Border Line Care: Combating Pediatric Obesity in Border Towns

Border Line Care: Combating Pediatric Obesity in Border Towns

Erika Estrada-Ibarra is a 1st year DNP-FNP/PhD students at the Johns Hopkins school of Nursing. Erika completed her BSN at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, and gained hands on experience in pediatrics at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. Erika’s current research focuses on pediatric obesity in Hispanic populations located in U.S./Mexico border towns.

Growing up in a Hispanic community, I was surrounded by the rich culture of cuisine and kinship. Anywhere in the area, there is easy access to “Tex-Mex” dining and fast-food restaurants. This area is known as the Rio Grande Valley, RGV, located at the southern border of Texas. A unique, yet exceptional place that spotlights Mexican-American culture. Despite the distinctive culture, there are substantially harmful consequences. The RGV ranks as one of the most overweight and obese regions in the country. In Hidalgo County, one of the three counties within the RGV, the obesity rate is 42.9%, higher than the Texas state average of 36%. With obesity rates increasing each year, there is a desperate need in reducing the obesity rates in this region.

My research investigation focuses on reducing pediatric obesity in low-socioeconomic regions along border towns through early prevention of education. I believe through timely interventions, there can be a reduction of obesity rates while improving quality of life. By working alongside my advisors Dr. Eliana Perrin and Dr. Lucine Francis, we can develop implementations of early education in nutrition and identify barriers to reduce pediatric obesity.

My community is the reason why I am pursuing my Doctorate and Ph.D. in Nursing. Having the opportunity to give back to the RGV through education and leading them to a healthier lifestyle is my overall aspiration. I want to shine light on my community while also improving healthcare resources for low socioeconomic populations. Everyone should have equal access to healthcare and basic necessity to make life choices.

Upon completing my DNP/Ph.D. Dual Degree Program, I will gain a better understanding in how to develop research and disseminate the outcomes to the population of interest as a Nurse Practitioner. I am hopeful to close the gap between healthcare access and quality of life throughout completing my education. This program will equip me with the necessary skills to become a qualified provider and leader for my community.

Written by Erika Estrada-Ibarra, JHUSON DNP-FNP/PhD Student.

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