Texas A&M: College Of Nursing Collaborates On Federally Funded Vaccine Education Efforts In Rural Communities

The Texas A&M University College of Nursing was recently awarded $50,000 in federal grant funding as a collaborative partner with the B.I.S. Community Clinic to provide COVID-19 vaccine education, training and administration in 12 counties within the greater Brazos Valley. These include Brazos, Grimes, Walker, Montgomery, Madison, Leon, Robertson, Waller, Washington, Burleson, Lee and Fayette counties.

The Rural Health Clinic Expanded Vaccine Uptake Program (REV-UP) aims to bolster vaccine confidence by leveraging existing health care resources within rural communities through academic partnership to support ongoing efforts in combatting misinformation. As part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s (FORHP) Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence Program, the grant award provides an opportunity for rural health clinics across the United States — like B.I.S. Community Clinic — additional resources in improving health care through educational campaigns and community engagement initiatives.

“As a Rural Health Clinic our mission is to deliver health care close to home,” said Elizabeth Ellis, president and director of clinical operations at B.I.S. Community Clinic. “We are delighted that Texas A&M University College of Nursing has agreed to join us in caring for our community and beyond.”

Approximately 60 million people in the United States reside in rural counties, representing almost one-fifth of the nation’s population, yet only 39 percent of adults in those rural areas have received a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rural communities often have a higher number of residents who are without health insurance, live with chronic health conditions, are 65 years of age and older, and have limited access to quality health care, placing them at increased risk for COVID-19. Through activities led by community health workers familiar with and trusted by the patient population served, faculty and undergraduate students from the College of Nursing will reinforce facts regarding prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

“Texas A&M College of Nursing focuses on empowering nurses to improve the health of rural populations,” said Cynthia Weston, associate dean for clinical and outreach affairs and associate professor at the College of Nursing. “We are excited to partner with B.I.S. Community Clinic and Dr. Ellis to improve health in rural Texas.”

Under the direction of B.I.S. Community Health Clinic, the College of Nursing will support ongoing efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among rural and underserved communities to promote and improve population health and wellness.