Ginny Garcia-Alexander joined the Sociology Department as part of the Social Determinants of Health Initiative at PSU. The initiative brings together faculty researchers from multiple disciplines to further the investigation of the social determinants of health as well as foster community engagement and ultimately improve the health of Oregonians. Upon her arrival, Ginny began work on Medicaid Enrollment in partnership with the Center for Outcomes Research and Education and the Harvard School of Public Health. This research project concentrates on increasing rates of enrollment among those who qualify for Medicaid and will eventually evaluate the impacts of enrollment on utilization of preventive care and health outcomes. She has also partnered with the Office of Equity and Inclusion at the Oregon Health Authority to investigate the extent of racial and ethnic disparities in health in Oregon and the economic costs associated with such disparities. The findings from these studies will be used as a platform from which to develop intervention strategies aimed at reducing gaps related to the working environment, income inequality, and others which are shown to negatively influence health.
Ginny has also conducted research on the influence of religion on health, including risky behaviors among Latinos and infant mortality rates. Recently, the research she conducted with colleagues from University of Texas-San Antonio, on the effects of religious attendance on binge drinking and smoking in Latinos was featured in an online news outlet. Click here for a link to the feature: http://www.dugdug.com/dr-garcia-alexander-discusses-latinos-in-texas