Gubrium receives NIH grant to study culturally-centered approaches to health promotion

August 6, 2013

Aline Gubrium, Associate Professor of Community Health Education, was recently awarded a two-year, $454,958 grant from The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health. Gubrium’s study, titled “A Culture Centered Narrative Approach for Health Promotion”, will examine strategies to promote safer sex among Latina youth, who experience high rates of birth, HIV infection, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“One-size-fit-all interventions to promote safer sex among Latina youth are often ineffective,” says Gubrium. “Culturally centered approaches aim to affect the sustained use of practices, policies, and programs by understanding the ‘insider’ or ‘native’ perception of barriers or facilitators to these practices,” she notes.

The research team will use digital storytelling by young Latina participants to map how they perceive meanings of sexuality, sexual health, and wellbeing. The results of this process will be used in developing future sexual health interventions specific to the cultural context of the community.

“I have been working on various iterations of this proposal for the past several years now. I was stunned when I finally received this award. It's a classic lesson learned by academics--persistence, and patience for the revision process, can pay off,” says Gubrium. “It came as a very nice surprise,” she adds.

The research team includes Co-Investigators Gloria DiFulvio, Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Program Director in Public Health Sciences at UMass Amherst; Sarah Perez McAdoo, Director of the Youth Empowerment Adolescent Health Network (YEAH!); and Jeff Peterson, Associate Professor in Communications at Washington State University. Also on the team are Vanessa Pabón of the Latino Youth Media Institute at WGBY in Springfield, MA; and Amy Hill of the Center for Digital Storytelling.