PVAMU healthcare research team to present at health conference

On May 9, 2019, Dr. Mark Tschaepe, associate professor of philosophy at Prairie View A&M University, Christian Farley, graduating senior honors student at PVAMU, and Michael Zhou, junior at Cypress Ranch High School, will present the research session “How Did This Become a Medical Desert?” at the National Rural Health Association’s 42nd Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The session will display their engaging research on healthcare in Waller County. Tschaepe, who leads the research team, will give an overview of why he initiated the research, some of the general findings, and suggestions for future work. Additionally, he will present concerns about ethical considerations and rural health in Waller County.

Christian Farley will discuss his experiences with administering healthcare surveys in Waller County, including discoveries he made through the process. Farley said, “Many of those surveyed, who verbally expressed concern regarding access to healthcare, did not know the problem could be fixed or properly addressed.” Michael Zhou will present his archival research on the histories of the two hospitals in Waller County, the Prairie View hospital and the Hempstead hospital, both of which closed nearly 30 years ago.

Regarding what he wants others to learn from his participation in the conference, Zhou said, “I would want people to know how critical the health situation in Waller County is.” From his research, Zhou determined that the need for a hospital [in Waller County] is apparent.

“This is an exciting opportunity for a faculty member, undergraduate student, and an area high school student to represent Prairie View and Waller County at a national conference,” expressed Farley. “As someone interested in working in healthcare in a rural community, I want to leave the conference with a better understanding of the problems rural healthcare faces.”

Zhou said, “I would like to hear other people’s perspectives on how rural life is. I live in a suburban area by Houston, and I rarely get a look into rural areas. I find that understanding more about other people’s perspectives and lives make me more understanding as a person.”

According to the National Rural Health Association website,  “NRHA’s Annual Rural Health Conference is the nation’s largest rural health conference, created for anyone with an interest in rural health care, including rural health practitioners, hospital administrators, clinic directors and lay health workers, social workers, state and federal health employees, academics, community members and more.”