Rural and Community Engagement | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
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Rural and Community Engagement

The Rural and Community Engagement Division (RCE) of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center – Permian Basin (TTUHSC-PB) partners with communities and organizations to improve health outcomes. Through its “Medicine on the Move” initiative, a mobile health program, and a suite of other continually evolving programs, the RCE Division commits to improving population health.


Developing a model for a “clinic without walls” by engaging communities to better health. 


  • Provide Health Access Point
    Providing health access points is a strategic priority of the Rural and Community Engagement Division. Telehealth opportunities, vaccination clinics, mental health fellowships, and primary care services are the current activities to connect communities to healthcare.
  • Community Engagement
    Community engagement entails developing trusting connections with people and community organizations to learn health-related needs and bringing together resources to address the issues.
  • Health Promotion
    RCE prioritizes the recognition that health is influenced by factors including access to healthcare, lifestyle factors, and socio-economic factors in its health promotion programs.
  • Health Workforce Development and Training
    Permian Basin and most of the surrounding counties in the rural areas are designated Health Professions Shortage Areas. Thus, workforce development and training evolved as a natural priority mission for the RCE division.


    • National Rural Health Day
      Texas Tech University Health Science Center join communities across America in celebration of National Rural Health Day (NRHD) on November 16, 2023. Permian Basin health care employers have been invited to participate, meet graduating health career students, and share the benefits of serving in a rural community at the recruitment fair that afternoon.
    • Rural Health High School Summer Camp
      In collaboration with our partners at Permian Basin Area Health Education Center and Sul Ross State University, we plan to host our inaugural Rural Health Careers camp for rural high school students at Sul Ross State University Campus in Alpine from June 5 – June 7th, 2024. The goal of the camp (the only rural-focused summer healthcare career camp in Texas) is to illustrate the need and opportunities available for rural healthcare workers; equip them with information about the various disciplines in healthcare and training programs in West Texas from the community college, university level and professional schools; and engage them in meaningful experiences with their medical student and medical professional camp counselors.  This camp will be inclusive of academic institutions from West Texas and be multi-disciplinary in career focus.


      • Medicine on the Move
        Medicine on the Move is a mobile health program under the Rural and Community Engagement Division to learn and mitigate barriers communities have in improving health outcomes. This is an initiative of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in partnership with the Permian Strategic Partnership and the Caring Foundation of Texas. The program uses a community telemedicine model to provide and improve access to healthcare in areas with limited or no access to clinical services. 
      • Confianza: Hispanic-Oriented Medicine Enrichment
        All current RCE staff are integrally involved with the Confianza: HOME at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - Permian Basin which is a federally designated Health Resources and Services Administration-funded Hispanic Center of Excellence created to: recruit, train, and retain students from the target area to become family medicine physicians and generate culturally competent healthcare providers to cater to the underserved population of rural West Texas.
      • Health Promotion Outreach
        Health Promotion Outreach program includes scheduled rural outreach to West Texas communities, distribution of evidence-based health literature, community engagement visits, participation in Hope for the Homeless at American Legion Odessa, health screenings, workshops, promoting RCE Virtual health series, and attending health fairs and events.
      • Vaccination Program
        RCE has developed and conducted several vaccine administration training. Other vaccination programs included Texas Vaccines for Children, Flu vaccination, and vaccine education programs.
      • Mental Health Fellowship
        The TTUHSC Family Medicine Mental Health Fellowship Program (FMMHP) provides optimal training in psychological practices. The Rural and Community Engagement Division is closely working to expand the Mental Health Fellowship program to rural communities in the Permian Basin and beyond.
      • Rural Health Education Series
        We regularly host or support educational series targeting providers and community members. A diversified area of topic from Stroke management, Depression, Motivational Health Coaching, Chronic Kidney Disease management has been presented in these sessions. 
      • Lifestyle Medicine Series
        TTUHSC Family Medicine Resident Instructors lead this Lifestyle Medicine series presentation. It occurs third Thursday of every month virtually from 12 -1 pm each session focusing on one of the six pillar areas of Lifestyle medicine.
      • Positive Wellness Narrative
        Positive Wellness Narrative is an interactive session used for health promotion and community engagement. It envisions creating a community space to learn, reflect, connect, share, and change based on narrative methods focusing on themes such as Strengths, Connections, Gratitude, and Purpose.
      • Rural Student Mentoring Programs
        The Rural Student Health Sciences Mentorship Program is an established program created by Area Health Education Center of the Plains (AHEC) and medical students at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Lubbock, Texas. With their success, Permian Basin AHEC and TTUHSC Permian Basin, are implementing this program within our region. 
      • RCE Elective
        This course currently offered to fourth-year medical students will provide a community medicine experience in the rural Big Bend and Permian Basin area with the TTUHSC-Permian Basin Rural and Community Engagement (RCE) Division. RCE was created to build bridges between our community partners that TTUHSC-PB serves. Regular RCE activities include community outreach activities which include resident physicians as well as multidisciplinary students from the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions.


Kristi Herrera
Kristi Herrera

Rural and Community Engagement Division
Phone: 432.703.5025

Margaret Robles
Margaret Robles

Unit Manager
Rural and Community Engagement Division
Phone: 432.703.5274

Dijo John
Dijo John, Pharm.D., MPH, MBA

Senior Director
Rural and Community Engagement Division
Phone: 432.703.5057

Adrian N. Billings
Adrian N. Billings, MD, PhD, FAAFP

Associate Academic Dean
Rural and Community Engagement Division
Fellow of F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Phone: 432.703.5436