For us it is of utmost importance to support research initiatives that impact the community which we serve. That is why we have developed alliances with governmental offices and community-based organizations to support activities aim to increase public education on the prevention of important diseases for our communities, and to develop research initiatives based on structured assessments of community needs through participatory methods.

Below you will find information about the Endowed Health Services Research Center’s (EHSRC) community projects.

A community partnership to understand and address health disparities in a low-income Hispanic community

Since 2010, the University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine through the Endowed Health Services Research Center has been engaged in the project “Salud para Piñones”, a community academy partnership based on the principles of Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR).  This partnership is an example of the commitment of the UPR School of Medicine to improve and address health disparities affecting the communities that we serve through the integration of service and research.  It is also an example of the commitment of an eager community that is looking for answers to their problems.  This effort had provided a unique opportunity for medical students and residents to better understand the interaction of the social determinants of health in the health outcomes of their patients.

Collaboration between community and academy members

A steering committee consisting of Piñones’ community members and researchers from the University of Puerto Rico-School of Medicine (UPR-SoM) was established after the community requested assistance to define the processes needed to better understand and address health disparities in their community. A community action plan with a three phased approach was developed:

This resulted in a parallel action plan based on community-based research and a community outreach agenda.

Community-based research activities

Project: Evaluation of community health needs through participatory research: Building bridges to address health disparities in Puerto Rico and assessment of pediatric health needs through participatory approach

Project: “Aprendiendo y cultivando”: An enhanced school-garden intervention to increase fruits and vegetables intake in a low-income Hispanic community in Puerto Rico

Project: A multilevel intervention for chronic disease self-management in the community

Pilot project: Outdoor aeroallergens as risk factors for triggering children’s asthma in low-income communities in Puerto Rico

For more info about the Salud para Piñones partnership click here:

Other collaborations of Community Health Research Unit

The EHSRC has been working in collaboration with the Division for Prevention and Control of Chronic Diseases (DPCCD) of the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDoH) and other entities in the development and implementation of interventions to increase access to evidence-based interventions and health related education and preventive care in underserved communities in Puerto Rico, as are diabetes, hypertension and asthma.  Below will be find details of the collaborations worked by EHSRC.

Community Health Workers (CHWs) to support Diabetes Self-Management

During 2015-2016, it was developed and implemented the project entitled “Community Health Workers (CHWs) to support Diabetes Self-Management” in collaboration with the DPCCD, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This project aims to: 1. develop a training for community health workers who would be facilitating educational interventions and community outreach activities, 2. implement in the community an evidence-based intervention to train diabetic patients on self-management of diabetes, facilitated by health promoters, and 3. assess the effectiveness of this intervention in improving self-management behaviours and clinical measures in patients with diabetes.  The project was conducted in municipalities of the Northwest Region of P.R.

The intervention facilitated by the community health workers (CHWs) was divided into two stages: phase of intervention and follow-up phase. For the first phase of the intervention the participants take a workshop entitled Diabetes Education and Empowerment Program (DEEP).  DEEP Workshop consists of 6 to 8 group sessions offered weekly to work knowledge and basic skills in diabetes self-management.  The topics covered in the workshop of DEEP: information about diabetes, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, complications, lifestyle modifications, psychosocial aspects, self-care skills, goal setting and identifying of the health professionals and use of community resources. The second phase of the intervention consisted of individual follow-up with the CHWs.  In individual follow-ups were reinforced knowledge and acquired skills related to diabetes self-management. In addition, in this phase the CHWs worked with barriers and facilitators related to the practices of daily care of the diabetes.  The topics reinforced during follow-up were self-monitoring of diabetes and blood pressure, adherence to medical treatment, doctor-patient communication, healthy eating and physical activity.

Puerto Rico Million Hearts: High Blood Pressure Management and Control Training Project

Puerto Rico Million Hearts was an initiative, sponsored by the Task Force for Global Health of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the Division for Prevention and Control of Chronic Diseases (DPCCD) of the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDoH), aimed to conduct, and evaluate the implementation of training related with the guidelines for high blood pressure management and control. As part of this project, EHSRC developed a 4-hour training in topics related with clinical strategies for hypertension management and control. A total of 146 health care providers were trained in hypertension clinical guidelines. The training sessions were offered by Dr. Anthony Ostherman, physician and fellow from the Cardiology Division of the Internal Medicine, School of Medicine (UPR), faculty from the EHSRC, Cardiology and Family Medicine Departments from the School of Medicine and speakers from DPCCD.

Asthma Program: Home-visitors Project and Healthcare provider’s trainings

During the years 2017 and 2019, a collaboration has been through to support the Division for Prevention and Control of Chronic Diseases (DPCCD) of the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDoH) in the implementation of an evidenced-based asthma home-visiting project to improve asthma management and control in communities with high prevalence of asthma and high levels of healthcare services utilization in Puerto Rico. EHSRC held two trainings for home-visitors in basic skills to serve as educators and facilitators of asthma services through the home-visitors project.  The speakers of the home-visitors training program included faculty from the EHSRC, Family Medicine Department of the School of Medicine among other lecturers.

In addition, EHSRC collaborated in the implementation of training sessions to increase the number of health providers trained in evidence-based clinical practices for management and control of adult and pediatric asthma, and, thus, promote the use of these practices in clinical scenarios in PR.  EHSRC design and develop the training, as well as the organization and realization of it. The training sessions were directed to providers or health professionals in the metropolitan area, west and south of P.R. The content was based on the PR Department of Health guidelines. It included the following topics: epidemiology of asthma in P.R. and E.U., definition and diagnosis of asthma, assessment of severity and comorbidities, medical treatment and patient control and education strategies. The training sessions were conducted in San Juan, Carolina, Bayamón and Mayaguez.