COVID-19 Resources

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increase in our community, so does anxiety associated with the pandemic.  The mental health effects of COVID-19 are as important to address as the physical health effects. To aid individuals and communities during this time, the ReACH Center will be compiling a range of resources and information on our COVID-19 page

ReACH Core Scholar Luz Garcini Featured on Oprah's Book Club

Luz Garcini, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor and ReACH Core Scholar was featured on the latest episode of Oprah's Book Club streaming on Apple+.  Tune in to hear Dr. Garcini  talk to Oprah Winfrey about the border wall and her research related to stress and trauma in undocumented populations. Episode Preview

Local Census Response Rate

Are you interested in seeing how many people in your community are responding to the 2020 Census?  As of May 1st the national self-response rate of the 2020 Census is 56.0%.  The self-response rate for Texas is 50.6%, and the self-response rate in Bexar County is 54.0%. Stay up to date with self response rates from across the U.S. on the Census Bureau website.  

Contact Us

7411 John Smith Road

Suite 1050

San Antonio, TX



Tel: 210-562-5551

Fax: 210-562-5560

2018-2019 ReACH/IIMS Pilot Grant: Increasing E-Cigarette Awareness and Counseling Among South Texas Dentists, Patients and Communities

Project Team:

  • PI: Rahma Mungia, BDS, MSc, DDPHRCS - Assistant Professor, Department of Periodontics at UT Health San Antonio
  • Academic Co-investigator: Meredith Buchberg, MPH - Research Area Specialist Senior, Department of Periodontics at UT Health San Antonio
  • Community Co-investigator: Michael Thompson - Bexar County Translational Advisory Board
  • Academic Mentor: Melissa Valerio, PhD - Campus Dean and Associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio Regional Campus

Project Abstract:

Background: Electronic cigarettes, also referred to as e-cigs or vape pens, are battery-powered devices that deliver a smoke-like aerosol (i.e., vapor) that the user inhales, producing an experience that resembles the act of smoking a conventional cigarette. E-cigarettes were introduced in the U.S. market in 2007. Since then, their use has increased substantially. Although the prevalence of conventional cigarette smoking among U.S. adults decreased from 19.3% to 17.8% between 2010 and 2013, the use of e-cigarettes increased from 1.8% to 13.5%. These trends may indicate a shift from conventional cigarettes to other nicotine/tobacco products that are perceived as less harmful or as potential cessation aids. As the use of e-cigarettes rises, healthcare providers should be prepared to provide consistent, evidence-based advice to their patients regarding this emerging issue.

Purpose: 1) To quantitatively and qualitatively assess psychosocial factors (knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, misconceptions) relating to e-cigarette use in South Texas, identify local populations most at-risk for initiation of e-cigarette use and better understand how dental practitioners address e-cigarette use in their practices. 2) To develop a) continuing education materials for dental practitioners that will increase their self-efficacy and capacity to counsel their patients about e-cigarette use and the risks associated with use and, b) bilingual awareness materials targeted to populations most at risk in South Texas (as identified in Aim 1) that can be distributed within dental offices and community organizations.

Methods: A brief electronic survey that will be administered to dental practitioners in South Texas. Results from the survey will inform the development of an interview guide for focus groups. The research team will conduct 3-4 focus groups with 6-8 individuals per group. Focus groups will include representation from community stakeholders identified by the Bexar County Translational Advisory Board. Results: Qualitative and quantitative results will be used to develop continuing education materials that are clinically relevant for dental practitioners and patient education materials that appropriate and appealing.

Conclusion: Little or no research exists about dental practitioners’ knowledge of e-cigarettes and their attitudes towards providing counseling for patients. The results from the study will gain a deeper understanding of the needs relating to e-cigarette awareness and develop culturally tailored materials for populations in South Texas.

Presentations and Publications: