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Promoting Healthy Living

Alzheimer's Academy - Amarillo

The Alzheimer's Academy was established in 2003 and provides education for the community about all aspects of Alzheimer's Disease. It is a collaborative effort of Texas Tech University Health Science Center, the Alzheimer's Association and the Area Agency on Aging. Texas Tech physicians advise patients and family members about the disease, answer questions, provide counseling and navigate patients to community resources. There is a senior assessment clinic for consultation by community physicians. The Alzheimer's Academy provides lunch seminars and lectures about dementia that are open to the public. The program is sponsored by a $390,000 grant from the Amarillo Area Foundation and the May E. Bivins Foundation.

CATCH in Rural Schools

The West Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program has assisted 44 rural elementary schools with obtaining a comprehensive children's health curriculum, some PE equipment, and curriculum training. Texas state law now requires elementary schools to implement by 2007 a coordinated school health program approved by the Texas Education Agency. Because this was an unfunded mandate, many school districts have struggled with implementation.

CATCH stands for Coordinated Approach To Child Health (formerly known as Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health), which was the largest school-based health promotion study ever done in the United States. The curriculum is designed to prevent sedentary behavior, poor dietary choices, and tobacco usage at the elementary school level. This program includes K-5th physical education "CATCH PE"; heart health classroom curricula and family components for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades; an "Eat Smart" school nutrition program guide for school cafeterias; and Family Fun Night activities. Classroom curriculum is now available for K-2nd grades, and West Texas AHEC is working to help schools add this component.

Participating schools have been collecting body mass index (BMI) data since the beginning of implementation, so that baseline data and annual data are available to assess improvements. TTUHSC's Office of Rural and Community Health assists schools with processing this information so that they can track their progress in improving their children's health.

Healthy Lubbock Initiative

Healthy Lubbock is a community-wide collaborative effort to address the developing health crisis of overweight and obesity. The effort educates the public about the threat of being overweight and the related health risks of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and orthopedic problems. The initiative also helps to develop creative, practical solutions which make sense in Lubbock.

Elder Law Seminars

Informing health care professionals and future health care professionals is another integral aspect of the Garrison Institute on Aging. One form of class that is provided for health care professionals is Elder Law Seminars. The seminars have been conducted by Glen Provost, J.D., M.P.H, Chief Planning and Project Development. Our upcoming classes will be in Amarillo on July 12th and El Paso on August 22nd.

Topics will include:

  • Characteristics of dementia that pose potential legal problems
  • Legal issues for patients, caregivers, and health professionals
  • Important steps that can be taken to prevent or minimize dementia-related legal problems

Lecture Series for the Public on Healthy Aging

Educating the community plays a key role in the mission of the Garrison Institute on Aging. One form of community outreach that the Institute provides is the Lecture Series on Healthy Aging. The community is invited to participate in the free lectures that are in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Academic Classroom Building, Room 100, from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. During each lecture, coffee, tea, and cookies are provided. The fall schedule is as follows:

Fall Lecture Series Schedule
  • September 28, 2005
    Alzheimer's disease, featuring Paula Grammas; Ph.D. Executive Director, Garrison Institute on Aging
  • October 26, 2005
    Eyes: Macular degeneration, Kelly Mitchell; M.D., Assistant Professor Ophthalmology
  • November 16, 2005
    Senior Caregivers: Managing Stress through the Holidays, featuring Howard Grueztner; M.Ed, LPC, Author
  • November 30, 2005
    Falls Prevention in the Home, featuring Ravi Jillapalli; Director Rehab, Garrison Geriatric Education & Care Center
  • January 25, 2006
    Exercise for Seniors, featuring Larry Sava, UMC Health Point, Director of Wellness, UMC HealthPoint

West Texas Rural EXPORT Center

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is focusing significant resources to address the issues of rural health disparities. Health disparities can be due to many factors including geographic location, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and language and cultural barriers. In West Texas, with it's largely rural population - much of which is considered frontier-as well as it's shared border with Mexico, the factors creating health disparities are compounded by fragile health care infrastructure across much of the region.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has established the West Texas Rural EXPORT Center, an NIH-funded $1.2 million three-year project to address health disparities in rural West Texas. This project's focus is to utilize multi-disciplinary efforts that cross institutional boundaries to connect statistics to solutions.

West Texas Atlas of Rural Community Health

The West Texas Atlas of Rural and Community Health is a collaborative effort between the TTUHSC Office of Rural and Community Health (ORCH) and the TTU Department of Economics and Geography, this project has worked over the past three years to develop the underlying database and statistical information necessary for geospatial analysis of important issues affecting rural West Texas. Maps and materials are available online and in published reports; several specific maps have won national awards.