COLLEGE STATION, TX, Nov. 13, 2018 -- Texas A&M University and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) today announced a new collaborative project to help identify and implement solutions to health care challenges facing rural communities in Texas. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has committed $10 million to the Texas A&M Health Science Center as part of the joint project.

The project aims to improve access to healthcare and reduce disparities in health status and outcomes in rural communities.

“As someone who grew up in a small town in Texas, I understand and appreciate both the challenges and the healthcare needs of those in rural communities,” said Dr. Dan McCoy, President of BCBSTX.

Focus areas of the project will include: ambulatory rural care delivery systems, rural hospital function and future, community empowerment, and technology and health information.

According to a report conducted last year by the A&M Rural and Community Health Institute and the Episcopal Health Foundation, 38 counties in Texas have no physician, 80 counties have five or fewer physicians, 58 counties have no general surgeon.

Texas A&M University was founded as a land-grant institution under the Morrill Act with a mission of helping underserved populations. Today, the Health Science Center—which was formed in 1999 to bring together the health-related disciplines of Texas A&M, continues its land-grant service tradition, placing emphasis on the health needs of those who live in rural areas.