Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-25-2021


The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is the live example of how both, the social determinants of health and structural racism, impact the health of a whole population, and exacerbate these effects in underserved communities. The RGV is home to the cities with the lowest education rates, lowest rates of insurance, and lowest median income, as well as the highest rates of poverty, highest rates of obesity, and highest rates of unemployment. To improve healthcare in the area, the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Healthcare System Navigator (HCSN) program has the goal of assisting individuals in the underserved populations of the RGV by coordinating health related information to patients, follow-up in their care, and help clinicians provide more personalized and higher quality care. Programs like the AHEC HCSN intervention have proven successful in achieving their goals, however, our unique program has aimed to tackle some of the largest limitations these types of programs have had in the past. The overall goals of the program are to establish an effective intervention program that increases access to healthcare, as well as to provide a worthwhile learning experience to healthcare professions students, aimed at instilling empathy and emphasizing the importance of patient-centered care.

Academic Level

medical student

Mentor/PI Department

Population Health and Biostatistics