Luis Seija, leader of the Aggie Health Project, speaks towards the camera while gesturing with his hands.

Texas Medical Association awards grant to medical student association

Medical students continue to serve rural communities, one hepatitis C screening at a time
December 13, 2018

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) Student Chapter at the Texas A&M College of Medicine received a renewal of a $3,000 grant from the TMA Foundation as part of the 2018-2019 TMA Foundation Medical Student Community Leadership Grant Program. The grant will help Texas A&M medical students continue serving the homeless and indigent of Temple, Texas and Bell County.

The TMA Foundation awarded funds to a county medical society and a county TMA chapter as well as four TMA Medical Student Section chapters across the state. All grant winners will use the funds to support health-improvement projects that promote health care access and education in underserved populations.

The College of Medicine’s TMA Chapter will use the grant money to continue the expansion of hepatitis C tests to the Aggie Health Project’s health maintenance screenings. The project was first started in 2017 with funds secured from a previous grant from the TMA Foundation. The Aggie Health Project teams up with Martha’s Clinic, Texas A&M’s affiliated student-run free clinic, to administer screenings. For patients who screen positive, an established partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health ensures appropriate specialty care and follow-up, including treatment.

The addition of this screening addresses a disparity in available preventative services for this population, creating opportunities for care and cure.

This program is led by Luis Seija and Christian Beltran, fourth and third year medical students, at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. Seija is also chair of the TMA Medical Student Section Executive Council which governs approximately 6,500 medical students across 12 Texas medical schools, and Beltran serves as the College of Medicine’s TMA Medical Student Section’s vice president.

“Most of the rural patients we serve are susceptible to catching communicable diseases,” said Seija. “By being screened and learning more about health care, these residents can feel more assured about where they stand with respect to their health.”

The Aggie Health Project is funded by multiple grants, including TMA Foundation Medical Student Community Leadership grant, American Medical Association Section Involvement grant and the Bell County Medial Alliance Community Outreach grant. The total amount of awarded grant money for this project is over $8,000.

— Mary Leigh Meyer

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