I was invited to the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) on May 25-27 for three days of seminars and workshops on methods and research applications of social network analysis. The event is organized by the Puerto Rico IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (PRINBRE) and the Puerto Rico Clinical and Translational Research Consortium (PRCTRC).
PRINBRE was established to promote the development of research infrastructure and productivity in the biomedical sciences in Puerto Rico, as well as opportunities for exchange with scientists from other countries, and mentoring for students and junior investigators at UPR. The PRCTRC was created in 2010 as a consortium of different Puerto Rican institutions to develop clinical and translational science in the Island, the translation of scientific discoveries into programs to address community health problems, and the collaboration between biomedical and social scientists to reduce health disparities in Hispanic populations.
The SNA seminars and workshops will focus on applications of social network methods to the study of health disparities and community-based participatory research. This will be a fantastic opportunity to create connections between biomedical and social scientists in Puerto Rico and Florida. The University of Florida in Gainesville, located in North Central Florida, is where the first Clinical and Translational Science Institute was founded in the state, seven years ago, with funding from the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.
At the same time, the state of Florida has the second largest Puerto Rican population in America, after New York, as well as the second largest US metropolitan area for the number of Puerto Rican immigrants, namely Orlando, FL, after New York City. Few miles from Orlando, particularly in Northern Floridian counties, are some of the rural towns, or “new destinations”, where Hispanic immigration has grown the fastest in recent years, with its unique set of social and health problems.
Partnerships and collaborations between Puerto Rican and Floridian research institutions across the social and health sciences offer unique opportunities to make an impact on the health disadvantage of Hispanic minorities in America. More information about this event is at cienciapr.org.
(Cover photo by Ricardo Mangual.)