Strategies to establish and maintain trust when working in immigrant communities

Karen T. D’Alonzo, Lindsey Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The nursing profession has historically advocated a strong commitment to social justice. As immigration issues have become increasingly politicized, nurses are being called upon to integrate principles of social justice when caring for immigrant populations. Nurse researchers have a particular challenge in winning and maintaining trust in immigrant communities. Data from several studies suggest that erosion of trust in the health care system, due to fears of detention and deportation, is resulting in adverse health outcomes among immigrants. The purpose of this article is to discuss a variety of strategies to establish and maintain trust in immigrant communities. These strategies were developed to maintain an academic–community partnership focused around obesity prevention among Mexican immigrant families. Strategies included: (a) Conceptualize trust as a dynamic continuum; (b) recognize the scope and impact of the stressors; (c) separate fact versus fiction; (d) identify deportation-related stressors and community responses; (e) manage trust and mistrust issues; (f) build bridges; and (g) establish a positive presence. Nurses are well poised to intervene to repair the damaged trust between immigrant communities and the health care system, using community-based participatory methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-768
Number of pages5
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • community–academic partnership
  • immigrant health
  • social justice


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