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9: Health

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    Learning Objectives


    In this chapter, you will learn about the factors, conditions, and cultural contexts that influence Chicanx and Latinx health. This includes health outcomes and behaviors that occur at the individual level, like disease, illness, and well-being. It also includes the collective realities of communities, organizations, politics, and social constructions that influence patterns of health disparities and inequalities. Many negative factors like attempted genocide, settler-colonialism, systemic racism, xenophobia, and intersectional oppression create distinct risks for negative health in Chicanx and Latinx communities. However, we’ll also explore the many factors that promote health, strength, resilience, and tenacity among the diverse communities (i.e., Mexican, Mestizxs, Indigenous Mexican, Central American, Chicanxs, Latinx, South American, Indigenous Latinx, etc.) that make up these populations. 

    In the first section, you will have the opportunity to explore these broader factors and understand the conceptual frameworks for analyzing health. This includes a discussion of institutional health, traditional health, and processes that affect migrant communities and people of color, like acculturation. This also emphasizes the importance of an intersectional perspective, including feminist and queer contributions to the promotion of Chicanx and Latinx health. Then, you will have an opportunity to explore these concepts in the realm of mental health, learning about some of the documented disparities in this area. While Latinx people suffer many risk factors, the “Latino Health Paradox” has been noted by health researchers, as Latinx people fare better with respect to some health outcomes, especially among first-generation immigrants, compared to non-Hispanic whites and other communities of color. 

    In the final section, we will be broadening the scope to look at the environments that influence health, including the relationships between human societies and the natural world, as well as the environments where Latinx people live and work. These topics have become discussed more widely in recent years, thanks to the activism of social movement leaders. For example, the globally recognized Indigenous-led struggles to stop and prevent pipeline projects in the U.S. and Canada have elevated conversations about the importance of protecting healthy water supplies for humans. As well, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to society’s attention the working conditions that influence health among many working-class communities, including industries that disproportionately employ Latinxs, including agriculture, retail, logistics, construction, maintenance, and sanitation.

    • 9.1: Frameworks for Analyzing Chicanx and Latinx Health
      This section explores the conceptual tools for understanding Chicanx and Latinx community health. It highlights the historical and contemporary challenges faced by these communities, including colonization, violence, acculturation, and environmental toxins. The section emphasizes the importance of culture and its influence on health, considering factors such as nationality, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, language, and disability.
    • 9.2: Mental Health
      This section discusses the prevalence of mental health conditions among Latinx individuals and the factors that impact Chicanx and Latinx mental health. Factors such as trauma, discrimination, restrictive immigration policies, and structural vulnerability contribute to mental health disparities. Barriers to accessing care include fear of deportation, discrimination, and mistrust. A comprehensive model for mental health services is proposed to address disparities.
    • 9.3: Environmental Justice and Health
      This section highlights the interdependence of the environment and human society, emphasizing the impact on individual and community health. It discusses how structural inequalities disproportionately affect communities of color, low-income areas, and immigrants, leading to unhealthy environments. The section also explores environmental justice advocacy, showcasing grassroots efforts led by Latina/x activists.
    • 9.4: Workplace Health
      This section discusses the factors influencing workplace health for Chicanx and Latinx communities. It highlights the overrepresentation of these groups in industries with high risks of exposure to toxic chemicals, exacerbated by language barriers and exploitation of legal and immigration status. The COVID-19 pandemic further emphasized the health vulnerabilities faced by essential workers, including agricultural workers and retail clerks, who were disproportionately impacted by infection rates.
    • 9.5: Conclusion

    This page titled 9: Health is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mario Alberto Viveros Espinoza-Kulick & Melissa Moreno (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .