Dates of Project: July 1997 to August 2009
Field of Work: Increasing access to health care in rural, underserved areas of eight Southern states
Synopsis of the Work: The Southern Rural Access Program was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that worked to increase access to health care in rural, underserved areas of eight southern states. The states recruited and retained rural primary care providers, offered programs to attract students committed to working in rural areas to the health professions and help prepare them for training programs, developed collaborative networks of rural health providers, and developed loan funds to help rural health providers improve their practices.
In Texas, one of the participating states, the East Texas Area Health Education Center worked with 40 organizations—hospitals, social services agencies, and faith-based ministries—to develop the East Texas Health Access Network. Focused on five counties in the state's southeast corner, the network offered a patient referral service, health screenings, health education, and a low-cost pharmacy program. By the end of the program, the network had developed into a nonprofit organization with 15 employees. Read more about this work in the sidebar.