UT Health San Antonio brings health care to rural communities

In more than 30 health visits, UT Health SA’s mobile nursing clinics have helped more than 300 people.

Rural communities are facing disparities with their health care, whether it’s health care worker shortages or simply the distance from care.

UT Health San Antonio is bridging the gap with its mobile clinic, and thanks to a $150,000 grant, that work will continue.

The bus is a tight space, packed with medical staff like pediatric nurse practitioner Kristin Roeseler and four little patients.

“All right my friend, I’m going to listen to your heart, your lungs, and look in your ears. Is that okay?” Roeseler said to one of her patients.

Roeseler has been working on UT Health San Antonio’s mobile clinic for six months now. She’s part of a team bringing health care to kids in rural communities.

“I’m not working in surgery. I’m not, you know, the cutting edge of medicine, but I am meeting people where they need to be met,” Roeseler said.

Their pop-up clinic went to Uvalde this week. Roeseler said they’ve been there several times since the tragedy at Robb Elementary School.

“I feel like they need it more, but I also feel like they almost appreciate it more,” she said.

Dr. Sonya Hardin is the dean of the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing. She started her career in rural health care and knows how important it is to fill the coverage gap.

“A lot of times you can’t get in with a provider on the same day that you need one. And so being out in the community will allow that to occur,” Dr. Hardin said.

The bus has two exam rooms, lab testing, tools to check your vitals, and all of the supplies you’d find in your regular doctor’s office.

Over the past year, the clinic road trips have brought care to over 300 people in Bexar County, Castroville, and Uvalde with more outreach planned.

“You get to help children, which is all of our future, and we want to ensure that they have really good health care,” Dr. Hardin said.

“We build these rapports and we see them and watch them grow up,” Roeseler said.

Amerigroup Texas, a health insurance company, gave $150,000 to support the clinic road trips.

Dr. Hardin said she hopes to have another bus someday to provide mental health services to rural counties as well.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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