The University of Texas at Arlington has launched the Center for Rural Health and Nursing to improve health care in rural Texas.
Funded by a $4 million Texas legislative appropriation, the center is aimed at improving both rural nursing education and the health of rural residents.
UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation will run the center.
Rural Americans face numerous health disparities compared to their urban counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, respiratory disease and stroke.
Roughly 15% of Americans live in rural areas, according to the CDC.
Complicating the issue is that rural communities often struggle to recruit much-needed health care providers.
To address such disparities, UTA’s center will develop a model for providing 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 conduct educational needs assessments. Staff will then provide training to support current health care providers while educating a new workforce.
“We want to make sure students who are in rural high schools and community colleges have paths into our programs,” the center’s manager Aspen Drude said in a press release. “We hope that our continuing education programs will meet the needs of current nurses and increase opportunities for rural residents, while meeting the workforce needs of the rural community.”