February 8, 2024 – (SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas) – CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Sulphur Springs is partnering with Texas A&M University School of Medicine on a rural health initiative that will expose medical students to practicing health care in rural areas and show them opportunities available.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for both our hospital and our community and when Texas A&M approached us, we jumped at the possibility,” said Paul Harvey, president, CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Sulphur Springs. “For us to be able to bring in young, motivated students who have a desire work in rural areas is an opportunity we are excited about.”
The rural medicine program at Texas A&M began in 2019 to bring innovative health care to rural populations and to address the provider shortage in rural Texas.
CHRISTUS will work with Texas A&M to host medical students for one-week or two-week rotations in the hospital and clinics.
To date, 25 counties in Texas are part of the program. CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Sulphur Springs will be the first in East Texas and joins CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital –Beeville as the second CHRISTUS hospital in the program.
Curtis Donaldson, director of rural medicine outreach at Texas A&M, anticipates the first medical students arriving in Sulphur Springs as early as April.
“Our program has been a tremendous success since we have launched it, and we have gotten great feedback from our medical students,” Donaldson said. “Our students are coming back and are telling us that rural health care is something they want to do and start addressing the shortage.”
The rural medicine program will also include local school districts to create awareness of health care opportunities in their local communities.
As part of the partnership with schools, students can attend a “Mini Med Camp” at the Texas A&M School of Medicine in College Station. This camp will further expose students to the needs of health care in rural Texas.
“Good health care is vital to ensuring the health of our communities and to control escalating health care costs” said Dr. John McDonald, chair of CHRISTUS Health Academic Institute. “We hope that this experience and partnership with Texas A&M will expose more students to the joys and rewards of living in a rural community and caring for the healthcare needs of the community.”