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August 18, 2016

Puerto Rico

Given the economic, political, environmental, educational, and health system challenges that Puerto Rico currently faces, the quality of life of its residents and overall population health are strongly influenced by these social determinants of health.

Partners: University of Rochester, University of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an island nation (including Culebra, Vieques, Caja de Muerto, Mona, Desecheo & the main island, Puerto Rico) surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, located south of the United States of America. Puerto Rico consists of about 5300 square miles of land with a total population of approximately 3.6 million people (about the size and population of Connecticut).

The Global Network’s Collaborating Center at the University of Rochester works closely with the University of Puerto Rico, its NIEHS-funded PROTECT initiative (Puerto Rico Testsite for Examining Contamination Threats), and with the HRSA, Bureau of Primary Health Care, Community Health Center program on the island.

Working closely with Carmen Milagros Vélez Vega PhD MSW and José F. Cordero MD, MPH and their team at the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Public Health, this collaborative has identified two projects affiliated to pursue:

1) Better understanding of women’s decision-making around participating in and contributing to genetic testing and genetic research, particularly participants in the PROTECT project.

2) Understanding of how communities can engage with their environments and resources to remove mosquito risk from their homes and neighborhoods, largely inspired by the recent outbreaks of mosquito-borne illness in Puerto Rico.

Both projects are qualitatively-oriented, community-based, and help generate insights into how community voices can be heard and integrated into public health plans and programs. Further, the team has explored adapting the methods used in Puerto Rico to conduct similar assessments in the United States, where both projects have direct applicability.

CDC Global and Territorial Health Research Network Coordinating Center

CDC’s Prevention Research Centers Program