University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: Improving Access to Care in the Rio Grande Valley Colonias

A mobile clinic will provide health screening, education and convenient access to dental and mental health services in Rio Grande Valley Communities.
 

According to America's Health Rankings Spotlight: Prevention, Hispanic adults are not receiving as many key clinical preventive health services, such as immunizations, cholesterol checks or colorectal cancer screenings, as non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black adults. This data underscores the need to expand access to health programs and services that deliver preventative and primary care, which is why United Health Foundation has partnered with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) School of Medicine in providing a $2.8 million partnership grant to support increased health care access and education in the Rio Grande Valley colonias. (Colonia is a Spanish word for a community or neighborhood.)

The partnership between United Health Foundation and UTRGV is helping create a sustainable model for health care delivery to the most vulnerable members of the community. Through the Center for Colonia Integrated Care (CCIC) program, two mobile health clinics and telehealth are deployed to bring an integrated model of care to two colonias. The mobile clinics provide screenings, health education and promotion and improved dental and mental health services. The project will also formalize training for promotoras -- community health workers who link the health care system with the colonias through shared language, culture and ethnic ties. By training promotoras and investing in a 21st century health workforce that is primary-care-based and addresses the needs in their communities, health care delivery can be more personalized and effective throughout the colonias.

UTRGV School of Medicine will open in fall 2016. The first new major public university of the 21stcentury in Texas, UTRGV will advance a mission that empowers students to develop into confident innovators and future global leaders, transforms medicine and health, and fosters quality of life and economic prosperity.

(January 2015)