Sabrina Meck Perez
May 13, 2021
Panhandle With Care: How Amarillo’s Role as the Region’s Medical Hub Benefits the Local Community
The Texas Panhandle is known for wide open spaces, friendly faces, and year-round sunny weather. Thanks to Amarillo’s growing network of hospitals, universities, and medical programs, it’s also gaining a reputation as a healthcare leader.
From a nation-leading healthcare system to the mental health benefits of a close-knit community and high quality of life, Amarillo’s role as a medical hub offers numerous benefits for residents.
Here are some of the most important institutions, initiatives, and incentives that contribute to Amarillo’s flourishing reputation in the medical community.
Acclaimed Hospital Systems
Amarillo is home to two hospital systems, serving the Texas Panhandle and greater tri-state area. The BSA Health System employs over 3,000 people and boasts a medical staff of more than 450 physicians. The Northwest Texas Healthcare System is a 495-bed facility, known nationally for its Heart Hospital and Children’s Hospital.
Both systems offer an award-winning quality of care and are critical drivers of public health and economic growth in Amarillo. For instance, the Harrington Cancer and Health Foundation, based at BSA, is a leading center of oncology research that has awarded over $15 million in grants to local individuals and organizations since 2013.
Additionally, the Ronald McDonald House of Amarillo (RMHA) provides temporary housing for families whose children are receiving treatment at local hospitals. By offering a caring, home-like environment to families from all over the Panhandle, RMHA is a great example of how Amarillo’s medical institutions are built to serve the larger community.
An Abundance of Medical Schools and Vocational Colleges
Amarillo is home to a Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) campus. Located just down the road from Amarillo’s leading hospitals, the TTUHSC campus offers programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, and physical therapy. West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) has one of the top three nursing programs in the nation as well.
Amarillo’s commitment to public health goes hand-in-hand with its leadership in agricultural research and veterinary medicine. In 2018, TTUHSC added a $69 million facility for its new School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM). Guided by leading researchers, TTU SVM aims to address a critical shortage of rural veterinarians that has hurt global food supplies.
Amarillo College’s horticulture program, housed in a new 12,000-square-foot STEM research center and greenhouse, is also dedicated to creating sustainable food options. Students have even more options thanks to the WTAMU Agricultural Sciences Complex, which includes the Caviness Meat Science and Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art research facility focused on safe and sustainable meat processing.
Having all of these institutions within a close radius not only drives the industries for which Amarillo is famous, it also creates a lasting culture of education and public health. Check out the video below to learn more about the educational opportunities that abound in Amarillo.
A Leading Role in the COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout
Amarillo’s role as a center of medical infrastructure positioned the city as a primary hub for the Panhandle’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. The vaccination center at the Amarillo Civic Center administered its 100,000th vaccination on March 19, 2021 and, as of publication, is vaccinating thousands of people per week.
As the pandemic gradually eases, Amarillo’s ability to leverage the expertise of its medical community has been a critical resource for the return to a “new normal.” However, helping out in times of crisis isn’t new for Amarillo, which is home to organizations like Heal the City, a nonprofit that has provided free urgent medical care and referral services since 2014.
With hospitals that pull in patients from throughout the tri-state area and medical programs that attract students from all over the country, it’s no wonder that over three million people visit Amarillo annually. All of these local resources add up to a safer, happier, and healthier community – and a medical hub that is the pride of the Panhandle.