CLHIN eNewsletter For May, 2013
Clinical Research Facility Dedicated
A gathering of UT Health Science Center at San Antonio officials, legislators, and state and local leaders gathered in Harlingen on Thursday, Nov. 29 for the dedication ceremony at the Regional Academic Health Center’s Academic and Clinical Research Building. The facility, which encompasses 80,000 square feet, will house a clinical research facility and veterans clinic.
Initial research being conducted at the facility will include a major diabetes study, and data gathering for the National Children’s Study. In addition, the South Texas Veterans Health Care System will lease space for an outpatient clinic.
Officials have stated that the facilities “will help bring more medical residents to programs at the RAHC and set the stage for more doctors to practice here”. It is truly a beneficial element of both the research and patient community.
Corpus Christi struggles with public water safety
This article from Sunday’s Corpus Christi Caller-Times provides a good summary of the month-long struggle that city has had with problems in the public water system, which culminated last week with the announcement that samples had tested positive for E. coli, followed by a citywide boil-water notice and the abrupt resignation of the city’s water director.
Día del Médico
Tomorrow is “el Día del Médico” in Mexico, which has been celebrated on 23 October annually since 1930. In recognizing the event, Notimex cites a recent international study called “The Global Doctor” in which market research firm Grupo Psyma AG surveyed 600 doctors in China, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United States and Mexico. The results of that study indicate that despite working conditions that are not always optimal, doctors in Mexico (both specialists and general practitioners) report a very high level of satisfaction with their work and with their personal lives — higher than in many of the other surveyed countries. The article notes that:
“One of the reasons that doctors feel satisfaction for their profession, despite adverse situations, is the high social recognition they have among the general population, the acceptance of their mission to help their neighbors, and their work in research and teaching… Mexican doctors are similar to their Chinese colleagues in terms of the social prestige of their profession, which is highly valued.”
¡Saludos a todos los médicos en su día!
Diabetes Hospitalization Along the US”Mexico Border
A study published earlier this year in Preventing Chronic Disease, conducted an analysis of discharge data from hospitals in Arizona, California and Texas. Compared to residents of non-border counties, residents of border counties had significantly higher diabetes discharge rates – corroborating findings from a recent PAHO-sponsored study, noted on this blog last month.
Diabetes Research Funded
The Hispanic population of South Texas has been fighting a battle against two strong opponents…diabetes and obesity. But thanks to a $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the fight to combat these two growing health problems will be fought even harder.
Researchers from the University of Texas School of Public Health’s Brownsville regional campus plan to establish the Center of Excellence on Diabetes in Americans of Mexican Descent. The aim of this center will be to develop prevention programs for diabetes and obesity in Mexican Americans. The additional funding will help to expand a region-wide media campaign on preventing obesity and improving health.
Figures from Cameron County prove the need for just such a program.
52% of county residents are obese
32 % of county residents are overweight
1 in 5 county residents has diabetes
23% of county residents have pre-diabetes
The goal of the researchers’ work is to find programs that will work in changing behavior and making Valley residents healthier.
El regreso de la “Lotería de salud” #13: El cantarito
Primero que nada, su humilde servidor y cantor de lotería quiere pedir disculpas por la larga e inesperada ausencia de la “Lotería de Salud;” una serie de compromisos y problemas técnicos hicieron difícil continuar con la lotería por ese período. Pero lo bueno es que regresamos — y ojalá sea por un buen rato más.
Esta semana — del 19 al 25 de octubre de 2008 — es la Semana Nacional de la Prevención del Envenenamiento por el Plomo. La imágen del “cantarito” nos recuerda que el plomo tóxico no sólo nos puede alcanzar en materiales del trabajo o en antigua tubería o pintura de nuestras casas, sino también en vajillas de barro o cerámica como las que se pueden comprar en México o en la frontera, o en remedios caseros como “greta” y “azarcón”. El plomo es un veneno silencioso — altos niveles de plomo en la sangre no muestran síntomas óbvias hasta que lleguen a tener efectos permanentes en el cerebro y en el cuerpo. Los niños corren más riesgo del plomo porque les pueden llegar a afectar cantidades de plomo mucho más pequeñas de los que afectan a los adultos.
