Posted: April 5, 2021
The University of Kentucky College of Nursing’s Ana Maria Linares DNS, RN, IBCLC, has been selected as the 2021 Outstanding Minority Health Researcher of the Year by the Southern Nursing Research Society. Dr. Linares was selected for this outstanding achievement for her commitment to advance nursing science, with more than two decades of research to determine factors influencing breastfeeding and infant feeding practices in Latin American populations.
Dr. Linares will be officially recognized for this honor during SNRS's virtual awards ceremony, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Registration information
Dr. Linares is a bilingual/bicultural doctoral-prepared nurse-midwife and has worked in maternal-child health and women’s health, including positions such as clinical nurse-midwife, health service administrator, educator, and researcher. Originally from Chile, she immigrated to the U.S. in 2009 to become an Assistant Professor in the UK’s College of Nursing. Over the past ten years, she has developed a program of research on human lactation with an emphasis on health disparities.
SNRS interviewed Dr. Linares as part of her award recognition:
SNRS: What inspired you to become a nurse scientist?
Dr. Linares: "I believe health is a right of each human being. I always have had a profound need to help people to get their full health potential. I understood that producing new knowledge by developing and testing innovative interventions allows me to reach more people, especially vulnerable populations that keep silent about their health needs."
SNRS: What advice do you have for new or future nurse scientists who wish to study minority health?
Dr. Linares: "Learn to listen to the population that you want to work with. It is not enough to have a good intention or enforce what you believe is best for them. Immerse in their natural environment and learn from the community. Develop a firm understanding of the characteristic of the overall situation that minority populations face in their daily lives."
SNRS: What has been your biggest challenge in minority health research? Your biggest facilitator in minority health research?
Dr. Linares: "My biggest challenge was to develop a comprehensive multi-level program of data collection to enhance the development and implementation of interventions linguistically and culturally appropriate in the Latinx population living in this specific area.
My most significant facilitator was my work with key informant stakeholders who serve the Latinx community. They helped me to clarify family and community domains influencing health behaviors. Being ethnically and linguistically similar is not enough. I am still learning and understanding their health’s values and beliefs."