Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso was awarded a $5,000 grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation in support of the university’s Medical Student Run Clinic.
The foundation’s mission is to help women by providing medical and emotional care to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education and support services. Breast cancer is one of the leading health crises for women in the United States, with one in eight women being diagnosed with breast cancer over a lifetime. There is currently no known cure for breast cancer, and its early diagnosis is critical to survival.
Women who undergo routine screening mammograms have a lower chance of dying from breast cancer than women who do not undergo routine screening mammograms. Many cannot afford the cost of screening tests and are at a significantly higher risk of dying from breast cancer if diagnosed later.
“Many women in El Paso County struggle to access and afford health care. Preventive care, in particular, is often left undone,” said Maureen Francis, M.D., FACP, assistant dean for medical education at the Foster School of Medicine. “This generous grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation enables us to take preventive care out to the community and offer breast exams and screening mammograms at no cost on site. This breaks down barriers related to transportation, access and cost.”
In 2014 and 2020, the foundation awarded the MSRC two grants totaling $42,000, which resulted in 218 clinical breast exams, 207 screening mammograms, 17 diagnostic mammograms and 53 diagnostic ultrasounds for 218 women. The 2021 grant will fund clinical breast exams, including 60 screening mammograms, eight diagnostic mammograms, 15 ultrasounds and eight digital 3D mammograms for 25 underserved women through the MSRC. These resources can be life-saving for women served by MSRC.
The MSRC was established in 2013 by a group of students from the Foster School of Medicine inaugural class, along with the help of faculty and staff. The clinic serves the community of Sparks in far East El Paso, where a majority of the population is uninsured – the MSRC is often their only access to health care.
A mobile MSRC is simultaneously run by the students through the exclusive use of a Care Van mobile health unit provided by the Caring Foundation of Texas. The mobile health unit allows students and physicians to treat patients in both metropolitan and rural areas. Both the permanent and mobile clinics provide quality health care while promoting the university’s mission of improving the lives of people in our community by focusing on the unique health care needs of the border population through education, research and patient care.
Foster School of Medicine students manage all clinic operations, from triage and registration to patient care and discharge under the direct supervision of volunteer physicians. The clinic is located at Sparks Housing Development, 106 Peyton Road, El Paso, TX 79928.