conducted on the advantages of water consumption and adverse effects of SSBs. Field observations assessed access to water and water quality in schools. Federal, state and local requirements for water in schools are being reviewed. A modified version of the Nutrition Environment Measurements Survey will assess the availability and pricing of water in comparison to that of SSBs. An analysis of a transcribed meeting on community water consumption will provide information on the knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes of community members regarding their water supply and consumption rates. A geographic information system map will be used to document water sources and quality as previously determined by annual tests (2004-14). Our findings should provide information on environmental factors influencing water consumption in Cuba that inform development of a community guide to facilitate discussions about increasing water consumption in that community. This information will also contribute to research on increasing drinking water consumption in other rural communities.
Authors: Hannah Torres, Theresa Cruz, PhD, Andrea Cantarero, BSEH, and Sally Davis, PhD
Rural residents are often less active than urban and suburban residents. Reasons cited in the literature include certain environmental barriers such as lack of sidewalks, bike lanes, and affordable exercise facilities. The VIVA-Step Into Cuba project aims to address these barriers in Cuba, NM, by implementing community-wide interventions to increase physical activity. The aim of this study was to determine whether the implemented interventions resulted in an increase in walking over time. The data were collected according to methods established by the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Project. These methods included field observations performed by trained researchers and community members on three days of the week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) during two time intervals (12 noon-2 pm and 5 pm-7 pm). The total sample included counts of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized traffic obtained in the month of May from 2010-2015 and totaled 1,772 observations in three established locations. Data were characterized by type of traffic, location, gender, age, and year. Analysis showed a decline in travels over the study period, with an average decrease of 9. 08 people per year. There was an increase of about 5.2 pedestrians per year among individuals under the age of 18. Weather may have accounted for the decline, as rain was documented on observation dates for the last three years, while the first three were indicated as sunny or mild weather. These results will be used by the VIVA project to tailor further interventions to increase physical activity in rural communities in New Mexico.
Authors: Quirin Martine, Andrea Cantarero, BSEH, and Sally Davis, PhD
Village Interventions and Venues for Action II (VIVA II) is an applied public health research project on the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based strategies for preventing chronic disease in rural communities in New Mexico. Implementation of VIVA programs requires characterized, identifiable community profiles to help determine which communities would benefit from the preventive strategies. As part of the profiling process, we asked, “How are NM rural communities different from those in NM and the US as a whole in regard to social determinants of public health and health outcomes?”