October 10, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 35

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STBI continues funding for health education programs


Priscilla Alejos, from Edinburg North High School, attends a Med/Ed course. Med/Ed is a program supported by the South Texas/Border Region Health Education Initiative.

Nearly $6 million is allocated this fiscal year for continuing and new programs under the Health Science Centerís South Texas/Border Region Health Education Initiative (STBI). The STBI budgets are $2,481,673 for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, $1,570,000 for the Mid Rio Grande Border Region, $1,310,000 for the Coastal Bend Region and $500,000 for the Del Rio/Winter Garden Region.

Funding appropriated by the Texas Legislature assures continued education and clinical training for students and health care professionals in the four regions. In 1995, with local educators and health professionals, the Health Science Center began educational programs as part of the STBI, a state legislative project to enhance training in the region for students interested in health careers. The current programs in the four regions were reviewed, respectively, by a local advisory committee in the Valley, a local advisory committee in Corpus Christi, the Mid Rio Grande Border Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Board and the Del Rio/Winter Garden Region AHEC Board.

In addition to continuing programs, the Lower Valley budget for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2001, will fund a new project in public health nursing at The University of Texas at Brownsville and an extension to Harlingen and Cameron County of the highly successful health careers-motivating program, Med/Ed.

Third-year medical student clerkships in pediatrics will be continued at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. Also, continued clinical training for medical students and residents in family practice and psychiatry will complement activities at the Health Science Centerís Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen.

Ongoing programs receiving support in the various regions include:

  • Lower Valley: Dental assistant training at Texas State Technical College, Harlingen; emergency medical technology programs; and dental student education at several Valley community health centers. Disease prevention, continuing education and professional development programs are planned as well.
  • Mid Rio Grande: Dental student education at Gateway Community Health Center in Laredo; the training program for prosthodontic residents at Gateway Community Health Center; medical student family practice training at Mercy Regional Medical Center; ophthalmology training and screenings in the Lions Club Mobile Van; South Texas Environmental Education and Research Center (STEER) programs with the Webb County Health Department and other community health centers; and health career opportunity programs to inspire high school students to pursue careers in health care.
  • Coastal Bend: Family practice training programs for medical students and residents at Spohn Memorial Hospital and Bay Area Medical Center and a Ph.D. nursing program offered jointly with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi via telecommunication networks.
  • Del Rio/Winter Garden: Occupational therapy education at Winter Garden Border community health centers, dental student education at area clinics, a vocational nursing program at Southwest Texas Junior College and health career opportunity programs to inspire high school students to pursue careers in health care. Winter Garden Region programs were first funded by the STBI in fiscal year 2000.

ó Will Sansom