Research services FAQ

A note on terms: Latino/a and Hispanic are not interchangeable terms. Latino/a refers to a person who is of Latin American descent (Mexico, Central America, and South America). Hispanic refers to a person whose descent is from a country whose primary language is Spanish. Many people are both Latino/a and Hispanic, (e.g. someone from Guatemala, but some people are Latino/a and not Hispanic (e.g. someone from Brazil), or Hispanic and not Latino/a (e.g. someone from Spain).

Latinx is a newer term that has emerged to increase inclusivity. Latino/a is either masculine or feminine based on the person or people it is describing. Latinx does not change form based on who it describes, which allows for description of people without having to specify their sex or gender.

Centro SOL’s work is focused on the Latinx community, but most available statistics in the United States use ‘Hispanic’ as an ethnic indicator and this term may appear in this page when reporting relevant statistics.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an established immigrant population and an emerging immigrant population?

Established immigrant populations have been in the United States for a longer period of time than emerging populations. Established populations have generally been present in an area for a number of decades and encompass several generations. The Cuban immigrant population in Miami is an example of an established immigrant population.

Emerging immigrant populations have generally been immigrating to the US in the past 10 or 20 years and are generally smaller, with perhaps only parents and children. Children are sometimes US born, but many are also born outside of the US.

Conducting research with an emerging immigrant population is very different and generally more difficult than conducting research with an established population. Members of an emerging population are more likely to face more economic challenges, which can be a barrier to research participation. Emerging populations tend to be younger as older adults may not be well enough to make the trip to the US. They are also less likely to speak English and may have lower literacy rates. Finally, depending on their Ethnic background and country of origin, their first language may be not be Spanish.

What is the Latinx population in Baltimore City like?

As an “emerging settlement” location, Baltimore hosts a diverse and rapidly growing immigrant community, primarily from Central America and Mexico. Compared to the general U.S. Latino population, Baltimore Latinos are more likely to be foreign born, undocumented, have low income, low educational attainment and limited English proficiency (LEP). Many immigrant families have mixed immigration status, i.e. some members of the family are U.S. citizens and some are not.

Demographic characteristics:

-Latin America is the most common region of birth for the foreign-born population in Baltimore City (41%). (ACS 2017).

-From 2010 to 2020, the Hispanic/Latino population (any race) increased by 77%, from 4.2% of the City’s population to 7.8%

Source: Baltimore City 2020 Census – Results Summary

Latino Family Advisory Board (LFAB) Baltimore Latinx Representation Example:

Our LFAB, El Consejo de Familias Latinas, is composed of 15 Latino Spanish-speaking immigrant members from the community whose children are or were patients at the Bayview Children’s Medical Practice. The LFAB members are dedicated to helping promote and create better health services to improve healthcare services at the CMP, the JHBMC and throughout Johns Hopkins Medicine. The LFAB provides a one demographic representation example of the Latinx community in Baltimore.

– Members’ countries of origin:

69% from Mexico

13% from Guatemala

6% from Honduras

6% from El Salvador

6% from Peru

Where is the Latinx population in Baltimore City located?

-Southeast Baltimore (Brooklyn: 129% increase since the 2010 census, and Lakeland: 132% increase from 2010 census)

-Northeast Baltimore (Fallstaff: 74% increase from 2010 census)

Source: Baltimore City 2020 Census – Results Summary

What strategies are effective for recruiting Latinx people in Baltimore?

It’s important to yourself how have you built trust in the community? Are you providing services? Would you provide a service as part of the study?

Ideas of recruitment locations:

-Clinical settings, but with limitations


-Community groups

-In person is better than using flyers or social media ads

How can I keep people engaged in research?

-Communication in person and phone follow up

-Email not recommended

-Use of text messaging can be a hit or miss

-Add a personal touch

-Making things easier: providing childcare, food, transportation vouchers, etc.

-Provide incentives that work for people; ask what works for them. Amazon gift cards are not recommended.

What kind of demographic questions should I ask if I’m focusing on Latinx people?

The Latinx population is very diverse, but its diversity is often poorly understood because demographic questions are insufficient. We recommend asking more detailed questions about country of origin and time in the US to have a better understanding of the demographic characteristics of study participants. The Latinx population may also have lower levels of education and income. In addition to country of origin and time in the US, ask about educational attainment, income (if possible, include weekly or monthly ranges in addition to annual), employment, and family structure.

This document [link to example questions] has examples of some of the demographic questions that Centro SOL faculty have used in their studies.


Ask about which language(s) are spoken at home, which is spoken most often, and include a question to gauge English-speaking ability. English proficiency is often assessed by using the US Census Bureau question, “How well do you speak English?”. Any response other than “Very well” defines the respondent as Limited English Proficient.

Is taking the Fundamentals Research Coordination Course beneficial?

Yes! The course is geared toward clinical research, but the basic material is still very useful towards quantitative research (i.e. participant recruitment and retention, IRB, protocol, data analysis, best documentation practices, etc.)

If I have participants that speak another language other than English, where can I have my documents translated?

Unfortunately, Centro SOL no longer provides translation services. We highly recommend reaching out to JH Language Access Services for your translation needs. Please note that all translations-related requests must be submitted via their online form:

You can also reach out up to them at

The JHM IRB has approved translations of the “short form” consent document.

To access the templates in all languages, visit the JHM IRB website.

How much should I budget for translations?

Costs can widely differ depending on the vendor’s rates, number of materials requiring translation, number of changes to the documents made throughout, etc. Request estimates early on in your project timeline so you can budget accordingly.

Important considerations:

-Will there be qualitative interviews in need of transcription? If so, look for Hopkins-approved vendors (already in Hopkins SAP system) who work with Spanish audio.

-Account for extra costs related to any qualitative data (interview transcripts as well as text captured in surveys) needing to be translated back into English for coding and analysis.

-Most IRBs require a Certificate of Translation (JHM IRB template). Ask the translation agency if they provide this.

-Are there already validated instruments in your language of interest that you can use?

Note: If the survey is validated in English, translation alone will not produce a validated Spanish version. Validation assesses the extent to which an instrument measures what it’s supposed to measure, which entails demonstrating reliability and validity.

What if I need help with documents needed for IRB submission?

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