Hello, I am Maritza Concha, the Principal Evaluator and owner of Covian Consulting, My expertise is primarily with evaluating programs that target the Latino community and other communities that are hard to reach such as refugees and victims of human trafficking. Growing up in a Latino family, I have been exposed to cultural beliefs that enrich my daily interactions as well as acknowledged those beliefs that affect my decisions because of cultural myths. Therefore, I consider culturally responsive evaluations are crucial when evaluating programs that target minorities such as the Latino community.
Throughout my work in evaluating reproductive health programs tailored to the Latino community, I learned that culture plays a pivotal role in accessing and supporting these services. Some key points to consider are:
- The Latino community still has strong stigmas and stereotypes that may affect access to reproductive health;
- Families who have strong ties to traditional Latino cultural views may undermine acceptance of reproductive health services while Latino families who have less traditional views tend to support promotion and acceptance of these services;
- Acculturation levels can also affect Latinos’ access of reproductive health and use of contraceptives. Hence, the more acculturated a Latino/a is, the more likely that he or she would use contraceptive methods; and
- Religion plays an important role in the use of contraceptives for Latinos with strong religious beliefs.
When analyzing cultural beliefs and values, it is important to assess how these values differ when they are analyzed at the community, family, and individual level as well as consider other factors such as religion, acculturation and socio-economic status. I have learned that our perspectives change depending the lens we are wearing. When working with the Latino community, this is fundamental as evaluation findings can be properly used to design or make improvements for culturally informed interventions.
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