North Texas Daily

UNT med student researches medicine in rural areas

UNT med student researches medicine in rural areas

UNT med student researches medicine in rural areas
October 16
08:32 2013

Mollie Jamison / Staff Writer

A fourth-year medical student at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth is mapping the occurrences of a bacterial infection in South Texas that can cause stomach cancer.

As part of the curriculum in the Rural Osteopathic Medical Education (ROME) program, Jose Cruz is doing a community health research project near his hometown in Mission, Texas.

Cruz said he decided to do research with regards to one of the risk factors for gastrointestinal cancer. His research involved rating incidents of the disease in South Texas by reviewing hospital records.

“I document reported cases and my goal is to create a map that shows where we have increased incidents,” Cruz said. “Maybe there is some association with people getting the disease based on where they live or anything that they might be exposed to.”

Cruz has spent more than a year collecting data. He said his next step is analyzing the data, which he said shows promising results.

“Certain parts of town are impacted more than others,” Cruz said. “Are these parts of town mainly poor and affluent? What’s their level of education? Who maybe is more at risk for not only the bacteria but also GI cancer? The goal is if we find out this data, what is it we are willing to do as health care practitioners? Once we have the data how are we willing to make a difference?”

Ana Luz Chiapa-Scifres, director of research and evaluation for the Office of Rural Medical Education, said this community research project is important because graduates go on to become leadership figures in their communities.

“It’s important for them to be able to work with the community and identify needs that the community has to really be an effective physician in those small communities,” Chiapa-Scifres said. “A lot of times these smaller communities don’t have the health department or any public health infrastructure, so a lot of the public health things that the public health department would do, it really falls to the physician to address.”

Cruz said research is lacking on many issues that affect healthcare for Latinos and Hispanics. He said he felt there was a need for more research and for it to be potentially publicized.

“The way that healthcare is designed in our country, rural people are disproportionately more effected with certain types of illnesses and access to healthcare than people who live in urban communities,” Cruz said. “The program tries to expose us to the challenges and potential benefits of practicing rural medicine. We rotate with rural physicians across the state that service rural communities and get to learn more about their struggles and their success.”

His mentor, Norma Cavos-Salas, is an adjunct professor in the ROME program

She practices family medicine in Mission and has helped Cruz with his research.

“If we had more students like Jose, we would have more advances in medicine,” Cavos-Salas said. “I appreciate his thoroughness and meticulousness about his research and how he treats patients. He doesn’t stop, he goes 100 percent.”

Cruz received an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Yale University, and a master’s in public health from Texas A&M University.

Jose Cruz, MPH, and  Norma Cavazos-Salas, DO. Feature photo courtesy of UNT

About Author



Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad