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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Texas A&M: Researchers Explore Geographic Disparities in Asthma Prevalence and Education Programs

A research team led by Dr. Genny Carrillo, from the Texas A&M School of Public Health investigated the prevalence of asthma in adults in Texas as well as distribution of asthma education programs around the state to determine whether there is a geographic disparity in education program availability. The study was recently published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.

Researchers used publicly available data on asthma rates from 2015 that included nearly 15,000 Texas adults. They also searched for active asthma education programs in Texas, finding 27 currently in operation. The team then analyzed data on asthma prevalence and education programs at the level of Texas’ 11 public health regions (PHRs).

The researchers found that adult asthma prevalence ranged from 5.1 percent to 11.5 percent, varying widely between different PHRs. They also found regional variations in program availability across the state. Some PHRs had several education programs whereas others had few, with three regions having no education programs. The distribution of programs seems skewed toward PHRs containing large cities: PHR 3 (Arlington) has eight programs, PHR 6 (Houston) has seven and PHR 11 has three (one in McAllen and two in Corpus Christi). The research team also observed that the PHR with the highest asthma prevalence (PHR 2) had no education programs at all. Their analysis found a statistically insignificant association between asthma prevalence and the number of programs.

Having a better understanding of not only the geographic disparities present in asthma education programs but the barriers people living in underserved PHRs face can be useful for creating effective targeted interventions.

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