January 27, 2021
Uninsured and underserved Texans across four metro areas will receive medical assistance thanks to $13,000 in Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) grant funding awarded to up-and-coming physicians and local medical societies for health-focused initiatives. TMAF, the philanthropic arm of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), awarded the funds to two TMA medical student chapters, student-run community clinics, and a local health care organization to care for patients in Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Galveston. The funds will help TMA member students, physicians, and alliance members (physicians, spouses, and medical students engaged in legislative advocacy and community service) offer free health screenings in medically disadvantaged neighborhoods, vaccinate underserved people, and educate students with updated learning materials. The TMAF Medical Community Grants offer financial support health programs dedicated to addressing the lack of health care access many communities face in the Lone Star State.
“The TMA Foundation is honored to support this year’s grant recipients who have committed their time and resources to helping Texans in need receive long overdue health care,” said Susan Pike, MD, president of TMAF. “I congratulate each of these groups for their determination to improve Texans’ access to proper medical treatment, a right every one of us deserves.”
This year’s grant recipients:
- The Nueces County Medical Society (CMS) and Alliance received $2,500 to promote literacy and healthy habits to economically disadvantaged students at George Evans Elementary School, a Title 1 school in Corpus Christi. This program allows local alliance members and their physician spouses (in their white coats) to read virtually or in-person each month to students, many of whom might never have met a doctor. The grant will help the alliance fund a new reading comprehension curriculum and donate gently used books. The Nueces CMS Alliance will also use the funds to assemble 350 hygiene kits –for each of the students – that include shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other toiletries, along with gently used clothing.
- The Baylor College of Medicine TMA Medical Student Section Chapter will use its $2,500 grant to care for 200 members of Houston’s underserved community through the “Take Control” program. “Take Control” focuses on helping Harris Health System’s impoverished and uninsured patients improve and maintain a healthy blood pressure. One hundred patients diagnosed with uncontrolled high blood pressure also will receive a free blood pressure monitoring machine to take their own readings. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to serious health complications including heart attacks and strokes. Program participants will also be able to consult with TMA students and physicians on diet and physical exercise. The chapter members hope the “Take Control” program will help close the health care gap brought on by the pandemic, and help patients keep better track of their health.
- The St. Vincent’s Student Clinic at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston secured a $3,000 grant for the fifth annual HOPE Health Fair held in Galveston in December 2020. This medical student-run event draws nearly 250 patients every year – most of whom are uninsured and often homeless. The patients received vaccinations, free screenings for sexually-transmitted infections, and COVID-19 tests. Volunteers also taught attendees how to protect themselves from COVID-19 exposure. The grant helped the medical students buy health technology, medical supplies, medication, and lab tests, to help them improve the health of some of Galveston’s most vulnerable residents.
- TMAF awarded UT Southwestern Medical School TMA Medical Student Chapter two grants for separate programs to help Dallas-area residents.
- The medical school students received $3,000 to help fund their Patient Navigator Program, which aims to reduce health disparities among the area’s homeless population. Medical and graduate students will be trained to help nearly 100 people access community health resources and set goals to improve their health. More than half of the patients also will learn how to get help for urgent, short-term medical needs from a specialty clinic at Union Gospel Mission (UGM) Calvert Place Men’s Shelter. Volunteers also will teach long-term health goals to 24 of the patients taught at the UGM Center of Hope Women and Children’s Shelter. The medical student volunteers also educate patients about health insurance options and local financial assistance programs.
- UT Southwestern medical students also will receive $2,000 for their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) empowerment and education course, an online after-school program for Dallas-Fort Worth middle school students who are homeless or live in lower-income neighborhoods. The UT Southwestern chapter, along with the Center of Hope shelter and Brother Bills Helping Hands, will provide students hands-on activities and lessons about careers in STEM fields. Students will also get to hear from people who work in each profession. Parents and their children will also meet one-on-one with UT Southwestern faculty and medical students to discuss higher education and plan for their child’s education. The course is designed to motivate students to potentially pursue a STEM-based career and fill the educational gap distance learning has caused during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each year, TMA medical student chapters may apply for up to $3,000 in matching funds from the TMAF Medical Student Community Leadership Grants Program. The TMAF Medical Student Scholarship and Grant Trust Fund of Dr. Roberto J. and Agniela (Annie) M. Bayardo has supported the program since 2018.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 55,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. The TMA Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization that raises funds to support the population health, science, and quality-of-care priority initiatives of TMA and the Family of Medicine.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336
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