Barriers to cross-border research projects: A prelude to improving professional collaborations between the United States and Mexico

Alison L Days, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Study objective. This was a secondary data analysis of a study designed and executed in two phases in order to investigate several questions: Why aren't more investigators conducting successful cross-border research on human health issues? What are the barriers to conducting this research? What interventions might facilitate cross-border research? Methods. Key informant interviews and focus groups were used in Phase One, and structured questionnaires in Phase Two. A multi-question survey was created based on the findings of focus groups and distributed to a wider circle of researchers and academics for completion. The data was entered and analyzed using SPSS software. Setting. El Paso, TX located on the U.S-Mexico Border. Participants. Individuals from local academic institutions and the State Department of Health. Results. From the transcribed data of the focus groups, eight major themes emerged: Political Barriers, Language/Cultural Barriers, Differing Goals, Geographic Issues, Legal Barriers, Technology/Material Issues, Financial Barriers, and Trust Issues. Using these themes, the questionnaire was created. The response rate for the questionnaires was 47%. The largest obstacles revealed by this study were identifying a funding source for the project (47% agreeing or strongly agreeing), difficulties paying a foreign counterpart (33% agreeing or strongly agreeing) and administrative changes in Mexico (31% agreeing or strongly agreeing). Conclusions. Many U.S. investigators interested in cross-border research have been discouraged in their efforts by varying barriers. The majority of respondents in the survey felt financial issues and changes in Mexican governments were the most significant obstacles. While some of these barriers can be overcome simply by collaboration among motivated groups, other barriers may be more difficult to remove. Although more evaluation of this research question is warranted, the information obtained through this study is sufficient to support creation of a Cross-Border Research Resource Manual to be used by individuals interested in conducting research with Mexico.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Days, Alison L, "Barriers to cross-border research projects: A prelude to improving professional collaborations between the United States and Mexico" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1447186.