Buscando Y’ol: Comparing Perceptions of Access to Healthcare Between Maya and Latina Women in East Oakland
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. One such challenge, as articulated to me by community members, is accessing healthcare. While access to healthcare is affected by a variety of factors, the literature often fails to measure one very important factor, an individual’s own perception of access. Research shows that an individual who feels uncomfortable or unable to access health services faces greater health risk. 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. Therefore, I propose to create a piece of research that voices 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 push us to rethink how our healthcare system interacts with the indigenous immigrant community.