March 21, 2023

Future Rural Physicians

Rural Medicine Program, School of Medicine

In Texas, 82% of counties have fewer than one primary care physician for every 3,500 residents. Answering the call, Texas A&M’s School of Medicine recently established the Rural Medicine Program to meet the growing need for rural health care. Creating well-rounded physicians and leaders for underserved areas, the program allows current medical students to partner with local health care providers in these communities so they can gain hands-on experience working in a rural setting. The future Aggie physicians also interact with local high school students to encourage them to explore health care careers and community leaders to discuss sustainable solutions for health care access challenges.

Dentistry for All

Dr. M.C. Cooper Dental Clinic, School of Dentistry

As the first Black dentist in Texas, Dr. Marcellus Clayton Cooper left a legacy of service by providing oral health care to all people, regardless of race. Born into slavery in 1862, Cooper practiced dentistry in Dallas at a time when racial tensions and segregation were prevalent. In 2021, the Dr. M.C. Cooper Dental Clinic was dedicated in his honor to continue inclusive, comprehensive oral care. 

Located in South Dallas, the clinic has eight operatories, digital X-ray capabilities, a consultation room and a classroom/conference room. School of Dentistry dental, dental hygiene and graduate students provide essential oral health care under faculty supervision to all patients at this location, regardless of their ability to pay.

ASPIR2E to Become, Serve and Lead  

ASPIR2E, Irma Lerma Rangel School of Pharmacy 

Established in 2018, Aggie Student Pharmacists Initiative for Recruitment | Retention and Education ((ASPIR2E) assists pre-pharmacy and current student pharmacists along their learning journey. The program strives to create opportunities for underrepresented minorities and first-generation and non-traditional students, offering resources and support for these Aggies—and future Aggies—to achieve their dreams. ASPIR2 E strategically guides participants through four tracks beginning their freshman year, leading up to their pharmacy school graduation. Through mentorship and academic success resources, the program has helped 218 students aspire to become pharmacists and work toward serving and leading in underserved communities.

Health Care on the Move

TXAN Mobile CARE, School of Nursing

The Texas A&M School of Nursing Mobile Care Access through Rural Engagement and Education, or TXAN Mobile CARE, provides mobile primary care in rural counties across Texas that lack access to critical medical services while also giving nursing students invaluable clinical experiences. The mobile care units, which travel to Hearne, Leon, Iola, Brenham, Burton and Round Top/Carmine, offer annual physicals, immunizations, screenings, substance abuse education, behavioral health, cancer screenings and more. Designed to recruit nurses from rural populations, TXAN Mobile CARE also includes opportunities for psychology, public health and dentistry students to engage in telehealth technology, promote culturally sensitive practices, and provide oral care and education.

Public Health Aggies in Action

EpiAssist Program, School of Public Health

Through the EpiAssist program, public health students are gaining unmatched service-learning opportunities to make Texas safe and secure for the next public health emergency. By working with agencies like the Texas Department of State Health Services, Aggies actively assist with outbreak investigations, disasters and emergencies, community health assessments and more. Since 2016, students involved with EpiAssist have helped plan clean-up efforts after Hurricane Harvey, investigated a statewide Cyclospora outbreak and played an integral role in the COVID-19 response efforts across Texas. In the future, EpiAssist could provide the blueprint for other universities considering ways to bolster their public health departments.

Help Aggies heal Texas and beyond by planning support for these programs by contacting Amy Bacon '91 below.