You read a restaurant review on Yelp. You survey the menu and ask a friend about their favorite dish. You may even ask the waiter for more information about the ingredients. Who would have thought that going out to dinner would require so much research?
Informally, we use research to help us make decisions in our daily lives. Formally, research is used to gather information and discover associations between topics. With an interest in learning more about underserved populations, I used research techniques to explore barriers to oral health for Latinos in eastern North Carolina from the perspective of community health workers.
Current evidence suggests a disproportionately high occurrence of preventable oral diseases in Latino populations. An article in the journal General Dentistry by Lugo et al. found that 65 percent of Hispanics reported having one or more dental problems in the past year compared to 53 percent of the general population. The use of trained educators from local communities (promotoras) is an effective technique in producing health behavior changes in minority populations. As part of a study organized by Dr. Gloria Mejia, my research involved gathering the community workers’ opinions on challenges to receiving oral health through group interviews. The findings were categorized into six themes.
Read the rest of this article in the November/December issue of Contour magazine.