JANUARY 3, 2021 — Professor Erica Sosa is leading a team of researchers from The University of Texas at San Antonio in a new health literacy initiative. The project, funded by a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), aims to stem the tide of COVID-19 infection among minority and underserved residents of San Antonio and Bexar County.
Working in collaboration with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and UT Health San Antonio, Sosa will co-develop a plan to increase the availability, acceptability and use of vital information and services by Latinos and African Americans living in 22 local priority zip codes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Focusing efforts on underserved and minority communities is critical because they are not only at higher risk of COVID-19, but they are also more likely to be exposed to misinformation related to COVID-19. We are happy to play a role in assisting Metro Health to measure the impacts of this project,” said Sosa, associate dean for research and an associate professor of public health in the UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy.
The study highlights UTSA’s commitment to forging strong research collaborations and HCaP’s mission of conducting research and drafting policy to tackle societal issues and improve human health.
The HHS awarded $250 million to 73 local governments as part of a new, two-year initiative to enhance COVID-19 vaccinations and other mitigation practices among underserved populations. The City of San Antonio and Dallas County were the only Texas governments to receive the grant.
Sosa will work with the COVID-19 Community Response and Equity Coalition to advance the program. The coalition was founded in 2020 in response to the toll that the pandemic has taken on San Antonio, especially Latinos. Coalition members UTSA, UT Health San Antonio and San Antonio Metro Health are part of the coalition’s Community and Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which is working to provide preventive health services to residents of color.
Metro Health will have administrative and fiduciary oversight of the program. UTSA will lead the quality improvement and project evaluation. UT Health San Antonio will co-lead the development of the health literacy plan with UTSA.
The joint project is named Health Confianza to convey what the health organizations aim to achieve: trust and confidence in health information and services throughout marginalized communities. The UTSA team will be measuring multiple indicators including, but not limited to, vaccine rates, vaccine confidence, COVID-19 preventive behaviors and health literacy in the target zip codes to see if the Health Confianza strategies lead to improved outcomes.
Sosa says the health literacy initiative is key to improving the public’s understanding of COVID-19.
“We are in a unique time when community members want information to make health decisions, but are overwhelmed with conflicting messages,” Sosa concluded. “We have an opportunity and responsibility to make sure community members are able to access scientifically accurate and culturally appropriate information to make the best decisions for COVID-19 and also in future health decisions.”
UTSA students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to raise their voices and participate in the upcoming joint primary runoff election. Election day is Tuesday, May 24. Any registered Bexar County voter may vote at the H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102).Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), H-E-B Student Union, Main Campus
Please join us Wednesday, May 25, 2022 for a discussion with Colonel (ret) Michael Davis, MD, FACS, FRCS (Hon), former Director of the U.S. Combat Casualty Care Research Program. Dr. Davis will discuss how to best identify strengths at UTSA that can be effectively leveraged for funding proposals to the Department of Defense.UTSA Business Building University Room (2.06.04), Main Campus
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Do you find yourself more worried than usual about our students? Would you like to feel more confident in your ability to provide support or assistance to them? We are pleased to announce this new brownbag professional development opportunity for you, Compassion Fatigue Training, that will be offered June 1, 2022.Faculty Center Large Conference Room (JPL 4.04.12C), Main Campus
The Faculty Coffee Chat is designed to provide faculty members the space to discuss current issues they are facing in an inclusive and supportive environment.Virtual Event
Join your fellow alumni at The Dooryard, for networking, drinks, professional portraits, and karaoke. Be sure to dress business on the top to make the most of this unique opportunity.The Dooryard, 4503 De Zavala Rd Suite 108, San Antonio, TX 78249
These sessions are focused on incoming Freshman who are attending the UTSA Summer Orientation and are intending to major in areas within the College of Liberal and Fine Arts! We'll have important information and giveaways for you - come meet us.Willow room (SU 2.02.1), Main Campus
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