Identifying and Meeting the
Health Needs of Undocumented Immigrants
Contact: Luz M. Garcini, PhD., MPH
To participate in Proyecto Voces online survey, click here for more information.
Para participar en la encuesta en línea de Proyecto Voces, haga clic aquí para más información.
What is Proyecto Voces?
Proyecto Voces (Project Voices) is a combination of research and community outreach efforts aimed to identify and meet the health needs of undocumented immigrants. This includes identifying protective factors that can help ameliorate the effects of contextual stress on the well-being of the undocumented community and all those who love them. Research findings from Proyecto Voces are essential to inform the development and implementation of advocacy, intervention and policy efforts.
How do we achieve our goal?
At the Biobehavioral Mechanisms Explaining Disparities (BMED) Lab, we support a collaborative approach to research that equitably involves community members, organization representatives, researchers, and practitioners in all aspects of the research process. More specifically, our approach to research values and integrates knowledge and expertise from all parties involved and supports the sharing and dissemination of findings for the benefit of the community. Moreover, we believe in the integration of research and practice; thus, we apply knowledge learned from our research studies to inform our outreach efforts in the community.
A series of studies led by Dr. Luz Garcini in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Fagundes have shown that despite being a resilient population, undocumented immigrants experience a high prevalence of contextual stress that is associated with clinically significant psychological distress. The following studies from Proyecto Voces are the first to provide population based estimates of distress among undocumented immigrants.
Garcini, L.M., Peña, J.M., Gutierrez, A.P., Fagundes, C., Lemus, H., Lyndsay, S., & Klonoff, E.A. (in press). “One Scar, Too Many:” The association of traumatic events and psychological distress among undocumented Mexican Immigrants. Journal of Traumatic Stress.
Garcini, L.M., Peña, J.M., Galvan, T., Fagundes, C. P., Malcarne, V. L., & Klonoff, E.A. (2017). Mental Disorders Among Undocumented Mexican Immigrants in High-Risk Neighborhoods: Prevalence, Comorbidity, and Vulnerabilities. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 85(10): 927-936. doi:10.1037/ccp0000237. Read Abstract Here
Garcini, L.M., Peña, J.M., Galvan, T., Fagundes, C., & Klonoff, E.A. (2017). DREAMers and their double standard of living in the United States: A contextual perspective and clinical implications. American Journal of Psychiatry, 174(7); 623-625. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2017/17040395 Read Abstract Here
Peña, J.M., Garcini, L.M., Gutierrez, A.P., Ulibarri, M.D., & Klonoff, E.A. (2017). Trauma Events and Symptoms among Mexican Deportees in a Border Community. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 15: 36-52. doi:10.1080/15562948.2016.1158341. Read Abstract Here
Garcini, L. M., Murray, K., Zhoe, A., Klonoff, E. A., Myers, M., & Elder, J.P. (2016). Mental Health of Undocumented Immigrants in the United States: A Systematic Review of Methodology and Findings. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 14. doi:10.1080/15562948.2014.998849. Read Abstract Here
- Trauma & Immigration — See the article in U.S. News & World Report.
- The psychological distress of DREAMers — See the article featured in the Houston Chronicle
- Young undocumented immigrants showing signs of PTSD — See News Coverage on CBS KENS5 Eyewitness News
- DREAMers at greater risk for psychological distress, reduced quality of life — See the article on PsychCentral
Community Outreach Efforts
On October 5th, 2017, President Trump’s administration terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to receive renewable two-year education and work permits that protected them from deportation. Since 2012, there are approximately 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who have received protection under the DACA program and about 300,000 more eligible for benefits. This event along with growing animosity against people of different backgrounds and political orientations has led to increased distress and fear among the undocumented community. In response to the needs of those affected directly or indirectly by the termination of DACA, the BMED Lab is leading outreach efforts through Projecto Voces. Current and recent efforts include:
Mental Health in the Post-DACA Era: Building Strength Among Undocumented Immigrants, DACA Recipients, and Those Who Love Them, October 28th, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.
On Saturday October 28th at 9:00 a.m. Dr. Garcini will present a talk to a group of young adult Hispanic leaders from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. The talk will be aimed at providing practical recommendations to cope with distress within current socio-political context. The information presented is the result of collaborative efforts among members and psychologists from the National Latino Psychological Association (NLPA), which Dr. Garcini is a part of. The presentation will be conducted in Spanish and is open to the public at the street address listed below:
2403 Holcombe Blvd. Houston, TX 77021
For any questions or comments about Proyecto Voces or to inquire about collaborative efforts, please email Dr. Luz Garcini at Luz.M.Garcini@rice.edu