Resilience of Latina Caregivers Improves after Participating in a Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Intervention in their Medical Home

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) interventions embedded within pediatric clinics and connected to community support services may be a promising strategy to promote the health and well-being of Latina/o children and families. This brief describes the effects of Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone (DULCE), one such SDOH intervention, on Latina caregivers’ well-being. Findings show that participating in DULCE had a positive impact on resilience among Latina caregivers, particularly those who were immigrants. Near-peer Family Specialists were a key component of DULCE’s success. Designing and implementing SDOH interventions with attention to the unique needs of Latina/o families, may help ensure health equity for Latina/os. Explore all of our research related to this SDOH intervention at our study page.

What We Did

This mixed-methods study used survey data collected from 393 Latina caregivers participating in the SDOH intervention, DULCE, to identify the impact of DULCE participation on Latina caregiver well-being outcomes using quasi-experimental methods. Drawing on the results of the quantitative analysis, 16 Latina caregivers who participated in DULCE were interviewed about their experiences in the intervention. Policy implications are discussed as they pertain to healthcare interventions for Latina/o families.

What We Found

  • DULCE demonstrated a positive impact on Latina caregiver resilience. This effect was particularly strong for immigrant families compared to U.S.-born families.
  • The near-peer nature and relatability of the Family Specialist—a staff position created for the DULCE intervention—was key to DULCE’s success.
  • Building relational trust with families and creating feedback loops are important to facilitate successful connections to resources for Latina/o families.
  • For Latina immigrant mothers experiencing isolation, Family Specialists offered important social support.

What It Means

These findings make it clear that SDOH interventions—particularly ones focused on relationship building and service connection—have significant value for Latina/o families. Programs serving Latina/o and immigrant families in healthcare settings should consider integrating a role like the Family Specialist, who focuses on relationship building and establishing trust, to better facilitate successful connections to resources. DULCE demonstrates particular promise for strengthening immigrant families and impacting Latina/o health disparities by providing needed social support during a vulnerable time. It also offers hands-on assistance and follow-up to connect a population of caregivers that face significant barriers and fears regarding system and program engagement.

Read the brief in English Read the brief in Spanish

Recommended Citation
Monahan, E. K., Martinez-Cardoso, A. M., & Garza, A. (2023). Promoting health equity in Latinx families: Evaluating the role of pediatric primary care agencies. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.