AHEC Pineywoods, universities and health care providers strive to improve rural health care

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) – Influenza and COVID-19 only heighten the importance of having good health care in rural areas.

Yet the rural population is one of the largest populations underserved by physicians in the country. A collaboration is underway to improve the service.

When the disease spreads through small towns and the countryside, be happy that Shontel Minor, director of Texas AHEC Pineywoods, is supporting you.

“AHEC stands for Area Health Education Centers. And our goal is to develop the health workforce in our coverage areas, ”Minor explained.

AHEC East covers 100 counties.

Following a restructuring and obtaining association status, the Pineywoods division reconnects with 17 counties in Deep East Texas.

Minor tells regional leaders that too few students from Deep East Texas are entering careers in health care. Their support establishes pipeline activities.

“Thus, we will focus on our health career promotion opportunities for our school-aged youth. We will also do clinical education and training. We will do professional education and support as well as community health and development, ”Minor said.

Sam Houston State University’s newly developed medical school has a pipeline to 31 hospitals and clinics, most located in Deep East Texas. Sam Houston’s Dr Courtney West.

“We would like our students to come by train, leave and train in these areas, then return to live and serve.”

By the end of the summer, Sam Houston’s medical students will be training at healthcare facilities alongside students from other universities, including the SFA and Angelina College. West is convinced that the school rivalry will be left at the door.

“You will see nurses, doctors and students working together in these facilities. It’s really not a competition. Once they go to medical school, they come from all the different colleges. It’s a collaboration, ”West said.

The educator practices what she preaches. She has deep ties to East Texas. She was born and raised in Madisonville, with grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles living throughout the Deep East Texas area.

Education centers, medical schools and community leaders provide the pipelines, so the division between health professions and community needs will not exist.



Copyright 2021 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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