Anna Pagano Ph.D.
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego
M.A. University of Florida
B.A. University of Florida
I first became interested in becoming a research scientist while participating in a project at Florida International University that examined the use of faith-based addiction treatment services among Hispanic immigrants in Miami, FL (PI: Sarah J. Mahler). I served as a project ethnographer and helped to analyze and write up our mixed-methods findings. Working on this project introduced me to the struggles of immigrants trying to access care for their drug abuse problems. In the decade since that project ended, my research has focused on vulnerable populations’ access barriers to health care services. As a medical anthropologist and drug abuse researcher, I have worked with a variety of English, Spanish, and Portuguese-speaking urban populations in the U.S. (Florida, California) and Brazil.
My research focuses on access barriers to health services experienced by vulnerable populations. It has also examined community-level responses aimed at overcoming these barriers. The three fundamental research questions that have guided my research up to this point are the following: (1) What specific barriers do vulnerable populations (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, undocumented immigrants, gender-based minorities, low-income persons) encounter when attempting to access public health goods? (2) What are the root causes of these barriers? (3) How can vulnerable communities and service providers work together to improve community members’ access to public health services? Using ethnographic and some quantitative research methods, I have explored these questions through research with Latino immigrants in the United States and with people of African descent in Brazil. While much of my research has centered on access to drug abuse treatment, I have also collaborated on projects aimed at preventing high-risk drinking and drug use among nightclub patrons in Brazil and the U.S. My main research project currently is a NIDA R21 examining Mexican and Central American migrants’ creation and use of informal drug abuse recovery houses in the San Francisco Bay Area.