Skip to Main Content


Latinx 1.5th Generation Immigrants Making Ends Meet in Southern California

PI: Leisy Abrego (Chicana/o and Central American Studies)

Co-PI: Daniel Millán (Chicano Studies Research Center)

Research on Latinx 1.5 generation immigrants highlights their educational experiences, marriage and family formation, and lifecourse trajectories. Yet, few studies have explicitly analyzed how they make ends meet despite persistent income and wealth inequality in the United States. Latinx 1.5 generation immigrants can hold varied legal statuses, experience educational exclusion, and can have limited occupational choices. In turn, they can live in poverty, have fewer social safety nets, and face the socioemotional consequences of economic precarity. However, they can receive DACA, can permanently adjust their legal status, and benefit from public and political support which can reduce poverty and promote upward mobility. California is an ideal site to address this gap in knowledge as the state with the largest population of Latinx undocumented immigrants. This project analyzes how Latinx 1.5 generation immigrants develop strategies to make ends meet in California and contributes to theorizing their everyday experiences and socioemotional wellbeing.


The West LA Youth Civic Empowerment Collaborative

PI: Douglas Barrera (Center for Community Engagement)

The West LA Youth Civic Empowerment Collaborative further develops existing partnerships between the UCLA Center for Community Engagement and youth-serving organizations in west Los Angeles to develop the critical consciousness of students and youth of color. Specifically, we work with the Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club, Mar Vista Family Center, and Safe Place for Youth. The Collaborative provides scholarship funding to UCLA undergraduates to be trained in Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) alongside staff members from these organizations. Training is conducted by the Social Justice Learning Institute, a nonprofit organization located in Inglewood, CA. Upon completion of this “train the trainer” training, the UCLA students work with their nonprofit counterparts to develop and implement YPAR programming with youth served by these organizations. In this way, the UCLA students serve as research and activism mentors to their younger peers. The UCLA students commit to participating in the Collaborative for an entire academic year. At the end of the academic year, the UCLA undergraduates join their youth peers in disseminating the findings from their action research projects through a public forum. As part of their dissemination, an expectation is that the research groups will make recommendations for how to address a social issue relevant to the youth and their communities, further empowering all of the researchers as civic actors.


Sleeping Well in a Changing Climate: Heat and Sleep Health in an Urban Environmental Justice Community

PI: Laura Cushing (Environmental Health Sciences)

This study will leverage community-based participatory research to understand whether heat reduces sleep duration and quality in the predominantly Latinx neighborhood of Pacoima, Los Angeles, California. Less than half of Americans get the recommended amount of sleep, with sleep deficiencies disproportionately impacting communities of color. Insufficient sleep over the long term increases the risk of depression, dementia, stroke, and heart disease. Higher temperatures have both been linked to poorer sleep, and climate change is causing significant increases in daytime and nighttime temperatures. We will measure daily exposure to outdoor and indoor temperature among 15 Latinx adults and quantify associations with sleep duration and quality measured via actigraphy and daily sleep diaries. Outcomes will (1) enhance community understanding of climate change and sleep health and capacity to participate in the scientific process; and (2) generate new knowledge about the implications of climate change for health disparities in an environmental justice community.


Cultural Mismatch in Peer Relations: A Natural Experiment in UCLA's Living/Learning Communities

PI: Patricia Greenfield (Psychology)

Co-PI: Rocio Burgos-Calvillo (Psychology)

We will investigate cultural value differences between roommates at UCLA. Our study explores the role of a neglected barrier in peer relations, socioeconomic (SES) disparities. SES disparities are particularly significant for Latinx students because, at UCLA, first-generation college status and low-income backgrounds are particularly prevalent among Latinx students. The eight living/learning dormitory communities at UCLA create a natural experiment. Because these communities vary in their ethnic and social-class composition, our comparison will reveal the implications of ethnic similarity/difference and SES similarity/difference for cultural conflict, sense of well-being, school belonging, and academic outcomes. Based on our past research, we predict that there will be more peer-peer cultural value conflict, more psychological stress, a lower sense of school belonging, and less favorable academic outcomes reported by students residing in living/learning communities with higher SES diversity, regardless of ethnicity. Our findings will have relevance for practices and policies surrounding college dormitory life.


Cultural and Linguistic Adaptation of a Trauma Informed, Preventive Intervention for Spanish Speaking Latinx Families

PI: Nastassia Hajal (Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences)

Co-PI: Blanca Orellana (Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences)

Health disparities researchers have extensively documented how historical exclusion, discrimination, and oppression have prevented ethnic minorities from accessing culturally relevant interventions that could support the healthy development of diverse children and youth. Previous research provides support for the positive impact of the Families Over-Coming Under Stress (FOCUS) Program on parent and child mental health symptoms, parent-child relationships, and healthy parenting practices, including for families that identify as Latinx. However, to date, FOCUS has only been studied in English-speaking families. This project aims to formally adapt and pilot test a Spanish-language version of FOCUS-Early Childhood (FOCUS-EC). Specifically, it will:

  • Translate the FOCUS-EC provider manual, family handouts, provider training, and assessment materials
  • Conduct an open trial of the Spanish-language version of FOCUS-EC. 

Materials developed and preliminary findings will support a proposal for a funding to test a larger, randomized trial to formally test the efficacy of the Spanish-language version of FOCUS-EC.


Intersectional Geographies: Queer of Color Los Angeles and the Politics of Belonging

PI: Juan Herrera (Geography)

This book-length project probes the politics in the making of queer of color geographies in Los Angeles. We know that the city of LA has is a thriving network of services and spaces that cater to a queer demographic. Yet alongside these establishments, there are specific places branded exclusively as queer or color, meaning that the spaces have an understanding that queer people also experience racism, gender discrimination, and classism alongside their experience of being sexual minorities. This book project questions what it means to conceptualize intersectionality through a spatial framework. What are the politics of building intersectional spaces? What identities, institutional formations, and geographical locations are privileged (and/or rendered invisible) in the making of intersectional spaces and movements? I analyze how disparate nonprofit organizations, nightclubs, health agencies, and everyday residents collectively help to constitute and define resources, experiences, and spaces for queer of color Angelenos.


Picturing Mexican America

PI: Marissa López (English)

Picturing Mexican America (PMA) is a cluster of digital humanities projects committed to illuminating the long, Mexican history of Los Angeles that’s been systematically erased through centuries of white, cultural supremacy. At PMA’s core is a mobile app, built in collaboration with the Los Angeles Public Library, that displays images of 19th-century, Mexican Los Angeles to users based on their location. Beyond the app, PMA is a research and teaching hub partnering with local organizations including 826LA, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, and the Los Angeles Explorers Club. Find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Integrated Care Treatment for Latinx Spanish-Speaking Adolescents with PTSD

PI: Lauren Ng (Psychology)

Low-income, Latinx, Black, and immigrant youth are disproportionally affected by traumatic events and subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, due to structural inequities, they are less likely to receive treatment. The Primary Care Intervention for PTSD (PCIP) addresses health service barriers and increases access to care. The PCIP is currently being evaluated in LA County pediatrics clinics which serve a majority Latinx population. More than 40% of patients speak Spanish as their primary language. However, the PCIP has not been culturally adapted for Latinx communities, or translated into Spanish and evaluated. As a result, more than 50% of the LA County adolescent patients with PTSD are being turned away from the research study and subsequently, the PCIP treatment. The current study expands access to PTSD treatment by contextually, culturally, and linguistically adapting the PCIP for Spanish speaking Latinx adolescents and assesses the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the adapted treatment.


Expanding Peer Mentoring for Patients with Kidney Disease to the Spanish-Speaking Population

PI: Jenny Shen (Medicine)

Co-PI: Alejandra Casillas (Medicine)

This project will expand the National Kidney Foundation’s PEERs Program to the Spanish-speaking community. The PEERs Program is a free, confidential, phone-based peer mentoring program that connects patients with kidney disease to mentors who also have kidney disease and went through similar experiences. We will develop and test the best way to introduce the PEERs Program to Spanish-speaking patients with kidney disease who live in the Los Angeles area and get medical care in the safety-net clinics and hospitals. These patients face many challenges in maintaining good kidney health because of the language they speak, where they live, or their limited income and education. This project will help this community tackle the challenges of managing their kidney health by connecting them with fellow patients who speak the same language and can provide emotional support and advice on how to access resources and information they need to thrive.