CLAS political science professor receives grant for research on Latino community

Julianna Pacheco, a professor in the Department of Political Science, received funding from County Health Rankings and Roadmaps for her research on political and community power in Latino communities.
Monday, March 18, 2024

By Charlotte Brookins 

Julianna Pacheco, a professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, received a grant from County Health Rankings and Roadmaps to measure Latino community power and its relationship to racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes. 

Julianna Pacheco
Julianna Pacheco

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps — which focuses on growing community power to improve health equity — is a project from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Pacheco’s research was one of four projects selected for funding. 

“There is a growing recognition that racial and ethnic health disparities are in part due to disparities in community power; along these lines, my research looks specifically at Latino community power,” Pacheco explains. “I measure indicators that tap into both the promotion and undermining of political power in Latino communities.” 

Pacheco has worked at the University of Iowa since 2012 and says her research was inspired by collaborative project with Nicole Novak of the College of Public Health and Nick Salazar at the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)  funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Their research prompted further investigation into how individuals unable to exercise the right to vote, such as noncitizens and felons, are nonetheless impacted by healthy policy making. 

“My current project builds off that research to better measure political power for Latinos,” says Pacheco. 

Pacheco says the ultimate goal of her project is to develop a compounded measure of Latino community power on the county level, drawing a focus on the connection between political self-determination and health.  

“The findings will contribute to our understanding of the political determinants of health and provide evidence-based research highlighting the importance between political advocacy and health equity,” Pacheco continues, adding how the measures will eventually be included in the University of Wisconsin’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. “I anticipate others will use these measures in their own research.” 

Pacheco says she is grateful for the support she has received from the university and the college, crediting the political science department as being a great fit for her work and one of the reasons why she came to Iowa in the first place. 

“My early work looked at differences in public opinion and representation across the United States," says Pacheco. “It fit in well with my colleagues in the Department of Political Science.” 

Pacheco says she is grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with County Rankings and Roadmaps and continue her research with the university. 

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.