Marcela’s research is focused on exploring how health policy and the social determinants of health are shaped by their broader socioeconomic and political framework. She is interested in connecting the historical legacy of colonialism to the current local, state, and national context of political actors, social service organizations, and health care systems. Her research explores decision-making processes among leaders in these different sectors to better understand how and why they may hinder or support efforts to improve health equity, particularly for immigrants and people of color. She hopes to apply her research to help communities leverage their political and economic power, develop local solutions, and promote institutional changes that contribute to health equity.
MORE ABOUT MARCELA
As a bicultural mestiza growing up in an immigrant family of humble origins, Marcela was acutely aware of the dissonance between her family’s experience and popular narratives of political and economic prosperity. As a Health Policy Research Scholar, she feels empowered to combine her knowledge of immigrant communities with her professional experience in social work and public health to elevate children of diaspora as both a resource and a priority in health equity research.
DISSERTATION GRANT AWARDEE — MAY 2019
The Political Economy of Immigrant Health: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Social Capital and the Immigrant Paradox
This dissertation is framed as a body of interdisciplinary, multilevel and multisectoral approaches to explore immigrant health. I clarify the public policy environment, advance a conceptual framework, and explore measures of social capital and other determinants of health. Finally, I highlight opportunities for interdisciplinary research and conclude with a call to action for greater integration of political economists within health equity research.
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