I became interested in underserved populations at an early stage of my professional career and was attracted by the fact that in a country where pharmacies dispensed most medications without a physician's prescription the use of herbal t medicines was quite prevalent. I have had the opportunity of participating in establishing community-based health programs that incorporated alternative therapies in some underserved indigenous reservation populations in Canada. Since joining the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1993, as assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine Division, I have joined the UTMB Hispanic Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly team. This year I prepared a manuscript reporting the findings on the frequency and patterns of use of herbal medicine by elderly Mexican Americans in five Southwestern States based on the first wave collected in 1993-94 and has been submitted to The Journal of Gerontology, Medical Sciences. During the period of preparation of the manuscript I was able to determine that my limited knowledge in epidemiology and statistical analysis were major barriers for me in completing this manuscript. The mentored clinical scientist development award will give me the opportunity to improve my knowledge and understanding of science that will help me communicate, participate, assist in the design of studies and analysis of data. I will be able to work more closely with the researchers of the Sealy Center on Aging and the Hispanic EPESE team. This study is the largest population-based survey of Mexican American elderly to providing information on use of herbal medicine. Little is known at the population-level as to the patterns of alternative medicine use by the fastest growing population of minority elderly in the US. This study's aims are: to determine the prevalence and patterns of complementary and alternative medicine among Mexican American elderly, compare varying patterns of alternative medicine use in terms of their associations with chronic health conditions, and assess the influence of alternative medicine use on the physical, functional, and mental, health of older Mexican Americans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-H (09))
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Caldwell, Sheila
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University of Texas Medical Br Galveston
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Loera, Jose A; Reyes-Ortiz, Carlos; Kuo, Yong-Fang (2007) Predictors of complementary and alternative medicine use among older Mexican Americans. Complement Ther Clin Pract 13:224-31
Raji, Mukaila A; Kuo, Yong-Fang; Snih, Soham Al et al. (2005) Ethnic differences in herb and vitamin/mineral use in the elderly. Ann Pharmacother 39:1019-23
Reyes-Ortiz, Carlos A; Al Snih, Soham; Loera, Jose et al. (2004) Risk factors for falling in older Mexican Americans. Ethn Dis 14:417-22