The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has largely dispensed with lectures and focuses more on group learning and practical experience. This and other innovations dovetail with the school's focus on public health, which is vital in a region notorious for high poverty and chronic health problems.
The challenges of providing adequate health care along the Texas border with Mexico are as vast as the river that creates it.
Almost 3 million people live along the 1,200-mile border, one of the busiest international boundaries in the world. The area is marked by high poverty rates (almost 30 percent of the residents live below the poverty line), low education levels, and insufficient access to medical care, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Office of Border Health.
Physicians hosted the 11th-annual Border Health Conference -- a program by the Border Health Caucus, a Texas Medical Association physician group -- in Washington, DC, in Sept. 2016. Physician leaders, members of Congress, and other health care experts spoke to a roomful of attendees from all significant stakeholder groups interested in the health of people along the US-Mexico border. Agenda topics ranged from the challenges unique to providing care in this region, to the similarities the border has with the rest of Texas. Veterans' care, public health and prevention, socioeconomic issues, and delivery of care (including growing an adequate physician workforce) were discussed.
The Border Health Caucus mission is to ensure and increase access to care through educational efforts in both Austin and Washington D.C.
Medicaid plays a huge role in providing health coverage for thousands of low-income children and adults, including a large number with special health care needs or mental health conditions. The time to increase Medicaid physician payments to competitive levels is now.
The Border Health Commission and the Border Health Caucus work together to improve healthcare on both sides of the border.
Got questions about Border Health? Contact the Knowledge Center.