The aim of this 5-year project, a career development award funded by the National Cancer Institute, is to develop a culturally tailored nutrition communication intervention for primary prevention of breast cancer among bicultural Latinas. The overarching goal of the study is to advance understanding of how communication and acculturation processes influence cancer risk behaviors in order to design effective culturally tailored interventions to reduce cancer risk behaviors. The central question is: What does it mean to communicate in a culturally appropriate manner in the context of an acculturatively diverse population?
This approach is particularly relevant when considering research on the health of the population of CA’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV). A vast, largely rural region that produces over half of the nation’s fruit, nuts, and vegetables, SJV is 50% Latino, mostly of Mexican origin6. The SJV has a very diverse Latino population: 25% are foreign-born, and their primary language may be an indigenous Mexican language rather than Spanish, while 75% are native-born U.S. citizens, who possess varied fluency in English abilities and whose families may include both legal and undocumented immigrants. The linguistic and acculturative diversity of this population poses new challenges for understanding how to design effective behavior change interventions. Most community-based interventions with Latinos have focused on those who speak Spanish exclusively, limiting our understanding of how acculturation and linguistic diversity impact communication intervention design and effectiveness. mHealth strategies offer a way of delivering interventions that are not only culturally appropriate for Latinos across the acculturation spectrum, but also appropriate for primary cancer prevention among young adults who are eager adopters of technology.