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Pilar

Parra

Research Associate and Senior Lecturer
309 Savage Hall
Ithaca, New York
Division of Nutritional Sciences
Phone

Biography

Dr. Parra’s research examines the role of immigration, acculturation and poverty in the health status of minority populations, processes to facilitate immigrant integration. The focus of her research is one of disease and risk prevention, with special emphasis on applied research to design and test interventions to achieve long-term health behavior change. She has been awarded grants from the National Institute for Mental Health, the US Department of Agriculture, the Social Science Research Council, and has published on health related issues.

Our current project (Hatch NYC 2015-16-229) continues the study that examines the integration of immigrant populations in rural communities. The project build on findings of the completed Fund for Rural America project in five New York communities and the projects,  Community Response to Immigrant Settlement in Upstate New York (NYC-159441) and Context Matters: Institutions Working for Immigrant Integration Hatch 2012-13-170). Our past research results showed immigrant families will attend trusted sites and have interest in participating if some conditions are met: trusted sites, information in Spanish for parents, and content of programs offered. We continue our working links with churches, schools and organizations to examine the viability of programs to foster immigrant access to jobs, housing, English language technical training, schooling and health care. One general objective is the identification and development of community-based programs to foster social network formation and promote the integration of immigrants into the social and economic life of rural communities. We identified that a relevant mechanism that favors immigrant integration is the establishment of relationships with long term residents. However, to make possible the bridging of immigrants and long-term residents, communities need to facilitate immigrant access to local programming. These initiatives would promote the integration of immigrants into the social and economic life of their new destinations.

 Two related projects are active. 1) It follows up the general project of Immigrant Integration with a focus on children. This project examines the inclusion of immigrant children into local programs. I want to provide insights about how to link children of immigrant families to 4-H and other available extension programs. Our project also explored how to engage students in applied research where they will learn by doing, provide service and learn research skills. Our practical research objective is to provide insights about how to link Hispanic/Latino immigrant children and families to ongoing 4-H programming in Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE). CCE acknowledges the importance of inclusion of newcomers into the Extension programs to foster the participation and education of the newcomers living in rural towns and small cities. Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) has offices in every county in New York State, and as such, it provides local sustainable programming for immigrant families.

Our last year’s effort built on previous work. Participants and their parents of the past five summer’s workshops confirmed findings from our previous interviews and focus groups with immigrants. They expressed that activities in the church premises and in schools were trusted, they felt welcome to attend, and that more programs would be desirable. They were pleased to see community members interested in their wellbeing and the opportunity to learn about the American culture. During the summer of 2015 we examined the acceptability of 4-H by immigrant families. We worked with a church in Marion, NY and Middletown, NY and tested interest and viability of Extension programming with two Latino groups of mothers and children.

 

In 2016, we carried 5 workshops during the summer, CCE staff from each county mentored Cornell students involved in 4-H programs, helped with the outreach efforts and provided support and guide to the student’s projects. This relationship turned into a valuable experience for students. 4-H team leaders and youth development educators provided on-site training, participated on the planning of student’s clubs and help with sessions. We are in preparation of a report to inform other agencies best practices on how to reach and work with the immigrant population in rural areas. In continuation with the 4-H Clubs during summer, three new clubs have been carried during the fall 2016 and continue into spring 2017 in Sullivan and Orange County. During the summer of 2017 four clubs were organized in Wayne and Orange County. Reports and guidelines for dissemination are currently under preparation/revision. 

 

2) A collaboration with Professor Michael Shapiro and Professor Robert Gravani study to test and develop most effective messages to reduce risk perception and unsafe home food preparation practices among recent immigrant Latino populations. Narratives of personal experiences with a food borne illness are filmed and preventative messages added to the narrative of an experience of a food borne illness. Studies have shown that prevention and educational messages by persons that "look like me" are more successful. Narrative will be tested with Mexican American audiences.

This research effort, is an extension of the project "Home food safety knowledge and practices among Mexican American." A published paper and a webinar were produced. The project will carry interviews with Mexican origin and Mexican American on food safety to look at best ways to prepare educational messages for this population. A second paper under preparation "The role of acculturation in food safety practices among Mexican American and Mexican origin populations"

 

 

Dickin Kate., Flor Larios., Pilar Parra. Cognitive interviewing to enhance comprehension and accuracy of responses to a Spanish-language nutrition program evaluation tool. J. of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Vol. 47. No.5. 2015: 465-471
 
Parra Pilar A., HueKyung Kim, Michael Shapiro, Rober Gravani, Samuel D. Bradley. Home food safety knowledge, risk perception, and practices among Mexican-American. Food Control 37 (2014) 115-125.
 
