Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) has received a $351,721 continuing grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). This highly competitive grant, awarded through the THECB’s Primary Care Innovation Grant program, recognizes innovative medical school programs that focus on increasing the number of primary care physicians in Texas.
The Longitudinal Primary Care Track (LPCT) provides medical students with the opportunity to care for underserved populations. Through the program, students gain valuable hands-on experience at the Salud Sin Fronteras (“Health without Borders”) clinic treating migrant farmworkers — free of charge.
“This project focuses on improving students’ leadership, mentoring, and patient advocacy skills to help them develop professionally,” said LPCT founder Charmaine Martin, M.D., who is also the director of medical student education. The second-year students will mentor the new group coming in.
Students in the primary care program are exposed to the health care needs of a unique underserved community in which many live below the poverty line. This exposure ultimately helps raise the medical students’ awareness of the plight of the farmworkers, and piques their interest in pursuing primary care.
“It is very exciting to receive this THECB grant and to be able to continue working with the students to develop the migrant farmworkers clinic into a student-run clinic,” Dr. Martin said. “We have a great team. Tracy Leonard is the grant coordinator, and of course, the students, Carlos Marentes, director of Sin Fronteras, and our community partners are essential to the success of the program.”
The LPCT was one of just seven awardees in the state to receive a 2016-18 grant. This is the second Primary Care Innovation Grant where THECB has recognized TTUHSC El Paso’s commitment to unique patient groups.