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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

UMass: Researcher Receives Grant to Study Stress and Chronic Disease Prevention in Low-Income Latino Men

Dr. Luis A. Valdez, assistant professor of health promotion and policy at University of Massachusetts-Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, recently received a two-year, $101,090 Administrative Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant funds an extension of an ongoing five-year, community-based participatory research project led by professor emeritus Dr. David Buchanan with Springfield’s Men of Color Health Awareness (MOCHA) group.

Researchers on the parent grant are investigating chronic disease prevention in older, low-income African-American men, researching ways to enhance MOCHA’s already successful support of African-American men’s health and skills for coping with stress, as well as collecting data on MOCHA’s approach to demonstrate the value of the program as a national model.

“The MOCHA program is the result of a grassroots, community-driven initiative to address the heavy burden of health disparities experienced by low-income African-American men living in Springfield, MA,” notes Dr. Valdez. “The MOCHA program addresses the physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs of men of color simultaneously in an integrated fashion.”

The new research will build upon the infrastructure and lessons learned from the parent grant to develop a study that will adapt the MOCHA program for Latinx men. Latinx men bear a disproportionate share of the burden of health disparities, in general, and chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, in particular.

“Our research will identify factors that have the greatest influence on stress and health behaviors in low-income Latinx men, and develop an innovative, community-driven program to improve the health and quality of life of these men,” says Dr. Valdez.

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