Self-Reporting of Health Perceptions among Former Uranium Workers, Their Families and Decendants Living in Rural Settings

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 10:40 AM

Harold William Smith, Interdisciplinary PhD, N/A
School of Nursing, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, USA

The purpose of this ongoing study is to conduct an assessment of the health needs of communities in New Mexico that have been exposed to uranium and other naturally occurring environmental hazards, and to understanding whether or not there is a significant relationship between self-reporting health statuses, individuals’ perceptions of their overall health, and uranium exposure in uranium mine workers and their families.  An individual’s perception of their own health has been found to be a predictor of how they access health care, as well as level of proactivity of adherence to health and healing regimens. The rural elderly are at particular risk of neglect and apathy towards seeking health monitoring and interventions that save lives or improve the quality of life for many seniors. Data gathered from initial surveys and one-on-one interviews with members of this population are enabling classification of family health pedigrees not assembled in previous studies. These health histories provide family members along the entire age horizon with information that may avert, eliminate, or better manage illnesses resulting from primary and secondary, as well as intergenerational exposure to uranium and radon gas and related harmful environmental substances. Preliminary findings suggest a more expanded sampling of extended family members will provide additional data that may assist health care providers in these regions in creating more responsive and systemically integrated health care and family support systems for rural elderly and their families.