Regional Disparity in Asthma Prevalence and Distribution of Asthma Education Programs in Texas.
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OBJECTIVES: To identify the distribution of asthma education programs that are currently active in Texas and examine whether there is a geographical disparity between asthma prevalence and locations of asthma education programs in the Public Health Regions (PHRs) of Texas. METHODS: The data for adult asthma prevalence in PHRs was obtained from the Texas Department of State and Health Services (DSHS) 2015 Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Public Use Data File. The Geographic Information System (GIS) program was used to show the distribution of asthma education programs and visually identify the isolated areas for asthma education programs on the maps. To examine the areas covered by the asthma education programs, we illustrated 50 miles and 70 miles of buffer zones from each program by proximity (multiple ring buffer) functions in GIS. RESULTS: We identified that 27 asthma education programs are active in Texas as of July 2019. The analysis showed that PHRs 1, 2, and 7 had the highest rate of asthma prevalence but had fewer asthma education programs. Also, the distribution of asthma education programs is concentrated around major cities, leading to a regional imbalance between asthma prevalence and locations of asthma education programs. The central and western areas of Texas proved to be marginalized areas for asthma education programs, particularly PHRs 2 and 9 because they may not be covered by the buffer zones of 70 miles from any asthma education programs. Discussion. This study revealed the marginalized regions in Texas lacking asthma education programs. The findings could help policymakers and health care professionals enhance opportunities to develop asthma education programs using different venues in isolated areas and prioritize these regions, for funds, to establish new asthma education programs.