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Pecan Valley AHEC benefits from Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board grant

By Victoria Advocate
May 23, 2010 at 12:23 a.m.


The Pecan Valley Area Health Education Center, located on the Victoria College campus, will benefit from $60,000 in grant funding from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to help continue and expand educational health careers programs in the Golden Crescent region.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board awarded three, two-year grants from the Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program to several large Texas educational institutions, including the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The total grant award is more than $1.4 million.

Grant funds will benefit each of these institutions' partnerships with other local educational partners to fund specific programs aimed at addressing local health and education needs.

Steve Shelton of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston serves as the director for the East Texas Area Health Education Centers, including Pecan Valley AHEC on the Victoria College campus. The portion of grant funds that will go to assist the East Texas AHEC program at UTMB and the partnering AHEC organizations is in excess of $600,000 and will help fund the Encouraging the College-Bound into Healthcare Occupations project.

ECHO is an educational intervention project aimed at helping at-risk students continue into higher education with the intent to pursue a healthcare career.

Intervention will include providing students accurate health career information and opportunities for career shadowing, along with continuing guidance and support through to degree completion. Additionally, ECHO includes the initiation of a Parent Academy, which will involve the student's parents in encouraging and supporting their higher education and career goals.

"We're fortunate to have received this grant," said Robbyn Michalka, director of Pecan Valley AHEC located on the VC campus. "In times when budgets are being cut, this funding allows us to continue these essential programs."

Pecan Valley AHEC will receive about $80,000 in grant funds over the next two years to help with personnel salaries for those who organize the Nurse Academy and Health Careers Exploration and Observation Days every year, and in the development and implementation of a local parent academy.

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