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Understanding TB health disparities at the U.S.-Mexico border

Marylyn M. McEwen, PhD, APRN, BC, College of Nursing, University of Arizona, PO Box 210203, Tucson, AZ 85721-0203, 520-626-6926, mmcewen@nursing.arizona.edu

This study explored the explanatory models (EMs) that Mexican immigrants residing at the U.S.-Mexico border who were diagnosed with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) have about the illness and, factors that influence preventive treatment for LTBI. This study is significant because 10% of persons diagnosed with LTBI who do not successfully complete treatment will develop active TB and, the IOM Report on the Elimination of TB maintains that a focus on identification and successful treatment of individuals with LTBI will be essential to the goal of TB elimination in the U.S. The U.S. and Mexico have uniquely different TB programs contributing to conflicting EMs of LTBI that influence treatment decisions. The sample for this study is Mexican immigrants who reside at the U.S.-Mexico border, have been diagnosed with LTBI, and are at risk of treatment failure. A critical ethnographic methodology guided multiple methods of data collection and analysis. Inductively generated categories, domains, and cultural themes will be illuminated that capture the emic perspective of the Mexican immigrants' understanding and treatment decisions. Understanding factors that contribute to LTBI treatment failure in this population will inform future culturally relevant interventions aimed at reducing TB health disparities at the U.S.-Mexico border; a geographic region responsible for 75% of the TB in persons of Mexican-origin in the U.S.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.


The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA