Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA)

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delarosaCRUSADA is a multidisciplinary research, education, and community outreach center that was established in 2003 by Dr. Mario De La Rosa to address the twin epidemics of substance abuse and HIV in Latino communities throughout South Florida. CRUSADA’s health disparities research addresses gaps in the literature on HIV and substance abuse among Latino populations. The Center also develops a cadre of doctoral students at FIU who will conduct behavioral research on the nature and extent of health disparities in HIV and substance abuse; supports the career development of postdoctoral trainees at FIU conducting behavioral research on these twin epidemics; and provides training to community leaders on the conduct of research on these issues in Latino populations and to develop their general research skills.

The Center has established ongoing, innovative partnerships between academic institutions and community based organizations (CBOs), helping bridge the gap between research and practice by transforming research results into best-practice, culturally competent models and prevention interventions that can be utilized by CBOs to curb the spread of HIV and substance abuse.

CRUSADA’s dedication to help reduce the spread of HIV and substance abuse in Latino communities is evidenced by the more than $15 million in highly competitive funding the Center has been awarded over the past decade through various agencies within the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), and the National Institute of Mental Health. Currently, CRUSADA is home to an NIMHD P20 Exploratory Center of Excellence research grant, funded in 2007 and refunded in 2012, and an NINR R01 research grant.

The NIMHD P20 Center of Excellence grant, titled Center for Substance Use and HIV/AIDS Research on Latinos in the United States (C-SALUD), focuses on Latino immigrant and migrant farmworker substance abuse and HIV behaviors. Within this grant, there are two major subprojects: the Recent Latina Immigrant Study (Dr. Frank Dillon, PI) and the Migrant Farmworker Study (Dr. Jesus Sanchez, PI).

The NINR R01 grant, titled A Longitudinal Study of Drug Abuse and HIV Risk Among Latina Mother-daughter Dyads, also referred to as “The Women Study” (Dr. Mario De La Rosa, PI), examines how substance use (licit and illicit) and HIV risk behavior trajectories of a community-based sample of Latina mothers and daughters are influenced by changes in familial (mother-daughter) acoplamiento or attachment and other cultural and social determinants of substance abuse and HIV risk behaviors over time.

CRUSADA faculty, staff, and students have an extensive record of scientific publications. Over the past fiscal year (beginning July 1st, 2012), 17 articles have been published, are in-press, or have been accepted for publication in peer-review scientific journals; over 35 additional articles are underway in various stages of the publication process (i.e., under review, in progress, to be submitted); and CRUSADA personnel have presented at 14 conferences.

Read more about CRUSADA on the Center’s website: http://crusada.fiu.edu/

Author: Cecile Houry

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