Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Applied Anthropology

Committee Chair Name

Mary Scoggin

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Rebecca Robertson

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Connie Stewart

Third Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Subject Categories

Humboldt State University—Theses-Social Science


Humboldt County which was a white, working class economy, has recently seen a growing Latino migrant population, doubling from 6% in the year 2000, to nearly 12% in 2016. [Census 2016] Many of these migrants are undocumented and their command of and comfort with using English ranges from fluent to nearly nothing. Women and children from this population may especially be affected by local policy and systems, due to gender and age disparities. The barriers towards health care services extend when considering sexual and reproductive health, which has wavering support and funding in the current political climate. This ethnography examines both the experiences of Latina migrants and Spanish speaking youth in Humboldt County, and their experiences with sexual/reproductive health services and sex education. Methods include participant observation in healthcare, educational and community settings, qualitative interviews, and a survey administered with middle school youth. The narratives and observations have been collected in order to better understand the existing structural barriers and how they affect these individuals. This research concludes that fear of deportation, cultural and religious values, language barriers, and institutionalized gender inequality have created systemic barriers to access in this population. In order to mitigate these barriers, it is recommended that programs take time to understand these structural barriers, through education for providers on structural competency and that reproductive health services increase and maintain an intersectional feminist approach. In addition, the development of outreach and advocacy programs for Spanish speaking populations, and mandatory healthy relationships education for youth, assist in lessening these disparities by meeting Spanish speakers where they are at and educating them about services.

Citation Style