STEER | South Texas Environmental Education and Research
RESOURCES | COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Our past projects have included a study of asthma in school children, and a program to reduce illness caused by contaminated drinking water.
ASTHMA ENVIRONMENTAL HOUSE CALLS
Under the pilot project titled "environmental house calls," STEER students were involved in making house calls, a hands-on method to learn underlying causes of asthma.
Families in Laredo with children who have asthma volunteer to open their homes to the students. Under professional supervision, the students visit the family home three times. They learn about the relationship between illness and the environment of their patient.
Teach Back, Reach Out: Professionally-trained Environmental Ambassadors for Community Health (PEACHes)
We have trained community health workers (Promotoras) to understand, evaluate, and intervene when household indoor air exposures pose a potential risk for children or adults with asthma. The project's activities specifically addressed three EPA priority areas: "Indoor Environmental Asthma Triggers - Education and Exposure Reduction," "Indoor Environmental Asthma Triggers - Healthcare Professional Training," and "Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) - Education and Exposure Reduction" through an innovate and effective intervention strategy, the environmental house-call. STEER staff trained Promotoras on asthma and the implementation of effective in-home interventions to decrease asthma triggers. PEACHes trained over 150 Promotoras to work with at least 450 households with someone who has asthma.
A prototype study to determine the prevalence of asthma in Laredo, Texas, examined the effect of air pollution on children’s breathing.
Based at Ryan Elementary School, the study involved 95 fifth-grade students and their parents who answered questions about the child’s health history, home environment, and demographic and socioeconomic conditions.
Students recorded any symptoms in diaries, and took daily peak-flow measurements of their breathing for two months.
An educational program about asthma was designed for school nurses, teachers and the children.