The South Texas Area Health Education Center (ST-AHEC) started in 1990 and has focused on improving health care by addressing the unique challenges in South Texas. The catchment area of the ST-AHEC includes 35 counties in South Texas, which are serviced by five AHEC center regions. Our region, particularly Texas-Mexico frontier, is characterized by poverty, elevated unemployment rates, and general lower levels of educational attainment, not only compared to the United States, but other parts of Texas. All 35 counties have specified numerous indices that contribute to health and economic disparities.
Through the Center for South Texas Programs (CSTP) at UTHSCSA, the AHEC Program Office provides oversight and direction to five Regional AHEC Centers through contractual agreements. All five centers have 501c3 nonprofit designations with diverse governing boards, responsible for multi-county regions, and are located in the most medically underserved areas of the state. The centers are:
- Lower Rio Grande Valley AHEC (LRGV) established in 1990 with its office in Harlingen;
- Mid Rio Grande Border AHEC (MRGB) established in 1993 with its office in Laredo;
- Southwest Border AHEC (SWB) established in 1993 (formerly known as Winter Garden Border AHEC) with its office in Eagle Pass;
- South Central AHEC (SC) located in San Antonio;
- South Coastal AHEC(SoC) located in Corpus Christi, both established in 1996.