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Emory Global Health Institute Field Scholars Awards Program

2012 Global Health Institute Field Scholars

Assessment and Enhancement of Knowledge of Neglected Infections of Poverty Among Medical Providers who Serve the Latino Immigrant Population in Metropolitan Atlanta

Israel Habtamu, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Michael McHenry, Emory College, Anthropology and Human Biology
Tiffany Pearson, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
Ashley Tippins, Rollins School of Public Health

Neglected infections of poverty are a significant but overlooked scourge in many areas of the United States. This group of diseases includes chronic and often debilitating bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections. However, because these diseases disproportionately affect disenfranchised poor and minority groups such as Latino immigrants, they are often overlooked in terms of diagnosis and treatment. The limited available research conducted on medical providers’ knowledge of Chagas disease and other infections of poverty suggests a substantial education gap among medical providers regarding these diseases. Further research is needed to delineate the gaps in physician knowledge of Chagas disease and other infections of poverty, particularly in the context of diagnosing and treating the Latino immigrant community, which is at high risk of suffering from these diseases. Furthermore, a means of addressing gaps in knowledge of these diseases among medical providers should be developed and evaluated.

The goal of this team project was to improve the ability of medical providers in Atlanta who serve the Latino community to recognize and treat neglected infections of poverty that disproportionately affect Latino immigrants. The project had two primary objectives:

  1. to measure knowledge of neglected infections of poverty among medical providers who serve Latino immigrants in Atlanta; and
  2. to evaluate the effectiveness of an existing Continuing Medical Education (CME) module concerning neglected infections of poverty amongst these medical providers.

The team used quantitative research methods to survey Atlanta area medical providers’ knowledge of neglected infections of poverty. The medical provider survey included questions regarding the endemicity, transmission, and risk factors for a variety of neglected infections of poverty that disproportionately affect Latino immigrants. The data was analyzed using frequencies and regression analyses to assess the degree of knowledge of neglected infections of poverty among medical providers, associations between degree of knowledge and medical provider characteristics, and effective approaches to educating medical providers on the topic. Additionally, the team evaluated for effectiveness a novel CME training module regarding neglected infections of poverty and medical providers’ knowledge.

In follow-up to their summer work, this team presented a poster of their project during the 2012 EGHI Global Health Scholars Symposium.

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