Growing Up Latino and Surviving to 25 slated ...
NEWS | April 9, 2013

Growing Up Latino and Surviving to 25 slated for April 23

Panel discussion to be moderated by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa


“Growing Up Latino and Surviving to 25,” a panel discussion exploring the mental-health challenges faced by Latino youth in the United States, will be held at UC Davis on April 23 and moderated by award-winning journalist and host of the National Public Radio program “Latino USA" Maria Hinojosa.

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola

"Growing Up Latino" will be held from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, in the Multipurpose Room of the Student Community Center on the UC Davis campus. The event is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, El Futuro Media Group and the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center.

Experts including Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, and Lina Mendez, postdoctoral scholar, will discuss the findings of the June 2012 report on mental-health services for Latino youth and others in California. “Community-Defined Solutions for Latino Mental-Health Care Disparitiesis based on input from more than 550 Latinos from 13 cities and two high schools who participated in community forums statewide.

To prepare the report, a UC Davis research team conducted community forums on mental-health services for Latinos, gathering perspectives from providers, community leaders, and consumers and their families. Each forum focused on prevention and early intervention services. Participants were asked to describe barriers to mental-health care, as well as programs, practices, models, resources and approaches that would help eliminate them.

The study found that Latinos, including youth, are susceptible to social and economic stresses related to intergenerational dynamics, acculturation issues, poverty, poor housing, inadequate transportation, abuse, trauma, language barriers, social exclusion and discrimination, all of which contribute to conditions such as depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and anxiety disorders.

Many Latinos do not seek treatment because of stigma or lack of information about the importance of mental-health care; others do not have access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services for managing mental-health conditions. The researchers identified and catalogued best practices that participants said successfully address barriers to care.

"Untreated mental-health needs are a very common problem, creating significant individual and family burdens, reducing productivity and the quality of life," said Aguilar-Gaxiola, lead author of the report. "We conducted the study to help guide policy and practice at the state and local levels, to improve the mental health and well-being of Latinos and other underserved populations."   

The “Growing Up Latino” panel also will include Luis H. Zayas, dean and Centennial Professor in Leadership for Community, Professional and Corporate Excellence at the School of Social Work at the University of Texas, Austin, and Lina Mendez, Three youth panelists will discuss their personal experiences with growing up and overcoming the challenges of identity and family issues.

The discussion also will include excerpted recordings from a January 2013 interview with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in which she discusses how she dealt with her father’s death, her mother’s mourning, and her journey to become the first Latina Supreme Court justice.    

Maria Hinojosa is the anchor and executive producer of the long-running weekly National Public Radio program, “Latino USA;” anchor of the Emmy Award-winning talk show “Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One from WGBH/La Plaza;” and contributing correspondent for the PBS programs “Frontline” and “Need to Know.” She has won top honors in American journalism, including four Emmys, the John Chancellor Award, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for best documentary for her groundbreaking “Child Brides: Stolen Lives,” and the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council of La Raza.

The UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, in alliance with the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center, provides leadership and support within and beyond UC Davis Health System to promote the health and well-being of ethnically diverse populations. The center focuses on raising awareness of the unique cultural and linguistic attributes of minority populations, developing culturally and linguistically sensitive communications for health-care professionals, and working with policymakers, administrators, practitioners, consumers and families to reduce health-care disparities and improve quality of care. The center's ultimate goal is to improve health outcomes for all. For more information, visit