Contact: Will Sansom
San Antonio (Nov. 25, 2003) – The Association of Physician Assistant Programs (APAP) has awarded the South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) program with its distinguished Partnership Award. The APAP bestows the award yearly on outstanding educational programs whose efforts advance the APAP’s mission and physician assistant (PA) education. The mission of the APAP is: 1. to foster faculty development; 2. to promote excellence within PA programs; 3. to facilitate research and scholarly activities; 4. to advocate for PA education; and 5. to maintain and advance the organization.
J. Dennis Blessing, Ph.D., P.A.C, associate professor and chair of the department of physician assistant studies at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC), n nominated STEER for the award.
“I have been involved with a number of educational projects over the years and none are as good as STEER in helping educate our students in gaining an understanding of the public health issues in a medically underserved geographic area,” Dr. Blessing said. “STEER is a valuable partner in our efforts to meet the physical, social and mental needs of the Texas/Mexico border region.”
Dr. Blessing said the STEER experience has opened students’ eyes to the realities of difficult health situations in the border region brought on by poverty, inadequate water supplies, poor waste management, inadequate medical insurance, poor air quality and a population with limited access to education and public support.
STEER was established in 1996 in Laredo as a part of the Health Science Center’s department of family and community medicine to provide residents, medical, nursing and public health students with a four-week elective on border health. Students from universities across the country can enroll in the course. Roger Perales, B.S., R.S, and Joan Engelhardt, B.S.N., R.N., M.S.Ed., are the environmental health coordinators for STEER. Claudia Miller, M.D., M.S., is the director.
- For more information about STEER, visit steer.uthscsa.edu/.
- For more information about the APAP, visit www.apap.org/.