Division of Global Public Health
University of California, San Diego
Lianne Urada is a postdoctoral scholar in the Division of Global Public Health, UCSD Department of Medicine, with a PhD in Social Welfare from UCLA (March, 2011), and a former doctoral training fellow in the Social and Behavioral Determinants of HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health. She also worked with persons living with HIV/AIDS for eight years in Los Angeles, California. She served as a Field Education faculty member in Social Welfare at UCLA and holds a California license in clinical social work. For her dissertation, she conducted surveys of 498 female entertainment workers and 48 managers from 54 establishment venues (night clubs/bars, spa/saunas, karaoke bars) in the Philippines. She received grants to assess the socio-structural influences of risk behavior among the entertainers and to develop and evaluate a new intervention.
Specifically, she examined factors in the risk environment (at physical, social, economic, and policy levels) and their effects on behavioral outcomes. She used a mixed method, collaborative community-based research approach. She also interviewed 48 key informants (health officials, managers, NGOs) and held focus groups of entertainers prior to administering questionnaires. Dr. Urada wishes to examine the ethics surrounding research with sex workers in the Philippines who are concerned about their legal risks and human rights. The criminal contexts of substance use, sex work, and trafficking often pose perceived risks to participants. Interviews with policymakers, law enforcement, and establishment managers regarding police practices in relation to sex workers and substance users are necessary.
Mentored Research Project (MRP) Title
Social and structural constraints on disclosure and informed consent with female sex workers and their managers in the Philippines
This project explored the experiences of female sex workers (FSWs) working in night clubs, karaoke bars, and spa/saunas in the Philippines in participating in behavioral HIV prevention research, including their process of consent to research, their knowledge of research ethics, barriers to disclosure of sensitive topics, and the necessary conditions for their involvement in HIV research prevention interventions.
Participants: 7 former interviewers participated in a focus group, and 20 FSWs and 10 establishment managers were interviewed individually as key informants about the research process. Method: This qualitative research used semi-structured interview guides for the individual interviews, focus group, and community advisory board meetings, and ethnographic approaches.
Emergent themes include FSW issues with trust of the research and interviewer, intrusiveness of survey questions, problems seeing any changes made as a result of the research, and feeling forced by government to do surveys. FSWs expressed desire to actively participate in intervention design and implementation and to learn new skills and obtain job training to learn other ways to earn money. Both FSW and managers expressed dissatisfaction with government support: having to pay for clinic health exams, and managers expressed problems with the government’s ability to intervene around police raids and bribes.
This project has the potential to improve HIV prevention research practices with FSWs by 1) foregrounding ethical issues by addressing barriers to respect, trust, and/or disclosure stemming from risks in the structural environment or micro-level social aspects of the research process and 2) developing a more transparent and participatory approach to HIV prevention research that engages participants/ FSWs in the research process in order to reduce perceived and actual risks to participants.
Urada, L. A., & Simmons, J. (2014). "Social and Structural Constraints on Disclosure and Informed Consent for HIV Survey Research Involving Female Sex Workers and Their Bar Managers in the Philippines". Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 9(1), 29-40.
Urada, L. A., & Simmons, J. (2014). "A Collaborative Methodology for Investigating the Ethical Conduct of Research on Female Sex Workers in the Philippines". Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 9(1), 41-45.