An education module for enhancing clinical awareness of Chagas disease
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BACKGROUND: Although Chagas disease is not an endemic health concern in the United States, it is prevalent with estimates of approximately 300,000 infected individuals. Of this, an estimated 20 – 30% will develop severe, life-threatening consequences. While what is known about Chagas disease is extensive, there is limited knowledge of this disease, especially among medical providers and clinicians in the United States. In order to bridge the gap between what is known about Chagas disease and those who lack this knowledge, adequate and effective education interventions must be developed and delivered. Education that is tailored for medical providers and clinicians most likely to encounter individuals at greastest risk for having Chagas disease is essential. Once this knowledge is gained, accurate evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of indivuals with Chagas disease may be pursued, ultimately decreasing and preventing disease-associated morbidity and mortality. PROPOSAL: Clinicians from six departments (infectious disease, cardiology, internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and obstretrics and gynecology) will be recruited from Boston Medical Center where they will be given an educational module about Chagas disease. Their knowledge of Chagas disease and how to clinically apply it will be assessed prior to the educational module, immediately following the educational module and 1-month and 6-months following the educational module. CONCLUSION: Chagas disease is a burden to health systems in many countries worldwide including the United States, and awareness of Chagas disease is lacking among medical personnel of multiple specialities in the United States. Educational interventions have provided knowledge of various diseases leading to protocol development, ultimately influencing clinical practice to a degree that reduces morbidity and mortality. The same is needed with respect to Chagas disease. The goal of this educational intervention is to provide a knowledge base through teaching and resources for clinicians to learn, understand, and review the steps needed to clinically evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with Chagas disease. Using the reseach identified in this study as well as the proposed educational intervention, it is hoped that this disease burden can be alleviated.