Service Area Information

Map of West Texas AHEC

West Texas is one of the most rural and medically underserved regions in the United States. Spanning more than 131,000 square miles, the region is home to approximately 2.8 million people. This land mass is larger than 46 of the 50 states in the U.S.

There are 97 rural counties, and 54 of those counties are considered to be frontier with a very low population density. Many of these communities have limited access to health care services.

Currently, there are shortages of physicians, nurses, and allied health providers throughout West Texas.

  • 22 counties do not have a physician
  • 13 counties do not have a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner
  • 21 counties do not have a pharmacy
  • 31 counties do not have a hospital

Sixty-four counties have been designated as Health Professions Shortage Areas (HPSA), and another 15 counties have a partial-county or population HPSA designation.

Without concentrated efforts by educators, communities, and health care organizations, these shortages will worsen as current providers retire and as barriers to recruiting and retaining providers continue to exist.

To address this issue, the West Texas AHEC focuses on increasing the number of future rural health care providers in the “pipeline” as well as enhancing support to existing health care providers. The key component of this effort is to encourage young people from rural communities across West Texas to consider health care career options and to present to them the need for health care professionals in rural communities across the region.