Bio: Jessica McCurley, MS, is a doctoral student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and an NIH T32 Predoctoral Fellow in Cardiovascular Epidemiology at the UCSD Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. Ms. McCurley’s research focuses on health disparities and psychosocial aspects of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in migrant and minority communities. Ms. McCurley has worked with migrant populations in the U.S., Guatemala, Mexico, and India, and was a Psychosocial Support and Evaluation Intern at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, DC in 2012. As a doctoral student, Ms. McCurley has studied stress, social support, and cardiometabolic conditions in the national Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), assisted with an adaptation and implementation of a diabetes prevention program for low income Mexican-American women, and conducted cultural adaptations of psychoeducation programs for the East African refugee community in San Diego, CA. She has also worked in clinical mental health service provision in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Ms. McCurley is concurrently pursuing a Master's degree in Public Health and aspires to continue an academic research career in behavioral medicine and global health.
Project: Diabetes is highly prevalent in the U.S.-Mexico border region. HIV is endemic in many border cities as well and may co-occur with diabetes, resulting in significant physical and mental health burden. Little research has been conducted in diabetes prevention with migrants, deportees, and other transient individuals who cross international borders. During her fellowship year, Ms. McCurley will conduct a study of diabetes risk and protective factors in individuals accessing medical care at a walk-in clinic in Tijuana, Mexico that serves primarily migrants, deportees, and sex workers. The project will explore community-specific barriers to and facilitators of change in behaviors relevant to cardiometabolic risk (i.e., physical activity, dietary intake), preferences for prevention programs, and whether outcomes differ by HIV serostatus. Results from the study will be used to generate a brief guide to acceptable and feasible diabetes prevention recommendations for medical and behavioral health providers serving migrants, deportees, and other vulnerable groups in the border community.