Research Summary

I conduct a variety of studies, primarily qualitative in approach, examining the experience and meaning of health and illness to various communities or patient groups. Understanding how non-health professionals conceptualize, recognize and respond to risks to health or well-being and act (or not act) to prevent or minimize risks has been an interest threaded throughout many of my projects which are focused on understanding health disparities and vulnerable populations. A particular focus has been on chronic illnesses, including those affecting children’s oral health and multiple chronic illnesses that affect older adults. All of my research is community-based and much has been interdisciplinary or translational in intent. I have been involved in team research with wide range of faculty and researchers from all four clinical schools on the UCSF campus, the school of Public Health at UC Berkeley, as well as private research institutes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Research Funding

  • September 24, 2008 - May 31, 2017 - Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health , Co-Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: U54DE019285
  • August 1, 2009 - July 31, 2012 - Contra Caries: Preventing ECC Using a Promotora Model for Rural Latino Families , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R21DE019210
  • September 1, 1999 - February 29, 2004 - SAFE HOUSES: MEANING OF HOME MODIFICATIONS AS SELF CARE , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R01AG015778
  • July 1, 2000 - June 30, 2002 - SPOUSAL INFLUENCE AND OLDER MEN'S SELF CARE , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R03AG018042


Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, B.Sc., 1972, Chemistry
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, B.A. (Hons) 1st, 1974, Anthropology
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, M.A., 1977, Anthropology
Bedford College, University of London, United Kingdom, M.Sc., 1977, Medical Sociology
University of CA, San Francisco & University of CA, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1985, Medical Anthropology

Selected Publications

  1. Lopez A, Hoeft KS, Guerra C, Barker JC, Chung LH, Burke NJ. Spanish-speaking Mexican-American parents' experiences while navigating the dental care system for their children. J Public Health Dent. 2022 Jan; 82(1):99-104.  View on PubMed
  2. Heaton B, Crawford AJ, Wimsatt MA, Henshaw M, Riedy CA, Barker JC, Garcia RI. A storytelling intervention reduces childhood caries risk behaviors among American Indian and Alaska Native mothers in Northern California. J Public Health Dent. 2019 09; 79(3):183-187.  View on PubMed
  3. Heaton B, Gebel C, Crawford A, Barker JC, Henshaw M, Garcia RI, Riedy C, Wimsatt MA. Using Storytelling to Address Oral Health Knowledge in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities. Prev Chronic Dis. 2018 05 24; 15:E63.  View on PubMed
  4. Singelis TM, Garcia RI, Barker JC, Davis RE. An Experimental Test of the Two-Dimensional Theory of Cultural Sensitivity in Health Communication. J Health Commun. 2018; 23(4):321-328.  View on PubMed
  5. Chang CP, Barker JC, Hoeft KS, Guerra C, Chung LH, Burke NJ. Importance of Content and Format of Oral Health Instruction to Low-income Mexican Immigrant Parents: A Qualitative Study. Pediatr Dent. 2018 Jan 01; 40(1):30-36.  View on PubMed
  6. Beck AL, Hoeft KS, Takayama JI, Barker JC. Beliefs and practices regarding solid food introduction among Latino parents in Northern California. Appetite. 2018 Jan 01; 120:381-387.  View on PubMed
  7. Albino J, Tiwari T, Gansky SA, Henshaw MM, Barker JC, Brega AG, Gregorich SE, Heaton B, Batliner TS, Borrelli B, Geltman P, Kressin NR, Weintraub JA, Finlayson TL, Garcia RI, Early Childhood Caries Collaborating Centers. The basic research factors questionnaire for studying early childhood caries. BMC Oral Health. 2017 May 19; 17(1):83.  View on PubMed
  8. Heaton B, Crawford A, Garcia RI, Henshaw M, Riedy CA, Barker JC, Wimsatt MA, Native Oral Health Project. Oral health beliefs, knowledge, and behaviors in Northern California American Indian and Alaska Native mothers regarding early childhood caries. J Public Health Dent. 2017 Sep; 77(4):350-359.  View on PubMed
  9. Nguyen UN, Rowe DJ, Barker JC. Survey of Knowledge, Beliefs, and Behaviors of Migrant Vietnamese Parents Regarding Young Children's Oral Health. J Dent Hyg. 2017 Apr; 91(2):45-53.  View on PubMed
  10. Chitewere T, Shim JK, Barker JC, Yen IH. How Neighborhoods Influence Health: Lessons to be learned from the application of political ecology. Health Place. 2017 05; 45:117-123.  View on PubMed
  11. Barker JC, Guerra C, Gonzalez-Vargas MJ, Hoeft KS. An ethnographic study of salt use and humoral concepts in a Latino farm worker community in California's Central Valley. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2017 Feb 08; 13(1):11.  View on PubMed
  12. Garcia RI, Tiwari T, Ramos-Gomez F, Heaton B, Orozco M, Rasmussen M, Braun P, Henshaw M, Borrelli B, Albino J, Diamond C, Gebel C, Batliner TS, Barker JC, Gregorich S, Gansky SA. Retention strategies for health disparities preventive trials: findings from the Early Childhood Caries Collaborating Centers. J Public Health Dent. 2017 Dec; 77(1):63-77.  View on PubMed
  13. Probst JC, Barker JC, Enders A, Gardiner P. Current State of Child Health in Rural America: How Context Shapes Children's Health. J Rural Health. 2018 02; 34 Suppl 1:s3-s12.  View on PubMed
  14. Barker JC, Guerra C, Gonzalez-Vargas MJ, Hoeft KS. Acceptability of Salt Fluoridation in a Rural Latino Community in the United States: An Ethnographic Study. PLoS One. 2016; 11(7):e0158540.  View on PubMed
  15. Pham K, Barker JC, Lazar AA, Walsh M. Oral Health Care of Vietnamese Adolescents: A Qualitative Study of Perceptions and Practices. J Dent Hyg. 2015 Dec; 89(6):397-404.  View on PubMed
  16. Hoeft KS, Rios SM, Pantoja Guzman E, Barker JC. Using community participation to assess acceptability of "Contra Caries", a theory-based, promotora-led oral health education program for rural Latino parents: a mixed methods study. BMC Oral Health. 2015 Sep 03; 15:103.  View on PubMed
  17. Apesoa-Varano EC, Barker JC, Unutzer J, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Johnson MD, Tran C, Guarnaccia P, Hinton L. Idioms of Distress Among Depressed White-Non-Mexican and Mexican-Origin Older Men. J Cross Cult Gerontol. 2015 Sep; 30(3):305-18.  View on PubMed
  18. Amanzadeh B, Sokal-Gutierrez K, Barker JC. An interpretive study of food, snack and beverage advertisements in rural and urban El Salvador. BMC Public Health. 2015 May 30; 15:521.  View on PubMed
  19. Apesoa-Varano EC, Barker JC, Unutzer J, Hinton L. Depression Attributes Among White Non-Hispanic and Mexican-Origin Older Men. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2015 Sep; 23(9):960-9.  View on PubMed
  20. Hoeft KS, Guerra C, Gonzalez-Vargas MJ, Barker JC. Rural Latino caregivers' beliefs and behaviors around their children's salt consumption. Appetite. 2015 Apr; 87:1-9.  View on PubMed

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