Home » 2015 ANNUAL MEETING » Presidential Address

Presidential Address

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

3:00 pm – 3:45 pm


Regency Ballroom A

Welcome and Introduction:  Laurie Miller Brotman, PhD, Bezos Family Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Development, Department of Population Health, Professor, Department of Psychiatry Population Health, New York University School of Medicine

Presenter: Felipe Gonzalez Castro, PhD, MSW, Professor and Director of Health Psychology and Senior Advisor to the Provost for Engaged Health Disparities Scholarship, University of Texas at El Paso

Reducing Health Inequalities by the Application of Best Scientific Knowledge, Methods, and Interventions: What the Society for Prevention Research Can Do

The goal of reducing and ideally eliminating health inequalities, also referred to as health disparities, is a worldwide public health imperative. Health inequalities refer to disparate rates of disease and behavioral disorders observed across populations or subcultural groups. These disparities exist across all age groups- ranging from differences across racial/ethnic groups in infant mortality rates; to differences in drug use, HIV/AIDS, and in victimization from violence among adolescents and young adults; to deaths from the chronic degenerative diseases among middle aged adults and elders. Health disparities and inequalities constitute a major public health problem not only in the United States but also worldwide. A major approach to eliminate these health inequalities consists of an integrated multilevel intervention that changes the social determinants of these inequalities. This approach requires the coordinated implementation of an efficacious and culturally-relevant intervention implemented across several systemic levels ranging from the individual level to the level of social policy. The Society for Prevention Research is expert in its scientific knowledge base for making a significant contribution to the eradication of health disparities and inequalities. As one example, this integrative multilevel approach involves the translation and dissemination of efficacious interventions in a manner that reaches all sectors of the population within a community or region, especially reaching the community residents most affected by these inequalities and disparities: persons of low socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic minority individuals and families. This Presidential Address will examine and comment on major initiatives that the Society for Prevention Research can conduct to contribute to the goal of reducing or eliminating health inequalities, and in ways consistent with the organization’s mission. These significant and innovative contributions can include: (a) the development and application of innovative methodologies for the assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness of such multilevel interventions; (b) the application of these most efficacious interventions with the challenges involved in applying them at multiple systemic levels; (c) the use of systems science methods to model alternate change processes to inform policymakers on an optimal or most promising course of action; and (d) advocacy and the establishment of partnerships with federal and state organizations, and with non-governmental organizations, for the mobilization of diverse stakeholders in the application of community-based participatory methods for the collective design, organization, and implementation of best science-based interventions that are also designed for sustainability. This address will comment on major challenges involved in this collective effort, and will also discuss these approaches as potentially spearheaded by the Society for Prevention Research.

Felipe Gonzalez Castro, PhD, MSW

Felipe Gonzalez Castro, PhD, MSW

Felipe González Castro is Professor of Psychology and Head of the Health Psychology area in the Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Dr. Castro is a Hispanic health psychologist who earned his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Washington, Seattle Washington. His research examines multivariate models of health behavior and behavior change to study the role of cultural and non-cultural risk and protective factors in effecting drug, alcohol, or tobacco abuse. These models also examine motivational and familial factors in the prevention of type 2 diabetes among Hispanics/Latinos. His studies of cultural factors in Hispanic/Latino populations have examined the constructs of: acculturation, family traditions, machismo, ethnic pride, and resilience as associated with various health-related outcomes. Dr. Castro utilizes a stress-coping-resilience paradigm to understand how cognitive, affective and behavioral factors affect health and well-being, including resilience. He is also the originator of the Integrative Mixed Methods (IMM) methodology, which provides a rigorous approach to the conduct of mixed methods research as applicable to the study of the sociocultural determinants of health in Hispanic/Latino and other vulnerable populations. Dr. Castro has received research support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, from the National Cancer Institute, and recently from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2005, he was awarded the Community, Culture and Prevention Science Award from the Society for Prevention Research (SPR). He currently serves as the President of the Society for Prevention Research.