ReACH/IIMS Announce 2019-2020 Population Health Pilot Grants Program

The ReACH Center, in conjunction with the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS) have announced the 2019-2020 ReACH/IIMS Population Health Pilot Grants Program.  Applications are due January 13, 2020 by 5:00 pm.  To learn more about this RFA please visit our ReACH/IIMS Popultion Health Pilot Grants page! 

ReACH is Seeking a Research Area Specialist!

The ReACH Center is recruiting for a Research Area Specialist-Associate position.  For more information about this opening, please visit our Staff Opportunites page.  

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Do you have an interest in the health of San Antonio and the South Texas region?  Become a member of the ReACH Cenrer!  Membership is free provides the opportunity to get involved with shaping the future of population health, clinical and translational research in South Texas!  For more information and to sign up click here!

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2019-2020 ReACH/IIMS Pilot Grant: Building an ECHO model to increase awareness and prevention of Chagas Disease in South Texas

Project Team:

  • PI: Paula Stigler-Granados, PhD - Assistant Professor, School of Health Administration, Texas State University
  • Community Co-investigator: Paula Winkler, MEd - Director, South Central Area Health Education Center
  • Academic Mentor: Rodney Rohde, PhD - Program Chair, Clinical Laboratory Science, Texas State University
  • Graduate Research Assistant: To Be Named
  • Consultant: Wari Allison, MD, PhD - Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio

Project Abstract:

Chagas disease is sometimes referred to as a “silent killer”. Most people living with this chronic disease will be without symptoms for years or even decades and go undiagnosed until either they are no longer eligible for treatment or the damage is irreversible and fatal. Chagas disease is an infection with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) and is endemic throughout the Americas resulting in significant morbidity and economic burdens. While the United States (US) is typically considered a non-endemic country, research has found T. cruzi-positive Triatoma vectors in 27 southern states along with evidence of sylvatic transmission and locally acquired human cases. Texas, in particular, is becoming recognized as an endemic area for both sylvatic and domestic transmission and has a disproportionate number of locally acquired human infections. Unfortunately, less than 1% of known Chagas disease cases in the US have been properly diagnosed or received appropriate treatment. This critical treatment gap is likely due to the documented low physician awareness and lack of active surveillance of high-risk groups, demonstrating the current state of Chagas disease as a neglected tropical disease in the United States. The overall aim of this proposal is to increase health care provider awareness of Chagas disease screening and treatment protocols and provide education and outreach materials for communities to assist with prevention activities. The long-term outcomes of our study will have clinical implications regarding Chagas disease for South Texas communities, and will serve as a representation for the larger
Latino and low-income communities living in the southern US. Specifically, this project has the following aims:

Aim 1: Establish a Chagas-specific Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) program to be utilized by south Texas clinicians to increase awareness and enhance patient care;
Aim 2: Establish a Chagas-specific ECHO program for Community Health Workers (CHWs) to be utilized by south Texas CHWs to better assist with patient access to information and care; and
Aim 3: Disseminate Chagas related information to communities and the emerging healthcare workforce via South Texas Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) to help better our understanding of prevalence and prevention measures needed in high-risk communities.

Presentations and Publications: