Itasca Chamber Of Commerce To Host Reception For Baylor Health Clinic

Jan. 16, 2004

by Judy Long

The Itasca Chamber of Commerce will host a reception from 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 22, at the town's newest enterprise: the Baylor Rural Health Center, located at 106 W. Adams in Itasca.

The clinic, which opened in July 2003, is sponsored by the Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing. A $1.2 million Department of Health and Human Resources grant provides funding to cover operating costs for the first five years. Among services to be offered are cancer screening, preventive care and case management services.

Bob Wilson, director of the Itasca Chamber of Commerce, said the reception is open to everyone. "The clinic means a lot to Itasca. We're located 45 miles north of Waco and 45 miles south of Fort Worth. Many of our people are elderly and no longer drive, so they appreciate having a place to go in town for health care," he said.

In addition to providing essential health services to the Itasca community, the clinic will serve as an ongoing source for undergraduate, graduate and faculty research projects for the nursing school, Baylor social work and health education students and University of Texas Southwestern medical students.

"The social benefits of a local clinic are almost endless, especially since the clinic will serve as a model for students who plan to open similar clinics in underserved areas, both domestically and abroad," said Dr. Lisa Taylor, a Baylor nursing professor who oversees the clinic.

Research topics at the facility will include hypertension, diabetes, obesity in adults and children, asthma, behavioral health and family violence.

Taylor said the first six months of clinic operation have gone smoothly. With 400 patients so far, she expects more clients to make use of the health care service over time.

Taylor said many people in Itasca do not have the means to get to a doctor on a regular basis. "They wait until their condition has deteriorated and treatment is more difficult.

For more information, contact the clinic at (254) 687-2437 or Lisa_Taylor@baylor.edu.

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