The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has released a new report about Hispanic-White disparities in child health, with data from 1997 to 2006.
Thanks to Siobhan Champ-Blackwell’s “Bringing Health Information to the Community.”
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.
A recent Science Update from the National Institute of Mental Health highlights a new study that appears in the Dec 2007 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The study suggests that interventions focused on strengthening the family system, including interventions with parents to encourage involvement and improved communication, may be more effective in reducing Hispanic teen risk behaviors than interventions that target those behaviors specifically. University of Miami researchers randomly assigned Hispanic eighth-graders and their primary caregivers to one of three combined interventions for a period of one year:
“Familias Unidas plus PATH was designed to promote positive adolescent development by increasing parental involvement and teaching more effective parental communication techniques. The program was designed to be more consistent with Hispanic cultural expectations, in which life is family-centered and vital to an individual’s emotional support. PATH is designed to specifically increase parent-adolescent communication about sexual behavior and HIV risks, but it does not target family dynamics specifically. HeartPower for Hispanics is designed to encourage healthier behaviors among Hispanic youth to reduce obesity and heart disease risks.”
Assessments at midway through the intervention year, at the end of the intervention year, and one and two years afterwards showed that the Familias Unidas + PATH intervention was:
The researchers caution that Mexican-Americans, which represent the majority of Hispanic residents of the US, were not well-represented in their study, so they encourage further study of the effectiveness of family-centered interventions among Mexican-Americans before generalizing the results to the wider US Hispanic population — certainly an opportunity for researchers here in South Texas.
Prado G, Pantin H, Briones E, Schwartz SJ, Feaster D, Huang S, Sullivan S, Tapia MI, Sabillon E, Lopez B, Szapocznik J. A randomized controlled trial of a parent-centered intervention in prevention substance use and HIV risk behavior in Hispanic adolescents. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2007 Dec; 75(6): 914-926. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.75.6.914 PubMed link
School librarians at Med High in Mercedes, Texas have led a project sponsored by the National Library of Medicine to promote the role of high school students as “peer tutors.” This model program relies on students to promote better access to health information in their communities. An article about an earlier, related collaboration with the UT Health Science Center is available free online.
Last week, eleven high school students from the South Texas Independent School District’s VIVA Summer Institute in Mercedes, Texas visited San Antonio to learn about health professions. Staff from the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Briscoe Library and the South Central Area Health Education Center introduced the students to a variety of career fields, including physical therapy, dentistry, medical illustration, and sports medicine. One highlight of the trip was a visit to the San Antonio Zoo, where students got to go behind-the-scenes with a zookeeper and meet with a veterinarian technician at the Zoo’s animal health clinic. The students also participated in a panel discussion in which they got to ask current students at the Health Science Center questions about topics such as admissions and studying. This experience gave the students exposure to both health professions on the Health Science Center campus and others outside a university-setting.
On Friday, November 16, three UTHSCSA Library staff visited W.B. Green Middle School in La Feria to promote health careers. Greysi Reyna and Monica Tovar from the Ramirez Library at UTHSCSA’s Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen and Keith Cogdill from San Antonio took part in the event, during which they spoke with more than 50 eighth graders about careers in medicine, dentistry, nursing, allied health and health sciences librarianship. Some of the resources that were especially helpful for the students were guides to UTHSCSA’s School of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Allied Health Sciences and Biomedical Sciences.
On Friday, August 21, staff from the UT Health Science Center Libraries exhibited at Colonial Hills Elementary in San Antonio for their Welcome Back to School day. The staff shared the National Library of Medicine’s reliable health information resources: MedlinePlus, South Texas Go Local, ToxMystery, and Household Products Database. The students and parents received information that could be used for school projects and for their families’ health.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is reimbursing school districts for the costs associated with retrofitting school buses with devices that reduce pollution emission. An estimated 36,000 school buses carry 1.3 million children in Texas every school day.
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) has released its latest annual summary of community health data, including data from 2007. The report shows a decrease in the number of births to mothers under the age of 18, but a continued increase in obesity (29.7% of area residents had a BMI of 30 or higher in 2007). There has also been a continued increase in cases of child abuse and neglect (16.2 confirmed cases per 1,000 children in 2007, up from 8.1 cases per 1,000 children in 2001).
San Antonio, where a recent study showed that 30% of children aged eight to ten are obese, has received a 15.6 million dollar federal grant funded through government stimulus money that will be used to fight childhood obesity. The funding, announced on Friday, March 19 and discussed in the San Antonio Express News on March 20, will focus on both increased physical activity and education to make better choices. The funding will be spent to