UTA: To bolster access to medical care

The pandemic has brought many issues in equity, prompting UTA to establish a health program that will address these issues with its four different courses according to a Kera News article. They say,

“Erin Carlson, director of graduate public health programs for UT Arlington, said the COVID-19 pandemic put a renewed spotlight on racial disparities in care and access. Both Black and Latino patients were hospitalized and died from COVID-19 complications in Texas at higher rates than their white counterparts, according to a 2021 report from the Episcopal Health Foundation.

“What I was seeing in the data was the unmet need of health care in our underserved and under-resourced communities,” Carlson said. “That had culminated in significant disparities with regard to severe COVID disease, hospitalization and death.”

The program offers four courses, which include instruction on public health foundational knowledge, community health assessments, and race, ethnicity and health. Carlson says it’s aimed at people who currently work in the health care field and students who want to focus their skills to “eliminate health disparities and improve health equity.”

With the same sentiments of Carlon and UTA itself, a conference was also held in UTA to bolster access to quality medical care to the rural areas by the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals according to a UTA article from November 15. They say, 

“This allows us to work together with rural communities across Texas to see what we can do collectively to make an impact on access to care and quality of care, particularly to address any health workforce shortage,” Elizabeth Merwin, the center’s director and dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation (CONHI). “We desire to do a better job to recruit rural residents into our prelicensure RN baccalaureate program and into our nurse practitioner program, helping reduce nursing shortages in rural communities.”

The conference began with John Henderson, president and CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH), a statewide group that advocates for rural health issues and supports local access and delivery of health care to rural Texans, discussing the current state of rural health care in the state. There are 158 rural hospitals in Texas; 124 are designated trauma centers, with most of them classified as Level IV basic trauma facilities.”

More and more individuals and institutions are working together but accordingly, it shouldn’t stop with them as patients and the communities themselves to enable a much more systematic and reliable outcome.