Parra Pilar A. Farmworkers Health. In: Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health. Sana Lou and Martha Sajotovic (editors). Springer. Heidelberg. Germany. 2012
 
De Lima Philomena, Pilar Alicia Parra and Max J. Pfeffer.  Conceptualizing Contemporary Immigrant Integration in the Rural United States and United Kingdom. In: Rural Transformations and Rural Policies in the United Kingdom and the United States. Shucksmith and Brown (editors). Routgers Series on Development and Society. United Kingdom. 2012
 
Pfeffer, M.J., Parra, P.A. “Upstate and Downstate Differ in Response to Needs of Immigrant Community.” NYSAC News 30(9):23-24, 2009 

Pfeffer M.J. and Parra P. Strong Ties, Weak Ties, and Human Capital: Latino Immigrant Employment Outside the Enclave. Rural Sociology. Issue 74(2):241-269. June 2009

Pfeffer M.J. and Pilar A. Parra. Community Response to Immigrants in New Destinations. Research and Policy Briefs. Community and Rural Development Institute (CARDI). Department of Development Sociology. Cornell University. November 2008

Parra Pilar A. and Max J. Pfeffer. New Immigrants in Rural Communities: The Challenges of Integration. In: The Border Next Door: New York Migraciones. Social Text 88, Vol 24., No.3, pp 81-98. Fall 2006. 

Pfeffer Max J. and Pilar A. Parra. Immigrants and the Community: Community Perspectives. Cornell University. 1500 GPP Report #4, October 2005. Development Sociology. Division of Nutritional Sciences. 

Pfeffer Max J. and Pilar A. Parra. Immigrants and the Community: Former Farmworkers. Cornell University. 1500 GPP 060047. Report #3, September 2005. Development Sociology. Division of Nutritional Sciences 

Parra Pilar A. and Max J. Pfeffer. Immigrants and the Community: Farmworkers with Families. Cornell University. 1500 GPP 050357. Report #2, April 2005. Development Sociology. Division of Nutritional Sciences 

Pfeffer Max J. and Pilar A. Parra. Immigrants and the Community. Cornell University.1500 GPP 11607. Report #1, November 2004. Development Sociology. Division of Nutritional Sciences 


 
  1.  

2000 –present Faculty Fellow. Latino Living Center.
2006 –present Board member Latino Studies Program

2013 -present Faculty Advisor. Student Organization: Hope Renewed in Campus

2015 -present. Faculty Advisor. Student Organization: Operation Smile        

2011 - present Faculty Advisor for Nutritional Sciences HBHS Major

Member American Public Health Association (listed as a reviewer)
Reviewer Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

Reviewer Journal Women's Health and Urban Life

Reviewer Journal of Rural Sociology

Reviewer Research on Aging

Reviewer Appetite

Working relationship with CCE Wayne, Orange and Sullivan Counties to link immigrant families to current extension programs. Special emphasis in facilitating participation of children of immigrant families in 4-H. Special effort to provide undergraduate students with an experience on applied research.

Current efforts to extend working relationships with additional counties that have a larger number of immigrant Latino population.

Ongoing project working with three counties to test pilot 4-H initiatives (Wayne, Orange and Sullivan) Hatch and Smith Lever (2015-16-229).

The main objective of my teaching is to provide students with the analytical skills to evaluate the research literature on the health status of minorities in the U.S.A. The primary goal of this course is to examine beyond the biological and clinical health outcomes; identify the socioeconomic and cultural determinants in the health status as well as access and utilization of health services of Latino and other ethnic minorities in the U.S.
 
In my advising to majors in Nutrition (HBHS major), and as a mentor to student organizations, I aim to help students to build on their strengths in their path to adulthood, and guide them through their decision making to attain their academic objectives and develop leadership skills. As I build trust with the students, I am more able to recognize any sign of distress students may have and react appropriately.
Sociology of Health and Ethnic Minorities (LSP/Dev Soc 2200)
International Agriculture and Rural Development (Fall IARD 4020 and Spring 6020)
The main objective of my teaching is to provide students with the analytical skills to evaluate the research literature on the health status of minorities in the U.S.A.  The primary goal of this course is to examine beyond the biological and clinical health outcomes; and identify the socioeconomic and cultural determinants in the health status as well as access and utilization of health services of Latino and other ethnic minorities in the U.S.
 
In my advising to Nutrition majors (HBHS), and as a mentor to student organizations, I aim to help students to build on their strengths in their path to adulthood, and guide them through their decision making to attain their academic objectives, develop leadership skills, etc. As I build trust with the students I am more able to recognize any sign of distress students may have and react appropriately.
 
 
Faculty to IARD 4020 and IARD 6020. Attended all seminars and presente a lecture every fall on topics related to gender, health, nutrition and population characteristics of people in India. I supervise student's work related to gender, health and nutrition.
 
As faculty advisor of the Latino Living Center I have the opportunity to engage with students regulary during the semester in a setting outside the classroom, where I  encourage communication with faculty to discuss non-academic issues of their interest or need.