Frontera de Salud

Frontera de Salud is an interdisciplinary student run organization focused on service to underserved communities in Texas. This includes mission trips to Presidio, Texas, Senior Care in Galveston, Texas, and health fairs held in Galveston. To join and/or support their efforts, please follow this link to Frontera de Salud UTMB Facebook.

New Mission

Twofold:

Clinical Service

  • Identify community healthcare needs by developing sustainable, preventive healthcare programs tailored to the needs of the local underserved community.
  • Provide additional competencies in primary healthcare settings.

Humanistic View

  • Expose students to the most underserved and disadvantaged communities in order to engender empathy, compassion, and a commitment to service.

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas, was recently honored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) as a finalist for the 2016 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service, a national award that recognizes long-standing major institutional commitment to addressing community needs. UTMB is an institution with a rich tradition of service and deep commitment to improving the lives of people in our surrounding communities. For over 125 years, UTMB has been making a difference through our innovative and effective service programs, which range from providing patient care to vulnerable communities to teaching science through programs targeted at underrepresented minority (URM) students. The Spencer Foreman Award nomination highlighted more than two dozen UTMB community service programs, including Frontera de Salud and the Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE).

This is an exciting period for Frontera de Salud. New leadership, new structure, new focus and a rekindling of mission, spirit, and teamwork have been embraced by our students and faculty. These changes have brought not just the renewal of Frontera's primary mission of service, but also a more robust academic focus. Our target communities for the medical mission are now located in Presidio County in the Big Bend region of Texas. UTMB's Frontera de Salud will focus on medical and community health missions to Presidio County and our local activities.

Presidio County is a frontier area in south Texas bordering Mexico. It is primarily Hispanic (83.4%) and almost 1/4 of the population lies at or below the Federal poverty level. This frontier is comprised of 3,857 square miles of contrasting topography, geology, and vegetation. Presidio has no hospital and depends mostly on a FQHC primary care clinic. The nearest hospital and trauma center is 95 miles away and outside the 'Golden Hour' for emergency treatment. There is very little infrastructure and the communities are food deserts with no major food retailer, very little produce of low quality and no individual or community gardens. In order to facilitate access to resources and community stakeholders to conduct quality community-based research, we have partnered with the Big Bend Regional Medical Center, Adrian Billings, MD, PhD; Big Bend Regional Hospital District, Presidio County Indigent Healthcare Program, Ms. Christina Juarez, Patient Advocate; the Texas Department of State Health Services Region 9/10, Mary Anderson, MD, MPH; and the Presidio Independent School District, Mr. Dennis McEntire, Superintendent. This is an opportunity for Frontera, under the auspices of the HCOE, our UTMB students, and community stakeholders to address the goals of Health People 2020 to a) Increase the quality, availability, and effectiveness of education and community-based programs designed to prevent disease and injury, improve health, and enhance quality of life; b) Improve health-related quality of life and well-being for all individuals; and c) Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.