Researcher recognized by DSHS for South Texas asthma program

March 5, 2013
Multi-Institutional Collaboration on Asthma Education in South Texas

Multi-Institutional Collaboration on Asthma Education in South Texas

A South Texas asthma education program initiated by Genny Carrillo-Zuniga, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., Sc.D., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health, recently was awarded the 2012 Discovery Award by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Dr. Carrillo-Zuniga’s collaboration with McAllen ISD, the South Texas College (STC) Respiratory Therapy Program and The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) nursing program has been synergistic in the asthma program’s success.

The DSHS Awards for Excellence in Texas School Health program recognizes, funds and promotes effective school health programs that strive to improve the lifelong health of students, staff and the greater school community.

The asthma program was established in 2008 by Dr. Carrillo-Zuniga through funds from the Texas Asthma Control Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Using curriculum developed by the American Lung Association, she developed culturally appropriate asthma management educational interventions targeted at school students residing in Hidalgo County, including those living in border colonias.

Dr. Carrillo-Zuniga trains students from the STC and UTPA programs, who in turn educate elementary and middle school children on asthma management and control.
Since implementation of this multi-institutional collaboration, 13 schools have received asthma training, with three more to be added during the 2012-2013 school year. These ongoing interventions are aimed at decreasing the number of hospitalizations, emergency room visits and missed school days (and work days for parents) due to asthma exacerbation’s, thereby improving the quality of life for children with asthma.

(Pictured: From left to right, Dr. Genny Carrillo, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., Sc.D., Assistant Professor at the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health;  Betty Chong-Menard, R.N., R.R.T., M.S., Clinical Cirector of the Respiratory Program, South Texas College;  Adalia Del Bosque, R.N., Director of Health Services at McAllen ISD;  Nancy Nadeau, R.N., M.S., Faculty at the University of Texas Pan American, Nursing Program. Back left to right: Rose Lucio, M.P.H., Assistant Director TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health McAllen Campus; Dr. Mike Barrera, Assistant Superintendent of McAllen ISD, and Olga Gabriel, M.P.H., Director of TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health McAllen Campus.)

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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