World Class Rural Health Institute to Open at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Feb. 27, 2006
CONTACT: Suzanna Cisneros Martinez,
(806) 743-2143

LUBBOCK – Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center announced today the establishment of the F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural Health, which will be a world- class initiative to study health care issues and challenges in rural areas.

The new institute will build upon the current rural health projects and resources of the Health Sciences Center, adding new components such as student service learning, community-based research and a visiting scholars program.

While the Health Sciences Center has long been recognized as a leader in rural health issues, the creation of the Institute for Rural Health will elevate the institution’s profile to a national and international level.

Funding for new programs associated with the institute is through a gift from F. Marie Hall of Big Spring. Ms. Hall, a supporter of the Health Sciences Center, has provided several previous substantial gifts including funding for a recreational center for students and a chairperson position dedicated to rural health.

Patti Patterson, M.D., vice president of Rural and Community Health, will serve as the first director of the newly created institute. According to Patterson, some of the greatest rural health challenges in the country are here in West Texas.

“Texas Tech is perfectly situated to study these issues and develop real world workable solutions,” Patterson said. “This new institute will allow us to do so.”

The student service learning component of the new institute will promote and encourage students to add community service to their academic pursuits. Patterson said this effort will produce more community-minded health professionals and better prepare them for a successful career in a rural setting.

Community-based research, education and service projects also will be a component of the new institute which will serve to foster better communications and interaction between the world of health academia and rural communities of West Texas. Research projects will focus on what directly impacts citizens and their communities.
Another component will be the visiting scholars program, which will bring in accomplished academic professionals with rural health experiences from other parts of the country and world. Their collective expertise focused on West Texas issues can assist in developing better solutions to rural health challenges.

M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., president of the Health Sciences Center, said while the institution has tremendous resources, the help and support of visionaries such as Marie Hall will give the Health Sciences Center a boost to the next level.

“Ms. Hall has a true insider view about rural health issues in West Texas. Her father was a rural West Texas physician,” Wilson said. “We are pleased that her vision and support have lead to the creation of this new institute.”

Ms. Hall said it honors her to know that this institute will provide vision and compassion needed to inspire future healers for rural areas.

“It gives me great joy to have the opportunity to help establish this institute,” Ms. Hall said. “Under the leadership of Dr. David Smith, former Texas Tech chancellor and former president of the Health Sciences Center, along with Dr. Patti Patterson, Texas Tech has made rural health issues a priority. I am very grateful that I can ensure the priority remains strong.”