Past Research Projects

Assessing Anti-Gang Policies and Programs in the Middle Americas

This is a partnership research program between LACC and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in San José, Costa Rica. It provides current social science research and policy analysis aimed at informing governmental and civil society efforts to mitigate the criminal youth gang problem in the Middle Americas. The project consists of several tasks, including: hosting research workshops with government institutions and NGOs to share existing information and develop research and analysis methodologies; collecting data in the Middle Americas on the nature of each country’s gang problem and anti-gang policies and programs, researching the US policy of deporting criminal aliens, holding workshops with government officials and NGOs to consolidate and analyze the collected information; and publishing and distributing the project in coordination with international organizations (the OAS, PAHO, etc.). The study gives particular attention to the transnational character of the gang threat.

Principal Investigators: Eduardo A. Gamarra, Michael W. Collier, Francisco Rojas Aravena, Luis Guillermo Solis.

Colombian Diaspora in South Florida

This is an ongoing research project of the FIU Colombian Studies Institute. Initial project results published in a LACC Working Paper generated wide interest in the US and South American press. Since the initial research, the project has spawned theses by four FIU students in the MALACS program as well as a partnership research program with the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá. Future planned work on the project includes a Florida-wide assessment of Colombian migrants and expansion of the research to Colombian migrant communities in Spain and Costa Rica.

Principal Investigators: Victor Uribe, Ana María Bidegain, Alex Stepick, Hugh Gladwin, Eduardo A. Gamarra, Michael W. Collier

Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas

The Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas project’s objectives are to monitor the conceptual development of DRR globally; develop and continuously update an inventory of DRR initiatives or programs; promote and strengthen DRR “Communities of Practice” (CoPs) in the LAC region; identify and support the educational and professional development of the next generation of DRR “thinkers” and “agents of change” in the LAC region; identify and cultivate key DRR individuals and stakeholder groups; facilitate exchange and coordination between organizations and key individuals and stakeholder groups involved in DRR (“bridge building”); and organize, formalize, and make available worldwide LAC region capacity development services in Disaster Risk Reduction. +More information

Global Water for Sustainability Program (GLOWS)

The Global Water for Sustainability Program (GLOWS) is a 5 year, international project aimed at aiding communities through water management. GLOWS takes an interdisciplinary approach (from policy making to community development to biodiversity conservation) while engaging local communities to make short-term human needs for water compatible with long-term sustainability. The program also seeks to aid relationship building among water management organizations. GLOWS includes pilot programs in Latin America, Asia and Africa and works closely with USAID. In this project, FIU is partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), World Vision U.S., LakeNet, and Amizade.

Principal Investigator: Michael McClain

The Latin American Marijuana Research Initiative (LAMRI)

LACC was awarded a $144,129.00 Open Society Foundation grant to study Uruguay's legalization of marijuana and the transformation of drug policy. The Impact of Marijuana Legalization in Uruguay project launched January 1, 2014 and assesses the impact of marijuana legalization on attitudes and norms regarding drug production, distribution and consumption in Uruguay and support the training and exchange of knowledge on drug policy in the region. +More information

Lens Project/ Proyecto Lentes

LACC seed-money established Photo Voice-Dominican Republic, and outgrowth of LACC's Syndemics Project. This special project seeks to implement policy change for vulnerable populations through self-documentation of images and solution-based analyses. Photo Voice-DR addresses the public health challenges and socio-economic and political stigma faced by heroin users and other vulnerable populations on the island. Heroin use is a rapidly growing concern in the DR and the country has no established medical protocols to effectively treat those addicted. Through Photo Voice-DR scholars, researches and users are working together to address the urgent need for long-term, effective change.

Remittances Program/Programa de Remesas

Remittances, the money that migrants send back to relatives and communities in their countries of origin, today make up the fastest growing and most stable capital inflow to Latin America and the Caribbean. Over $230 billion in remittances were estimated worldwide in 2005, with Latin America and the Caribbean accounting for over $53.6 billon or 24.5 percent of the total amount—the highest volume of remittances of any geographic region. LACC’s Remittances Program is an on-going research initiative that investigates the socioeconomic impact of this phenomenon on the countries of the hemisphere.

Risk Management in Latin American and the Caribbean

“Assessment of Risk Management in LAC Region Higher Education: A Strategic Plan for Improvement” is a 15 month long follow up program to a similar initiative conducted from 2003-2004. The purpose is to assess risk management programs of higher learning in Latin America and the Caribbean with the cooperation of leaders from those programs. The aim of the project is to produce a document assessing those risk management education and training programs institutions and to develop a plan for their future improvement and cooperation.

Principal Investigator: Richard Olson

The Syndemics Project

A 5-year research project that investigates the social context of HIV and drug use in the tourism zones of the Dominican Republic (DR). The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is a major collaboration between Florida International University and the largest University in the Dominican Republic - the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, UASD. This project focuses on developing drug use and HIV/AIDS prevention programs to be implemented with tourism employees in the DR, the Caribbean country that receives the largest number of American tourists. The project involves three phases of work: (1) interviews and observations with tourism employees to understand the context of their HIV and drug use risks; (2) surveys with a large sample of tourism employees to quantify the factors that contribute most to their HIV and drug use risks; and (3) a pilot intervention with tourism employees to reduce their risks of both HIV and drug addiction. +More information

Principal Investigator: Mark Padilla