UIW Nursing Students Help Sound the Alarm Against Childhood Lead Poisoning

May 3, 2019

San Antonio – The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a five-year professional services contract from the City of San Antonio Head Start to provide on-site lead screening tests. New student competencies include planning, implementing and conducting blood lead screening at on-site Head Start centers. To date, nursing students in the Health Promotion and Community Health courses have completed more than 200 lead screening tests.

Lead poisoning can be extremely dangerous and cause permanent physical conditions, especially in young children. The City of San Antonio Head Start Program operates in conjunction with Edgewood ISD and San Antonio ISD to provide Head Start services to more than 3,200 low-income children at 32 centers.

A major undergraduate nursing learning concept is developing knowledge and skills in understanding the relationship between environment and health. The UIW Nursing faculty designed a clinical learning plan for the nursing students, which includes topics like childhood lead poisoning.

“The students learn to work in teams, across agencies, and work with Head Start families and children,” said Assistant Professor of Nursing, Linda Hook, DrPh, MSN, PHNA-BC, RN. “In addition, the nursing students bore the responsibility of assuring program components were met as required by CDC [Centers for Disease Control] and the federal Head Start program. 

“The program is providing curriculum elements and content in community environmental health that is valuable to our students. But most importantly, the graduating seniors are learning the steps in community health program management and evaluation,” said Hook.

Students are grateful for this opportunity, as December 2017 graduate, Alyssa Martinez, commented, “I learned the process of obtaining a lead sample and how to interpret the results, but most of all I learned about lead toxicity and how it relates to the Head Start children of San Antonio.”


CONTACT:    Margaret Garcia, associate director of communications & marketing, (210) 829-6001 or mlgarci2@uiwtx.edu