By Kate Hunger
Two occupational therapy students are on the 2019 leadership team for the UT Health San Antonio chapter of Frontera de Salud, a student-run volunteer organization that provides health care to underserved populations in Texas.
Janna Roberts is the School of Health Professions liaison and Brianna Reyna is the McAllen service coordinator.
Reyna, who is from McAllen, welcomes the opportunity to help serve her hometown. She also looks forward to learning from medical students involved in the organization and to bringing awareness to what occupational therapists have to offer.
“I think having representation gives us more of that interprofessional collaboration,” Reyna said.
Roberts and Reyna are the first two School of Health Professions students to serve on the leadership team of Frontera de Salud, said Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, Ph.D., OTR, department of occupational therapy chair and associate professor.
Because medical students make up the majority of the organization’s volunteers, Roberts said she initially wondered what skills she could offer. But she said Frontera provides the necessary training, and volunteering is a great way to build professional networks and increase interprofessional collaboration, all while providing primary health care services to underserved populations.
“My goal for the physicians is to help spread awareness about the different professions that fall under the School of Health Professions and let other students know you don’t have to be a medical student to be involved in this program,” she said. “It’s a great way to learn new health care skills that will be relevant.”
There are four chapters of Frontera de Salud, and the UT Health San Antonio chapter serves patients in Laredo, Corpus Christi, McAllen, Eagle Pass and underserved areas of San Antonio. Services and education provided include sports physicals for secondary students, flu vaccinations, school immunizations, lipid, glucose, blood pressure, and BMI screenings, diabetes, hypertension, and nutrition.