Health Interventions and Epidemiology

The Health Interventions and Epidemiology Division of the Department of Population Health Sciences at UT Health San Antonio focuses on behavioral intervention and health communication outreach.

Within this division, there are three main areas:

  • Health Policy and Evaluation
  • Epidemiology
  • Institute for Health Promotion Research

All of these areas have one common goal – provide qualitative, culturally relevant, community-based participatory research to improve health.

We focus our research with an equity lens, looking at health disparities.

Read about our areas of expertise, our past and ongoing research projects, and how you can collaborate with us on future research.

Our Expertise

In all areas of the division, the Health Interventions and Epidemiology Division has expertise in qualitative, community-based research.

Some of the questions we seek to answer through are research are:

  • How do you influence people’s health behaviors?
  • How do you craft health messages?
  • How do you develop programs that will influence how patients take care of their physical and mental wellbeing?
  • How do you change a patient’s perspective so that they’re more adherent to their health plans?

We focus use behavioral intervention and patient navigation to support health outcomes for patients and coordinating patient care with providers. Our work aims to create a bridge between a patient and provider.

We’re doctors and researchers, but we also work outside of the clinic walls.

These areas of expertise are relevant through our three main focus areas: Health Policy and Evaluation, Epidemiology, and the Institute for Health Promotion Research.

In Health Policy and Evaluation, our expert doctors serve as consultants that can help you work through and visualize program development.

You can come to us with a health program that you want to lead, and we provide recommendations in how to evaluate the program, how to scale it, keep it sustainable and analyze the goals and objectives. Some of the areas we focus on are access to patient care, social determinants of health, health disparities.

In Epidemiology, our team of expert researchers seeks to reduce disease in human populations through studying determinants of disease and developing disease prevention strategies.

Our main focus in epidemiology is on cancer, specifically conducing risk assessment and stratification, biomarker discovery, and the improvement of health care utilization for vulnerable populations.

In the Institute for Health Promotion Research, our expertise is in health disparities for the Latino population, examining ways we can advocate for equity community changes and create research-backed solutions that inform policies on healthy environments for Latinos.

Although the Institute for Health Promotion Research is also a standalone institute the work and researchers are headquartered in the department.

We seek to find the solution to cancer and chronic disease disparities to improve Latino health.

Projects and Milestones

The Health Interventions and Epidemiology Division frequently collaborates and builds relationships with organizations outside of the university, such as health departments, city councils, and boards.

Here are some of the past projects we’ve worked on while collaborating with other departments at UT Health San Antonio:

  • Dr. Dimpy Shah in our division recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on COVID-19 and cancer patients
  • Dr. Dorothy Long Parma is researching cancer among military service members through a grant with the Department of Defense
  • Dr. Patricia Chalela has worked on the Quitxt program, a statewide text message-based smoking cessation program
  • Dr. Daniel Hughes launched a pilot program for cancer survivors through a holistic approach that focuses on mental, physical, and spiritual healing

We have also used our expertise in health disparities research to initiate several projects examining Latino health:

  • Salud America! – a national Latino-focused organization that creates culturally relevant and research-based stories and tools to inspire people to drive healthy changes to policies, systems, and environments for Latino children and families.
  • Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training – a program that offers an annual summer institute and internships to increase the number of Latinos pursuing a doctoral degree and a career researching Latino health disparities
  • Redes En Acción – a program aimed at reducing Latino cancer through research, training, and raising awareness of cancer and resources in Latino communities.

The health policy and evaluation team has conducted several evaluations of important programs in the city and country:

  • Dr. Rebecca Jones evaluated the effectiveness of the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council, a group intended to highlight opportunities for residents to improve emotional well-being, physical activity, and healthy eating.
  • Dr. Susanne Schmidt evaluated the Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF) program, which is focused on helping children and families adopt and sustain healthy eating habits through culinary and nutritional education.
  • Our team also conducted an evaluation for UnidosUS on their Healthy and Ready for the Future Initiative, which aims to provide a healthy start in oral health and early education for Latino children, especially those from migrant families and across rural America.

How to Collaborate with Us

The Health Interventions and Epidemiology Division is happy to partner with you on a behavioral health research project.

You can contact the Health Interventions and Epidemiology Division through the Project Request Page to collaborate on an epidemiology research project or to request a project evaluation. To contact the Institute of Health Promotion Research, please email or call 210-562-6500.

Use the following steps to access the Project Request Page. This helps us assess who our audience is and what we can expect from our collaborators.

  1. Visit the Population Health Sciences Project Request Page.
  2. Enter required information into the Project Fields box.
    1. This includes the Project Name, Project Alias, a short description of the project, and the deadline date.
    2. If the deadline date is not applicable, leave it blank.
  3. Fill out the required information in the Contact Fields so that the Biostatistics faculty can get in contact with you about your project.
    1. Select the Contact TypePrimary Investigator or Project Point of Contact.
    2. NOTE: If you are not the primary investigator on the project, you will need to fill out the contact information of the primary investigator as well as your own.
    3. Fill out your First Name and Last Name.
    4. Fill out your email and phone number in the fields Contact Email and Contact Phone.
    5. Fill out the department associated with this project in the field Contact Department.
  4. Enter information regarding the funding of your project if you have the information available.
    1. Select Yes or No on the question: Can you answer some questions regarding funding?
    2. If No, continue to the next page.
    3. If Yes, enter information on the Funding Status and Funding Source.
    4. For Funding Status, select one of the options depending on the financial status of your project: Funded, Funding Pending, Unfunded, or Unknown.
    5. For Funding Source, select one of the options depending on the financial status of your project: Grant, Contract, invoice, Endowment, Core Grant, Other, or Unknown.
    6. If selecting Other, fill out the box for Other Funding Source.
  5. Enter which division(s) of PHS you would like to work with.
    1. Select Epidemiology or Evaluation.
    2. If applicable, select other divisions as well.
    3. If you select Epidemiology, this will complete the project request process. Someone from the Epidemiology team will be in contact with you soon to follow up on your project.
    4. If you select Evaluation, continue with the questions below.
  6. Select the type of Evaluation you need:
    1. Formative Evaluation
    2. Summative Evaluation
    3. Other (please elaborate in the text box below)
    4. Unsure
  7. Select the type of project it is:
    1. Grant Submission
    2. Funded Grant
    3. Publication
    4. Pilot Study
    5. Other
  8. In the text box, provide any other information related to evaluation that might be helpful for our team to prepare for meeting with you.
  9. This completes the project request process. Someone from the Evaluation team will be in contact with you soon to follow up on your project.