TAMUCC nursing students are providing health care services to thousands of Colonias residents in Webb County.
The Army is also working alongside the nursing students to provide health care and improve infrastructure in the Colonias.
Thousands people living in Colonias are receiving health care services over the course of two weeks, thanks to the efforts of students and faculty in the Texas A&M Corpus Christi nursing program.
More than 40 students and faculty from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences are volunteering to provide health care to Colonias residents in Webb County. They have been working in the areas around Laredo since June 19th, in collaboration with the Texas A&M Colonias Program and more than 200 U.S. Army personnel.
The volunteers aim to provide health care, improve community infrastructure, and enhance the quality of life for up to 10,000 Colonias residents in the area over the two-week period.
Colonias are rural subdivisions that lack basic necessities, like clean drinking water, sewer systems, electricity, and safe and sanitary housing. During heavy rains, Colonias regularly flood due to substandard drainage, and residents are submerged in toxic waste.
The nursing students aim to translate their classroom experiences into real-world solutions for the under-served populations in the Colonias. They are offering residents primary health care, vision screenings, dental care, while also learning military health care procedures.
Services provided by the Army are being done as part of the Department of Defense's Innovation Readiness Training, a civil-military program that builds partnerships between the DoD and U.S. communities. The program also helps Army personnel meet readiness requirements for addressing public and societal needs.
Along with offering health services, Army Reserve engineers are working to improve a two-mile stretch of roadway at one Colonia community. The road is currently unusable due to storms, forcing children to stay home from school and parents to miss work. Soldiers are spreading five acres of soil at another Colonia community sports complex as well, giving children a safe place to participate in extracurricular activities.
Army members are also distributing surveys to 500 households across nine different Colonias, and the data collected will go back to Webb County officials to assist them in developing solutions to enhance the quality of life for Colonia residents.
Both the Army and the TAMUCC nursing students are working in collaboration the Texas A&M Colonias Program, and on Tuesday, A&M System Chancellor John Sharp and TAMUCC Interim President and CEO Dr. Kelly Quintanilla visited Laredo to take part in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The memorandum, also signed by Army leaders, lays out intentions to continue volunteer efforts in the Colonias multiple times a year.