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Information and Communication Technology Improves Healthcare Delivery to Developing World Populations — Even in the United States

The University of Texas School of Public Health is utilizing Intel-based netbook PCs with affordable broadband connections to increase the public health reach to Hispanic citizens in Cameron County, one of the poorest counties in the US

In 2004, in the southernmost portion of Texas, the University of Texas School of Public Health (part of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston) began a long-term longitudinal study of Hispanic residents in Cameron County. The School selected Brownsville for its challenging demographics and extreme healthcare needs, and the program is based at the School’s Brownsville Regional Campus. The program focuses on the long-term tracking of (and interventions with) a cohort of more than 2,500 residents who are volunteers, recruited within the community. With a mean income per capita of less than $13,000, Cameron County is among the very poorest counties in the US.1. Not only is the area economically depressed, but education levels are low, with 43% of adults lacking basic literacy skills.2 Like many areas of the developing world, Cameron County has pressing challenges with chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. This longitudinal study—the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort Study—is guiding community-wide intervention programs to improve health (and the associated economic welfare) of Cameron County citizens, even as it continually surfaces new health challenges and opportunities within the population.

Read the full Netbooks Help Public Health School Deliver Healthcare White Paper.

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