Our Mission Statement

To enhance human capablities through research-to-practice


The Center for Transnational Health (CTH) is an interdisciplinary partnership of investigators and other stakeholders who seek solutions to education and health disparities through research-to-practice. The dichotomous disciplinary focus responds to evidence suggesting that a culturally, linguistically and ethnically diverse professional health workforce can respond more effectively to community health needs in modern society.

California enjoys unusual prosperity made possible in great part by the contributions of a hard-working and knowledgeable agricultural workforce whose presence has helped develop the state into the fifth largest economy worldwide. More than 90% of these workers are of Mexican origin. Currently 20% of the nation's produce is produced on California farms, and California consistently ranks first in the nation in crop and dairy production sales.1 These statistics reflect the vast influence migrant farm labor alone has had on the health status of our state and nation with respect to year-round access to affordable, nutritious food. Now, the wellbeing of the 8% of Californians who live in rural, agrarian communities is threatened by the state's combined economic and water crisis. Moreover, it is sadly ironic and morally unacceptable that even as California agriculture has prospered, the laborers who have made perhaps the single most important and sustained contribution to the wellbeing of Californians and Americans are themselves the most vulnerable to pervasive health, education, and economic disparities.

Research-to-practice in a transnational framework calls upon knowledge we gain about heritage cultures to inform approaches to building vibrant health and educational systems benefiting ancestral communities in the U.S. The focus is presently on the following aspects of health and education as experienced by racial and ethnic minorities in California and countries of origin:

- Community health and wellbeing

- Impact of the achievement gap on student academic progression

- Health policy research

While certain projects address California-based health disparities and the achievement gap with respect to science education, the CTH is expanding its reach into investigations of transnational health through alliances with international academic and community-based institutions. Transnational health collaborations contribute to a developing relationship that is synergistic rather than additive in two ways. The term transnational literally means "reaching beyond or transcending national boundaries." 2

First, by collaborating on equal footing with international communities, our investigators are able to gain as much as they impart, and their knowledge base increases exponentially: the greater the collaboration, the greater the gain in knowledge.

Second, "transnational health" embraces in its definition the interrelation of economy, ecology, environment, society, and health. In developing countries, this interplay remains vital to the survival and wellbeing of indigenous communities. In our country this synergy is vital as well, but particularly to the survival and wellbeing of ethnic communities marginalized within health, educational, legal and economic systems.

The more we recognize the complex interplay, the more productive and sustainable our solutions will become for all of our benefit. By understanding and collaborating in transnational health research and educational alliances, our investigators and students are better able to apply their global experiences to meeting the health and education needs of the diverse cultures within our own domestic environment.

1.US Department of Agriculture, 2008.
2.The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.