Ashleigh Dozier

Ashleigh Dozier

(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — Working on behalf of Washington County, Ashleigh Dozier, a graduate student in the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, recently secured a $235,000 grant from the Texas Office of Rural Community Affairs to support development of a county health center.

“This funding moves us closer to our goal of improving access to medical care for residents in Washington County,” Dozier said. “I am excited to be a part of a project that will improve the lives of so many and proud to work with many individuals who have a passion to see that happen.”

The health center will co-locate a health clinic to serve uninsured Washington County residents, along with the county’s Texas Department of State Health Services public health nurse; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program; Medication Assistance Program; Indigent Health Care Program; and other providers. It is expected to open later this year.

“Without Ashleigh’s due diligence of getting all the answers and materials together for the grant, we probably would not have been successful,” said Washington County Judge Dorothy Morgan. “We are truly grateful for her dedication and hard work.”

Dozier has worked with Washington County, Faith Mission and Trinity Medical Center in developing the proposal since October 2007, when the medical center contracted with the HSC-School of Rural Public Health’s Center for Community Health Development (CCHD) to jointly fund her graduate research assistant position. She will continue with the group in developing the clinical protocol and facility.

“Ashleigh was a catalyst in bringing the Washington County Coalition together to successfully develop our health center project,” said John Simms, Trinity Medical Center CEO. “Her ability to organize the process, coordinate activities, facilitate meetings and research the options speak well of her abilities and the education she received at the School of Rural Public Health.”

Jim Burdine, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., professor at the HSC-School of Rural Public Health and CCHD director, said, “There is such great value in the opportunity to provide students with real-world experience as they transition from graduate school into their professional careers. Ashley is a great example of the type of training and community work that is at the Center for Community Health Development’s mission. We’re really proud of her.”

Dozier is expected to graduate in May with a Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) degree and has already accepted a position as administrative fellow with the Moore County Hospital District in Dumas, Texas.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell