Latino-to-Latino: Promotores' Beliefs on Engaging Latino Participants in Autism Research

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2021 Jun 22. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-01053-0. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: In Latino(a) communities, promotores de salud (i.e., community health workers; promotores) are becoming critical participants in prevention, health promotion, and the delivery of health care. Although involving culturally diverse participants in research is a national priority, recruitment and retention of research participants from these groups is challenging. Therefore, there is an increased need to identify strategies for successful recruitment of participants from underrepresented minority backgrounds. Our overall study purpose was to gain promotores’ perspectives on recruiting Latino(a) immigrant community members for an intervention study on autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The goal of this paper is to explore insider promotores’ views on the barriers and facilitators to research participation in the Latino(a) community and learn strategies for recruiting Latino(a) participants in a nontraditional destination city.

METHODS: We conducted qualitative focus groups with an established group of promotores known as Latinos Unidos por la Salud (LU-Salud), who were members of a community-academic research team. Fifteen LU-Salud promotores participated in the focus groups. Focus group interviews were analyzed by using Leininger’s data analysis enabler. These results will inform our partnerships with promotores and Latino(a) neighborhood agencies to increase recruitment for community-based research on promoting awareness of ASD among Latino(a) families.

RESULTS: Promotores were credible community members able to gain community trust and committed to improving the health and well-being of their Latino(a) community, including involving them in research. Latino(a) research involvement meant facilitating community members’ engagement to overcome barriers of distrust around legal and health care systems. Challenges included legal uncertainties, language and literacy barriers, health knowledge, and economic hardship. Promotores also voiced the diversity of cultural practices (subcultures) within the Latino(a) culture that influenced: (1) research engagement, (2) guidance from promotores, (3) immersion in the Latino(a) community, and (4) health and well-being. Experienced promotores, who are living in a nontraditional migration area, believe the primary facilitator to increasing research involvement is Latino(a)-to-Latino(a) recruitment.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings will aid in building partnerships to recruit participants for future studies that promote early recognition of ASD in the Latino(a) community.

PMID:34156630 | DOI:10.1007/s40615-021-01053-0