UTA launches $4 million center to improve health care in rural Texas

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The University of Texas at Arlington launched the Center for Rural Health and Nursing to improve health care in rural areas of Texas.

Funded by a $4 million Texas legislative appropriation, the center aims to improve both rural nursing education and the health of rural residents.

The UTA College of Nursing and Health Innovation will lead the center.

Rural Americans face many health disparities compared to their urban counterparts, according to the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention. They are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, respiratory disease or stroke.

About 15% of Americans live in rural areas, according to the CDC.

Complicating the problem is that rural communities often struggle to recruit much-needed healthcare providers.

To address these disparities, the UTA center will develop a model to provide nursing education to rural residents so they can become registered nurses and nurse practitioners while remaining in their communities, according to a university. Press release.

In its first year, the center will develop partnerships in rural communities to carry out educational needs assessments. Staff will then provide training to support current healthcare providers while educating a new workforce.

“We want to ensure that students attending rural high schools and community colleges have access to our programs,” center director Aspen Drude said in a news release. “We hope our continuing education programs will meet the needs of today’s nurses and increase opportunities for rural residents, while meeting the workforce needs of the rural community.