El Paso organization partners with UT Health Science Center to announce new traffic safety project for Hispanics

What: News conference to announce new Madrina-Padrino Traffic Safety Project

When: 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 6, 2008

Where: Thomason Hospital Auditorium
4815 Alameda Ave. in El Paso

Why: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death among persons ages 4 to 33. For Hispanics in particular, crashes are the leading cause of death for persons ages 1 through 44, with children ages 5 to 12 at most risk.

The UT Health Science Center San Antonio has received more than $375,000 from the Texas Department of Transportation to implement and expand the Madrina-Padrino Traffic Safety Project to communities along the Texas-Mexico border. The Health Science Center will partner with nine agencies who work with Hispanic families across Texas, including Thomason Hospital in El Paso, to implement the project.

Madrina-Padrino is aimed at educating the Hispanic community, and in particular newly arrived immigrants, about traffic safety norms and laws including issues related to drinking and impaired driving, safety belt use and child passenger safety. “The Texas Department of Transportation is not only committed to building the safest highway system in the country, we are also committed to changing driver behavior through education programs such as the Madrina-Padrino project,” said Linda Tomasini, transportation funding administrator in the Texas Department of Transportation’s San Antonio District.

In accordance with its mission, Thomason Hospital in El Paso is committed to enhancing the health and wellness of the El Paso community by collaborating with agencies such as the UT Health Science Center San Antonio to implement the Madrina-Padrino Traffic Safety Project.

“Partnering with community-based organizations is an essential piece of the Madrina-Padrino concept. Over the past two and a half years, thousands of adults in the San Antonio community have been successfully educated using the Madrina-Padrino model, and we are ready to expand the project to an area where more than 80 percent of the population is Hispanic,” said Lizette Villarreal, M.A., coordinator of the Madrina-Padrino Traffic Safety Project at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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