Por favor, lea los siguientes documentos para entender cuáles son las posibles fuentes de plomo que pueden afectarle a usted y a su familia. Si cree que es posible que usted o algún miembro de su familia se haya expuesto al plomo, es importantísimo que vaya al doctor y pida que le haga pruebas del nivel de plomo en la sangre.
- De MedlinePlus: Envenenamiento con plomo e Intoxicación con plomo
- De la EPA (Agencia de Protección Ambiental): Un programa de video y un programa de audio (6 min 38 seg)
- Del DSHS (Departamento Estatal de Servicios de Salud): “Plomo en su comida y remedios caseros”
- Del TCEQ (Comisión de Calidad Ambiental de Texas): “El envenenamiento con plomo: ¿De dónde viene? ¿Cuáles son los riesgos?”
Elevated Levels of Mercury Found in Mexican Cosmetic Cream
Texans are being warned by the South Texas Poison Center about the possible dangers of a cosmetic cream from Mexico and its link to inorganic mercury exposure and poisonings. The product, “Crema Aguamary”, is not approved for use in the U.S. and is probably being brought into the United States from across the border. Approximately 20 cases have been reported to State health officials, primarily in border towns.
EPA Support for South Texas/Mexico Environmental Health
Last month the EPA awarded $24.75m to the North American Development Bank and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission to support local communities’ involvement in improving their environmental infrastructure. Yesterday EPA also awarded $200,000 to support environmental projects that support collaborations between Texas and the Mexican border states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila.
EpiLink on Stress Among Latino Adolescents
The Texas Department of Health published the semimonthly Disease Prevention News for many years, but publication stopped abruptly back in 2003 in the middle of Volume 63. Under the auspices of the new Texas Department of State Health Services’ Infectious Disease Control Unit (ICDU), publication resumed with Volume 64 Issue 1 in January 2007 and continuing on a roughly monthly publication schedule with a new name: EpiLink Online Bulletin.
An article from the November issue of EpiLink has received some attention in the Spanish-language press after coverage by the Mexican news agency Notimex. The paper in question, “Current perspectives on stress among Latino adolescents” [PDF full text] was prepared by Richard C Cervantes and colleagues for the Annual Conference of the National Hispanic Network on Drug Abuse which took place in September. The paper is a review of research into the stressful living conditions that disproportionately affect Latino youth — including poverty, lack of health insurance, high school drop-out rates, increasing health problems (e.g., obesity), high teenage pregnancy rates, sexually transmitted diseases, increasing rates of HIV infections, substance abuse, and violence — and the present and future effects of that increasing stress on the health of an entire generation of Latinos.
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (Freid et al., 2003), … the highest rates of suicide consideration (26.5%) were for female Latinas. Latino and Latina youth from 9th to 12th grade overall had higher rates of attempted suicide than any other group; the male students were at 8.0% while, again, the female Latina rates (15.9%) were much higher. In an older survey, injurious suicide attempt rates were higher for Latina females 4.2%, followed by Latino males (2.5%), and then African Americans (DHHS, 1990). A study conducted by Rew et al. (2001) revealed that Latina adolescents had the highest rate of suicide attempts compared to other ethnic-gender groups. In addition, Latinas in the study also had relatively high reports of sexual abuse and suicide attempts by family members and friends. Latinas also have alarmingly higher rates of depression (27%). Latinas were the second highest ethnic group to report depressive symptoms. Acculturation stress due to conflictive gender roles in adolescent Latinas is believed to be the driving force of their higher rates of stress, depression and suicidality (National Coalition of Hispanic Health and Human Services Organization, 1999).
Although the reference list for the review article is impressive and very helpful, it also lays out a compelling case for a more comprehensive research agenda for studying issues such as intergenerational differences in acculturation and their effect on intrafamilial stress, differences between the mental and physical health of “acculturated” vs. “bicultural” Latino adolescents, and the relationship of gender differences in Latino adolescents to stressors, coping skills, resiliency, and mental and physical health.
Here’s an example of the Notimex coverage in Spanish: “Adolescentes hispanos afectados por el estrés” from MetroLatinoUSA, 2007-11-21; and here’s a blog post that reprints English-language coverage of the report from the 2007-11-09 issue of the Rio Grande Guardian (unfortunately, the original article does not appear on the Guardian‘s site now).