$1.2 Million Grant To Provide Central Texas Health Clinic

Oct. 1, 2003

by Judy Long

Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing has received a 1.2 million dollar grant to provide low-cost health care for underserved central Texans.

Dr. Lisa Taylor, a professor at the nursing school, received the grant to operate a clinic in the rural community of Itasca, Texas, located between Dallas and Waco. The federal Department of Health and Human Services grant will enable the School of Nursing to operate the clinic for five years with full funding under Taylor's supervision.

Taylor said the service area has a large number of minorities and elderly people, and many of them travel as far as 30 miles for health care.

"The poverty level is so high, it's off the charts, both for state and national standards," Taylor said, "and many residents are either underinsured or uninsured."

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

Dr. Judy Wright Lott, dean of the nursing school, said the grant award represents a major move forward for Baylor and the School of Nursing.

"With the new Rural Health Clinic in Itasca and the Agape Clinic in Dallas, we now have clinical sites dealing with two diverse populations--inner city and rural. These two clinics provide immediate access for faculty involvement in clinical practice, research and education, as well as opportunities for service to the community. I am very appreciative of the support the School of Nursing received from the Baylor administration in making this a reality."

Dr. Merry McBryde-Foster, nursing school professor and co-author of the grant, said the clinic has potential for far-reaching impacts.

"We want to offer a total quality package for the community. It will do a lot for them while giving our students a real-world opportunity. Then, as we provide for the community, we will be able to do research and publish."

McBryde-Foster's research interests include lower-extremity wounds and type-2 diabetes. As a certified case management nurse, she also is looking forward to the opportunity to train students in case management.

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.

"The social benefits 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 Taylor.

Research topics at the facility will include hypertension, diabetes, obesity in adults and children, asthma, behavioral health and family violence. Among services to be offered are cancer screening, preventive care and case management services.

In addition to the services of nursing and medical students and faculty at the clinic, a family nurse practitioner, nurse and office manager will be employed full time. Dr. Carlos Japas will serve as the clinic's medical director to provide oversight and prescriptive authority for the family nurse practitioner and nursing faculty. Taylor will spend 40 percent of her time at the clinic each week as well.

For more information, contact Taylor at (214) 820-3361 or Lisa_Taylor@baylor.edu.

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