SAN MARCOS, TX
ABOVE: CTMC Director of Patient Experience and Quality Krystal Gomez completes dental tasks while participating in mission work in cooperation with the San Antonio chapter of the Christian Medical and Dental Association. Gomez said she realized her calling in the quality side of health care during her involvement with Medical Explorer Post 4077 while in college. The group makes regular trips to cities along the Mexico border to provide medical aid.
- More than 20 years after Medical Explorer Post 4077 was created, Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) is taking on the role as the lead sponsor for the group. Exploring is a program launched by a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America where units, also known as “posts,” are created to teach students about a specific career field. The local Medical Explorers group is led by Texas State University’s former Chairman of Health Services Research Charles Johnson, who says this program is more extensive than others of its kind.
The group organizes weekly speakers that cover the full spectrum of health care, including the allied health professions, administration, physician recruiting, public health, infectious diseases, epidemiology, bioterrorism and more. They also perform volunteer and mission work in cooperation with the San Antonio chapter of the Christian Medical and Dental Association making regular trips to cities along the Mexico border to provide medical aid. Through the organization, students are able to ride along on EMS calls, complete hospital volunteer tasks and participate in physician and dentist shadow programs.
The organization was previously co-sponsored by CTMC and Texas State University, but the new sponsor model became effective June 1. Currently, CTMC is the lead sponsor of the program, and the Tri-County Medical Association and the district 7 Osteopathic Medical Association are co-sponsors. Texas State recognizes the post as an official student organization, but they are no longer a charter sponsor, Johnson said. CTMC Administrative Director of Performance Improvement Angie Loftin is Post 4077’s sponsoring organizational representative.
"Many CTMC staff members have helped with this program in the past, but it is now part of the CTMC family,” Johnson said, noting that several former Medical Explorers work at the hospital today, including Director of Patient Experience and Quality Krystal Gomez.
"Medical Explorers is a great organization to show students all the aspects of health care,” Gomez said. “This organization provided me with the opportunity to discover my strengths and interests in health care administration. I was able to hear from speakers, work first aid at community events and experience medical and dental mission trips in Mexico.”
Gomez’ original intent upon starting college was to attend medical school, but Medical Explorers caused her to fall in love with the quality side, she said.
“A week doesn’t go by where I don’t see a career path change,” Johnson said. “I show them exciting alternatives in areas of medicine they never knew anything about.”
Medical Explorer Post 4077 was formed in 1991 and became unchartered for about a year after Johnson retired from Texas State in 2005. Still, Johnson continued taking students on medical mission trips to Laredo, Eagle Pass and Del Rio, and many students asked him to bring the program back to life. In 2006, the Post was re-introduced and continued to thrive.
Although posts are a branch of the Boy Scouts, girls are also admitted into Explorer groups. College students and high school juniors and seniors who are interested in health care careers may inquire about joining Medical Explorer Post 4077 by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hospital, which originated in 1923 as Hays County Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Memorial Hospital, was restructured in 1960. The present facility was opened at its current Wonder World Drive location in 1983. The CTMC staff of more than 700 employees works with more than 220 active and consulting physicians to provide quality services to patients and their families. In addition, over 200 community members and interns from area educational institutions volunteer their services to the hospital. In 2010 and again in 2011, CTMC was named The Best Hospital in Hays County. In addition, CTMC added a certified Chest Pain Center to its ER capabilities in 2011.
CTMC is a member of the Adventist Health System (AHS), a not-for-profit healthcare organization that emphasizes Christ at the center of care. Founded in 1973, AHS has quickly grown to become the largest not-for-profit Protestant healthcare provider in the nation. Today, AHS supports 43 hospitals and employs 55,000 individuals. AHS hospitals are comprised of 7,700 licensed beds, providing care for 4 million patients each year in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits.