UTHealth Houston School of Public Health has received $50,000 in scholarship funds from Amerigroup Texas, one of the state’s largest coordinators of health care benefits, for San Antonio-based students who are committed to working in rural health.
Amerigroup has funded rural health scholarship programs at three Texas universities this year, including UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, with a goal of increasing health care access and equity in ways that fortify rural communities.
“Amerigroup is focused on delivering great health care in rural communities, and we’re helping prepare students and residents to provide that care when they’re still in school,” said Greg Thompson, President of Amerigroup Texas. “We’re proud and grateful to work with universities such as UTHealth Houston School of Public Health to help prepare students for careers in rural medicine and deliver the services that rural communities need.”
According to a 2021 study by the American Public Media Research Lab, rural counties are far more likely to have a health professional shortage than urban counties. A shortage is defined by the Health Resources and Services Administration as having fewer than one primary care physician for every 3,500 residents, or one for every 3,000 residents if there are high needs in the community.
The study showed that Texas’ rural counties in particular have suffered from a physician shortage during the pandemic. Only five counties in Texas do not face a primary care shortage, and four of those are in metropolitan areas.
“Rural health is an important public health challenge,” said Jack Tsai, PhD, regional dean in San Antonio, . “We are grateful to Amerigroup for providing this opportunity for students to get the training they need to tackle this challenge throughout Texas. We welcome students to apply to our school and for this scholarship.” Tsai will distribute the scholarship funds to students over the next three years.
For more information about Amerigroup Texas, visit www.myamerigroup.com/tx.