- Joe Sammen, MPH
- Karen Albright, PhD, MSW
- Maria de Jesus Diaz-Perez, PhD
Research Project Description
Immigrants are a particularly vulnerable group for the health care system in Colorado. Patchwork coverage and care options exist for some, but not all. Without a comprehensive system, many do not get their health care needs met. For those living in rural Colorado, these challenges can be exacerbated by a fragmented health care system and significant deficiencies in the health care workforce. Couple these systemic challenges with the struggles of an immigrant’s daily life, including struggles with other basic needs (e.g., access to quality housing, food, transportation, etc.), discrimination, being targeted by racially motivated immigration enforcement, and difficulty navigating other institutions and systems, and immigrants are among rural Colorado’s most vulnerable populations.
This research project will explore how the health systems in two rural Colorado communities, Fort Morgan and the Roaring Fork Valley, can better serve immigrants by addressing both social determinants of health (SDOH) and structural and institutional factors that affect health. This will involve working with motivated clinical partners to identify and implement a culturally responsive and community-tailored SDOH intervention or institutional policy change.
This study has the potential to change the provider-patient interaction and system-patient interaction in ways that not only improve access to care, but also may help to alleviate some of the burden that SDOH places on populations seeking health care.
Joe Sammen, MPH
At his core, Joe believes the desire for good health is the closest thing our society has to a universal goal, making the promise of health equity an incredible call to action for people from all walks of life. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Center for Health Progress. Joe earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and computer science at the University of Denver and also holds a master’s in public health from the University of Washington.
Karen Albright, PhD, MSW
Karen Albright is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology & Criminology at the University of Denver and an Affiliated Investigator at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. A health services researcher, she seeks to understand health behaviors among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and the barriers to their care. Her areas of expertise include qualitative methodologies and implementation science.
Maria de Jesus Diaz-Perez, PhD
Maria Diaz-Perez, Director of Public Reporting at the Center for Improving Value in Health Care, is responsible for advancing health care performance measures to drive a healthier Colorado. Her long held goal is promoting immigrants’ successful integration by improving their access to a responsive, efficient, effective and equitable health system.