Embracing the local: Enriching scientific research, education, and outreach on the Texas-Mexico border through a participatory action research partnership

Marlynn L. May, Gloria J. Bowman, Kenneth S. Ramos, Larry Rincones, Maria G. Rebollar, Mary L. Rosa, Josephine Saldana, Adelina P. Sanchez, Teresa Serna, Norma Viega, Gregoria S. Villegas, Maria G. Zamorano, Irma N. Ramos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cameron Park, Texas, is a colonia (an isolated, unincorporated rural settlement without municipal improvements) on the Texas-Mexico border in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, in Cameron County near Brownsville, Texas. Cameron Park has a population of 5,961 residents, 99.3% of whom are Hispanic. The annual median income is $16,934, about one-half of the state median. Fifty-eight percent of families generally and 68% of those with children younger than 5 years have incomes below poverty level. Cameron Park resides geographically in a region where agriculture has been, and continues to be, a dominant industry, a fact consistent with the intensive use of pesticides and increased potential for air, water, and ground contamination. The practice of good environmental health is extremely difficult under these conditions. In 1999 the Texas A&M University Center for Housing and Urban Development's Colonias Program and the Center for Environmental and Rural Health teamed up to create an environmental health education and outreach program called the Cameron Park Project (CPP). The CPP focused on how to reduce potential environmental exposures associated with human illness by providing residents with scientifically sound information on positive health practices and how to deal with environmental hazards. In this article we discuss the research methodology used in the CPP, a methodology specifically chosen to address four challenges presented by colonias to conducting valid and reliable research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1571-1576
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Volume111
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Border health
  • Colonias
  • Environmental health education
  • Participatory action research
  • Promotoras
  • Texas-Mexico border

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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  • Cite this

    May, M. L., Bowman, G. J., Ramos, K. S., Rincones, L., Rebollar, M. G., Rosa, M. L., Saldana, J., Sanchez, A. P., Serna, T., Viega, N., Villegas, G. S., Zamorano, M. G., & Ramos, I. N. (2003). Embracing the local: Enriching scientific research, education, and outreach on the Texas-Mexico border through a participatory action research partnership. Environmental health perspectives, 111(13), 1571-1576. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.5771