News and Events
On March 28, Drs. Deborah Juarbe and Mildred Vera, investigators of the Pilot Project “Risk Communication and Community Engagement to Address Zika Virus Prevention” visited the Manuel A. Pérez public housing complex to meet and share a dinner with community leaders. At the meeting, members of the Board of Directors informed the investigators about their experiences after the passage of Hurricane Maria. They also reiterated their commitment to participate in research activities that benefit the residents. The community leaders were informed that the results of the pilot project in which they participated were accepted for publication and copies of the publication will be shared. This activity was designed to maintain the robust partnership developed at Manual A. Pérez while conducting the study. . The Risk Communication and Community Engagement to Address Zika Virus Prevention study is supported by NIMHD RCMI Grant U54-MD007600.
On April 6, 2018 staff of the pilot project “Zika Virus Prevention and Risk Communication Strategies” visited Botijas Ii, a farm school in the rural town of Orocovis. The school is known for its curriculum and teaching personnel sensitive to the environmental problems of the region. This explains their interest in methods to eradicate mosquitoes without affecting people’s health or the environment. The project team was led by principal investigator, Dr. Deborah Juarbe. To address community concerns about the existing problem of mosquitoes in the school, a workshop was conducted focusing on the preparation of home-made mosquito’s traps. Fourteen eighth-grade students, three teachers, and the school principal participated in the workshop, which included a conference about the biology of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Public health problems caused by mosquito-transmitted diseases was also discussed before demonstrating how to make small homemade mosquito traps (indoor use) and more sophisticated Ago-Traps (outdoor use). Mr. Samuel Lacén, an environmental scientist, designed and conducted the workshop. Materials for the elaboration of the traps were provided by the project to the participants. The students had the opportunity to make the mosquito traps working individually or in pairs under the guidance of Mr. Lacén. The activity concluded with a question and answer session which was received with great enthusiasm and assertiveness by the students. All students received a certificate acknowledging their participation in the workshop. Due to the public service relevance of the activity, Ms. Juanita Sandoval, director of local radio station Radio Cumbre 1470, conducted an interview with the project team which was transmitted the next day to neighboring towns. At the end of the interview, Ms. Sandoval emphasized to the audience the importance of preventing mosquito-transmitted diseases and warmly thanked the members of the project for their visit to the mountain.
The research project, Baby Act Trial, is a community based trial that has been developed and will be implemented in collaboration with representatives from the Puerto Rico Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). In March, officials from the WIC program requested a presentation on the study plan to their providers prior to study implementation. A meeting with 205 WIC providers in attendance was conducted. The activity highlighted the contributions to be made by the nutritionists who are expected to provide services through the program at different levels. As part of the activities, the Baby Act Trial staff presented the study on-line platform, as well as, the screening and recruitment procedures to be used in the study. Members of the Baby Act Trial research team have already collaborated with the WIC program in the development of the webpage nutriwicpr.com, one their most recent resources to disseminate the educational component of the program. Key personnel of the Baby Act Trial also met at the UPR Medical Sciences Campus to discuss study progress. The Baby Act Trial is supported by NIMHD RCMI Grant U54-MD007600
The National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The attached calendar summarizes the activities organized by the Nutrition and Public Health Student Association at the UPR Medical Sciences Campus to celebrate this special month.
The community of Manuel A. Pérez received training in the use of family and community water filters. Representatives of the community including the director of the Nursing Center, the recreational leader, social worker, administrator, maintenance workers, church members, and residents participated in the training. Mr. Héctor Torres, a student of health education and Professor Carmen M. Vélez of the Medical Sciences Campus demonstrated the use and proper handling of the filters. The activity was organized by pilot project investigator, Dr. Deborah Juarbe.
As part of the pilot project “Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategies to Enhance Behavior Change for Zika Virus Prevention and Control”, Dr. Deborah Juarbe organized an activity focused on how to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus at home. The activity was held at Villa Calma Sector in Toa Baja, P.R., a community severely affected by hurricane Maria. Dr. Carmen Vélez and Mr. Héctor Torres, from the Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) program, collaborated in the activity. Mr. Torres explained to the 40 participants how to protect their homes and neighborhood from mosquitoes. Mosquito nets and repellents were distributed at the end of the activity. Dr. Juarbe distributed printed material related to the Zika virus infection and gave special thanks to Ms. Millie Chévere for assisting in the organization and execution of the activity.
Dr. Deborah Juarbe and Dr. Mildred Vera, investigators of the RCMI pilot Project “Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategies to Enhance Behavior Change for Zika Virus Prevention and Control“, joined the Puerto Rico Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in training communities on the use of the new autocidal gravid ovitrap (AGO) mosquito trap. Mosquitoes are responsible for spreading many viruses that can make people sick, including dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and more. This trap is inexpensive, simple-to-assemble, and easy-to-maintain and targets female mosquitoes looking for a place to lay eggs.