Free medical clinics coming to Presidio, Terlingua, Sanderson

TRI-COUNTY — A series of free medical clinics provided by students at the University of North Texas Health Science Center are returning for their fifth tour of the Big Bend this month. The clinics are free and don’t require an appointment, insurance or identification to receive care. This round, care will be available in Sanderson, Presidio and Terlingua. 

Services offered include sports and work physicals, muscle and joint therapy, ultrasound imaging, diabetes testing, blood pressure checks, medication reviews, wellness exams, and general and pediatric care. “We see anyone who comes in,” said Annette Smith, research assistant director at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. “We are adamant about not taking documentation or identification — we want people to come.” 

Smith takes 24 to 30 students out on the road regularly to help address healthcare gaps in the remote Big Bend region. The program was born out of one student’s interest in serving underserved Latino populations on the border, and the community spirit is what keeps them coming back from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “Frankly, we love Presidio,” she said, citing its great food and family-oriented culture. 

Much of the care needed can be provided on-site, but patients needing referrals or immediate assistance will be referred to Dr. Ray or Dr. Billings in Marfa or Alpine, depending on need. While much of the screening will be conducted by students, a doctor who can prescribe medications will be at the clinic as well. “Our students are just always so humbled that people from these communities give so much,” Smith said. 

The Terlingua clinic will be held Monday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Big Bend Baptist Church in Study Butte. The Sanderson clinic will be held the next day, Tuesday, March 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. James Hall on 3rd Street. The group will conclude their tour with a visit to the Presidio Activities Center on Thursday, March 17, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.