Graduate publishes study on injury prevention training in colonias

November 19, 2012
Norma I. Garza, M.P.H.

Norma I. Garza, M.P.H.

Norma I. Garza, M.P.H., a recent graduate of the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health, has a study published in the Texas Public Health Journal on the impact that injury prevention training has on low-income families and unintentional childhood injuries.

“The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of injury prevention training for Mexican-American households living in impoverished areas along the Texas-Mexico border, known as colonias, and to conduct a home hazards assessment,” said Garza, who graduated from the McAllen campus. “Children from ethnic minority groups are more likely to suffer unintentional injuries than non-Hispanic white children.”

The most common non-fatal injuries for U.S. children are unintentional, such as falls or contact with harmful household products.

The study in the Fall 2012 issue of Texas Public Health Journal showed training on injury prevention and home safety education significantly impacted the behaviors of families in the home. However, many minority families and low-income households along the Texas-Mexico border lack the training and awareness needed to properly anticipate and prevent such unintentional injuries related to home safety practices.

“Most childhood injuries occur in the home and are preventable through home safety modifications such as smoke detectors, stove guards, fire extinguishers and safety caps on electrical outlet plugs,” Garza said. “The need for home safety training among low-income minority households is significant. To achieve this, a culturally appropriate home safety and injury prevention curriculum can be used to train parents and caregivers.”

Additional TAMHSC study authors include Genny Carrillo Zuniga, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.P.H., Sc.D.; Luohua Jiang, Ph.D.; Nelda Mier, Ph.D.; John Hellsten, Ph.D.; and Antonio Rene, Ph.D., M.P.H.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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