In honor of Binational Health Week, the UTHSC Laredo Library held a reception on Wednesday, October 13. The Library’s special guest was Mr. Victor Oliveros. Mr. Oliveros is a retired epidemiologist from the Laredo Health Department, and he is still active with committees and projects addressing border health issues. Mr. Oliveros recently donated a collection of his public health materials and slide presentations to the Laredo Library. The materials, dating primarily from the 1970s and 1980s, focus on environmental and public health concerns such as rabies, garbage pickup, and water/waste water treatment. Some of his materials have been added to the Laredo Library’s collection, and many of the slides have been digitized.
Staying Well. Connected.
Binational Health Week celebration in Laredo
20th Annual San Fernando Health and Safety Fair
Saturday, October 2nd, proved to be a beautiful day for the 20th Annual San Fernando Health and Safety Fair. The fair was held on the grounds of the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. Over 400 volunteers including doctors, dentists, nurses, community workers and students make the fair possible each year. The UTHSC library staff has participated in this primarily outdoor event come rain or shine for a number of years. This year staff members Keith Cogdill and Peg Seger enjoyed the good weather while introducing MedlinePlus consumer health information to fair participants. Free screenings provided at the fair included: body mass index, cholesterol, blood pressure, vision, dental, podiatry, dermatology, mammography, prostate, and diebetes. Founded by Father Vergil Elizondo, the fair has 3 primary objectives.
(1) Provide a “safe harbor” setting for medically underserved with personalized health screenings, education, and referral services by specialized health professionals.
(2) Provide follow up services for participants with abnormal/high risk screening results.
(3) Link children, elderly, the working poor, an others with language, cultural, financial or eligibility barriers to service with a wide-range of health care and education providers.
Gift to Laredo Health Department to Help Combat Cancer
On September 29, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) donated $2.5 million to the Laredo Health Department to aid in the fight against cancer in the border region of Texas. The money will be used to carry out a prevention and public education campaign, in addition to a program to help get citizens to take early detection tests that will help to avoid the development of cancer. According to Hector Gonzalez, health director, this is the largest gift ever received to combat cancer in the community.
Text Messaging as a Supplement to Traditional Disease Surveillance
The August issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases includes a report about how Mexico’s Ministry of Health relied on a text message-based survey to supplement traditional surveillance methods during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. The speed of responses to the survey is highlighted, as are the limitations of the data collected: “Our study was limited by potential selection bias, recall bias, and inclusion of mostly young persons from urban areas.”
Library staff members visit Haven for Hope
On Friday, September 24, UTHSC Library staff members Peg Seger, Keith Cogdill, and Linda Levy participated in an extensive tour of San Antonio’s Haven for Hope. Haven for Hope, whose mission is to “transform and save lives of the homeless …. to provide homeless individuals and families with the training, skills and assistance needed to help them become self-sufficient,” represents a unique partnership among 78 governmental, non-profit and faith-based agencies. Meals, social services, medical and dental needs, educational opportunities, job training, and safe housing for men, women, and families are all provided within a single campus near downtown San Antonio. During the planning stages of Haven for Hope, planners traveled across the United States, visiting homeless shelters and service providers to determine best practices. The seven guiding principles of Haven for Hope developed from these visits include:
- Change the culture of Warehousing to a culture of Transformation
- Co-locate and integrate as many services as possible
- Master case management
- Reward good decision-making
- Consequences for bad decision-making
- Align as many external services with the campus as possible
- Separate the panhandlers from the truly homeless
UT Health Science Center Libraries at Alamo Area Library System’s Annual Meeting
On September 17 library staff from the UT Health Science Center provided a keynote presentation for the annual meeting of the Alamo Area Library System. Approximately 90 public librarians from communities surrounding San Antonio attended this meeting. Peg Seger, Gary Goodson and Keith Cogdill represented the UT Health Science Center and encouraged attendees to join the NN/LM – South Central Region.
Adolescent substance use may be mediated by family, school, and individual factors
Several research studies have found major racial and ethnic differences among adolescents and adults who use alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, and there have been a number of hypotheses that attempt to explain these differences. A recent study, with results published in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, examines individual, peer, and family factors that may be associated with substance use and assesses whether these factors differ by racial and ethnic groups. More than 10,000 seventh and eighth grade students participated in the study, which found that Hispanic students reported significantly higher rates of lifetime and past-month use of the substances studied compared to African American, Asian, and Caucasian students. For Hispanic students, individual factors such as perceived peer use were important in affecting substance use, while family and school factors affected use less directly.
Shih, R, Miles JN, Tucker, JS, Zhou, AJ, D’Amico, EJ. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Adolescent Substance Use: Mediation by Individual, Family, and School Factors. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2010 Sep: 71(5): 640-51.
New Support Group for Parents of Children Affected by Heart Problems
The city of Brownsville now has a local chapter of Mended Little Hearts, a support group for parents of children with heart defects and heart disease. According to Michelle Gonzalez, coordinator for McAllen, “Our goal is to raise awareness in the Brownsville community, garner support for the congenital heart defect community as well as support those families that are affected by these defects.” Prior to this time, the nearest chapter was located in McAllen.
Mended Little Hearts is affiliated with the American Heart Association.
Did you know … PubMed for community college librarians
On a recent trip to Laredo, Linda Levy taught PubMed to librarians from Laredo Community College. The librarians work with students from several programs in Allied Health, and they were interested in furthering their own knowledge of PubMed searching. During the class, the librarians learned about utilizing the features of PubMed, including the MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) thesaurus, the limits, and the ability to filter searches to find systematic reviews or articles with a specific clinical focus such as diagnosis or treatment.
How Will Health Care Reform Affect the Use of Curanderismo?
Will easier access to health care affect the use of complementary and alternative medicine in the Valley? With changing health care reform, only time will tell whether it will have an effect on the use of folk healers among the Valley population. While some may use Curanderismo because they can’t afford conventional treatment, others choose this method of treatment because they don’t trust conventional doctors, or because of tradition. Still many, according to Albert Salinas, a curandero in Edinburg, see clients who use Curanderismo in conjunction with conventional treatments. Complementary use of the traditional healing arts may be the best way to take advantage of modern medicine while not abandoning one’s beliefs. According to Antonio Zavaleta, director of the Texas Center for Border and Translational Studies at the University of Texas-Brownsville, “We don’t want to discourage people from visiting curanderos. We only want them to stop if we see they are being harmed”.