Stony Brook University, along with four other universities in the US, are working to address healthcare disparities in Latinx and migrant low-income communities.

This initiative is facilitated through a five-year $3.8m grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The research will focus on health-harming legal needs affecting communities disproportionately affected by diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV, asthma, and substance use disorders.

This study targets urban areas with significant Latinx and immigrant populations, including New York, Philadelphia, and San Juan.

The research team includes experts from Stony Brook, Boston University, the University of Central Florida, George Washington University, and the University of Puerto Rico.

The initiative aims to improve access to primary care for medically underserved communities.

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This is considering the wide-ranging healthcare disparities identified in Latinx populations compared to non-Latinx white populations, as reported by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Stony Brook School of Social Welfare assistant professor Maria E. Torres is a co-investigator in the project.

Stony Brook School of Social Welfare co-principal investigator Miguel Muñoz-Laboy said: “Our main concern is that because health-harming legal needs serve as underlying, persistent barriers to primary care for Latinx and migrant communities, these populations often don’t receive the proper preventive care or treatments that control chronic conditions.

“Some 85% of U.S. primary care providers report that unmet social and legal needs lead directly to negative health outcomes, so it is clear healthcare practitioners recognised the problem for which they do not have the capacity within the healthcare system to provide legal care.”