Southern California Center for Latino Health

The Southern California Center for Latino Health (SCCLH) aims to improve the well-being of Latino children and families. Some chronic diseases disproportionately affect Latino communities. We research the causes of these health disparities and develop solutions to improve Latino health.

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Our Mission

We work to end chronic health disparities in Latino children and families. Chronic diseases that frequently affect this community include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver
  • Dyslipidemia
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Fast Facts

Southern California is home to over 10 million Latinos, representing almost half the population of the region and 39.4% of the entire state population.

Latino children from lower income communities are 7 times more likely to have obesity compared to children from wealthy communities.

Latino children face a 50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes. Compared to white children, youth-onset type 2 diabetes occurs at a rate 3.7 times higher in Latino children.

40% of Latino children with obesity have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Compared to white children, Latino children are:

  • 1.8 times more likely to develop obesity
  • 3 times more likely to be uninsured

Latino children have the highest level of triglycerides, or fat, in their blood. 2 in 3 Latinos have unhealthy levels of fat in their blood.

Our Work Toward Health Equity

Our Center works with community groups to develop culturally sensitive strategies that can reduce risk factors for chronic diseases. We focus on solutions that involve family input and align with Latino culture. We also fund equity-focused pilot studies led by new scientists and underrepresented minority researchers. These project leaders collaborate with the community to address chronic diseases in Latinos.

To reach as many children and families as possible, we collaborate with research and community groups across the Southern California region, covering 10 different counties — home to nearly 11 million Latinos.

If you are an academic, medical, or community organization and are interested in joining our coalition, Contact Us Today.

Research Focus

Our research projects focus on Latino children and families and communities in Southern California who are disproportionately affected by obesity and related chronic diseases.

Social determinants of health are external factors that influence differences in health. Examples include environment, education, income and access to healthy food. We study how these factors affect Latinos’ risk for developing obesity and related chronic diseases. Our research focuses on how better nutrition and diet can reduce risk and improve health.

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The Center received a $25 million 5-year grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The grant is part of a national effort to support and advance research on chronic diseases related to health disparities. The Center is one of eleven NIMHD-funded centers nationwide.

This generous support will fund our research projects, community engagement efforts and the studies of new researchers in the field.


The Center’s directors ensure the success, scientific rigor and community and societal impact of the Center.

Michael Goran, PhD

Principal Investigator and Center Director

Program Director for Diabetes and Obesity at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Professor of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC

Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD, MPH

Co-Investigator and Associate Center Director

Professor of Population and Public Health, Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine of USC

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