April Funded Partner Spotlight – Frontera de Salud

Since inception, MHM has provided nearly $500 million in healthcare services through our clinics and programs, as well as through our partnerships. MHM is proud to partner with organizations that share our mission and organizational objective of delivering healthcare and social services to the least served in the South Texas region. By strengthening other organizations' capacity to provide services, we achieve our overarching goal of increasing access to care.

MHM welcomed the UTHSCSA chapter of Frontera de Salud (Border of Health), a program of the UTHSCSA's Center for Humanities and Ethics, as a funded partner in 2008 to address the health profession shortage in South Texas. Frontera de Salud, or Frontera, is a service organization founded in 1998 and is staffed by medical, nursing and allied health students committed to bringing primary healthcare to the underserved population.

Frontera currently has chapters in four medical school campuses in Texas comprised of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and the UTHSCSA. Under faculty supervision, students and mentors are given the unique opportunity to work with community partners to provide vital health care and assist in developing preventative measures at each of the Frontera chapter sites.

In the past two years alone, the UTHSCSA chapter of Frontera served over 3,400 clients in Laredo and Corpus Christi/Robstown – two of the most impoverished regions in the nation, along with underserved areas of San Antonio. Members of Frontera actively participate in health fairs and community visits. These visits are often the only opportunity many of these citizens have to obtain health care. Services trips are scheduled on a regular basis to provide students and faculty in the program a chance to learn to treat diverse populations and consider the unique social context of care in South Texas. Services include health screenings, flu vaccines and school physicals.

This experience is mutually beneficial as students become stewards of the medical profession, and commence partnerships with healthcare professionals as illustrated in these excerpt taken from the UTHSCSA Frontera chapter blog:

"We traveled with eight medical and nursing students to Corpus Christi yesterday to participate in a community health fair. We provided health screenings, health education, HIV screenings/education, and were able to connect patients with providers in the community. Not only were we able to make an impact in the community but it was also a wonderful learning experience for the students. Every student was able to rotate through each station and even had the opportunity to work with a local Family Medicine doctor who provided guidance and advice regarding local resources for the patients for long-term follow-up care."

Frontera leads the way among UTHSCSA student health service organizations, particularly with regard to its focus on the interdisciplinary health care team as the Frontera coalition of students and faculty represent a variety of disciplines to include medical, nursing, pharmacy programs and physician assistant students.

To date, MHM has contributed over $105,000 in funding to the UTHSCA chapter of Frontera de Salud to address the health profession shortage and continue their efforts of delivering healthcare to the medically underserved population of South Texas.

To learn more about the UTHSCSA chapter of Frontera de Salud visit their website or find them on Facebook.