A survey is underway to get an accurate count of the migrants of local origin

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A survey is underway to get an accurate count of the migrants of local origin

Research efforts are underway to obtain an accurate number of native migrants who work in San Luis Obispo County.

The goal is to improve access to health care by learning about the common barriers this population faces on a daily basis.

“There are many members of the Mixtec community here, but knowing that there is a presence is not enough for us to be able to address the inequalities that exist in this community,” said Professor Mario Espinoza-Kulik (Ph.D.), faculty member in Ethnic Studies at Cuesta College.

There is now a collaboration between the Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), Cuesta College Ethnic Studies and the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health to get an accurate count of this population.

“This is the first time in SLO County that there is an indigenous population enumeration survey for specific indigenous Latinx communities, which means if your family is indigenous to Latin America, anywhere from Mexico to Central America,” Professor Espinoza-Kulik added .

One of the main Mexican indigenous populations in San Luis Obispo County is the Mixteco, but there are more groups.

“We also see that there are people of Purépecha descent, which is from Michoacán […] and also Zapotecs,” Espinoza-Kulik explained.

The professor said this research project is thanks to a $100,000 grant from SLO County Public Health.

“Our hope is to be able to identify whether they speak an indigenous language, whether they identify as indigenous,” said Anna Huynh, MICOP’s program director. “Additional, [we] also want to learn—what are the barriers to access to equitable health care?”

Interviews will be conducted in several languages.

“We started the interviewing process at the beginning of May and so we have completed 45 so far,” Professor Espinoza-Kulik said. “We need to complete 300 by July 31st.”

Some of the survey questions include:

“In what language do you prefer to receive your health materials – English, Spanish, Mixtec or one of the local languages?” said Professor Espinoza-Kulik. “This information is vital to our public health professionals so that they can adequately meet the needs of everyone in our community, including people who do not speak English or are of Latino descent.”

The aim is also to collect information that is often not included in the census.

“It’s door to door; it’s by invitation only,” Huynh explained. “Again, we want to get as much variety as possible. We want to be able to reach as many communities as possible.”

Personal information collected is confidential.

“Participating in the survey is a way to give voice to your presence here and directly confront bias by getting counted because you deserve to be counted,” Espinoza-Kulik added.

People who participate in the survey will receive a $50 gift card. The interview takes about an hour.

Researchers will begin analyzing the collected data after July 31, 2023.

If you would like to participate, you can contact study coordinators Silvano Vasquez at (805) 978-6132 or Susana Arce at (805) 978-7542.

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