Buscando Tun’ Tzaj Chbinchey Q’ey Jó: Comparing Perceptions of Access to and Experiences Within Healthcare Between Mayan and Latina Women in East Oakland

Summer 2017

Dylan Bush : Latin American Studies

Donor: Leadership Fund
Mentor: Seth Holmes, Xóchitl Castañeda

Woven into the intricate fabric of Oakland’s Latinx population is a community of Maya immigrants. Many arrived as refugees, escaping genocide during the Guatemalan Civil War, and in part because of this traumatic history and their indigenous identity, Maya individuals face unique challenges in accessing health care. While both Latinx and Mayan populations may perceive a lack of access, no existing research analyzes how these perceptions differ, allowing for the assumption that both groups face the same challenges. My research investigates the distinct challenges that the Maya perceive in accessing healthcare and their experiences within the healthcare system of the United States. I will use concurrent mixed methods interviews, nonparticipant observation, and focus groups to conduct my study, which will culminate in a 60-80 page independent thesis and a published paper that pushes us to rethink how our healthcare system interacts with the indigenous immigrant community.

My time as a SURF Fellow has truly been a very formative and important period in my life as a young scholar. Because of SURF and the Leadership Fund, I have been able to partake in research that is related but not directly in my field and this has really shaped me as I now want to study Forced Migration Studies and Global Health in addition to medicine. This would not have been possible without SURF and the Leadership Fund. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to partake in this important and meaningful work.