Headline for Featured Item #1 Pre-Med Students Collect Information to Identify Health Disparities, Help Families in Colonia Live Healthy - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
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Pre-Med Students Collect Information to Identify Health Disparities, Help Families in Colonia Live Healthy

August 22, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Thirteen pre-med students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi collected health information from families living in a Banquete, Texas, colonia and instructed them on healthy behaviors as part of a new service learning experience offered during the spring semester.

The students in Dr. Suzzette Chopin’s “Service Learning in Health Care” course found that health disparities existing in the Coastal Bend include lack of access to care, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. 

“People living in rural areas frequently lack access to care,” said Dr. Chopin, Regents Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  “There are few, if any physicians, in their area. Access to health care could help overweight/obese individuals learn to make healthier choices, reduce their weight, and decrease their probability of developing hypertension and diabetes.”

During the 16-week project, pre-med students collaborated with mentors from the South Coastal Area Health Education Center and the South Texas Colonia Initiative. They made home health visits, performed physicals and glucose screenings, collected vital signs, explained the results, and taught the participants healthy behaviors to encourage them to continue taking small steps to improve their health and quality of life.

Chopin added that a service learning project that reaches out to underserved individuals can be a cost effective method that can help resolve public health issues and provide the students with hands-on experience in health care.

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