Canyon, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Dr. Priscella Correa is an assistant professor of nursing at West Texas A&M University who hopes to inspire the growing population of Hispanic students to pursue their education.
Dr. Correa has recently been named a leadership fellow for the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Ed. She has also been accepted as a Fellow of La Academia de Liderazgo of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to start in 2023.
From a young age, Dr. Correa knew she wanted to work in healthcare.
“Growing up as Hispanic, I would translate for my parents at doctor’s appointments and so that, you know, always gave me the interest, and I saw how much they cared for them,” she said.
So, she became a bedside nurse in critical care and recovery and then continued her education.
“Education has given me an opportunity that I would not have had otherwise. Finishing my PhD really has elevated me to be in a very specific elite group of Latinos, and Hispanics, with PhDs, and so that in itself has opened doors and opportunities for me.”
Correa has served on various national committees, addressing public and community health. She also has the Baptist Community Services endowed professorship, allowing her to do community service, including the inner city health fair. The fair provides screenings to medically underserved populations.
“If we are able to screen an individual and catch diabetes or high blood pressure, we might be able to educate them and prevent a stroke, or prevent any chronic outcomes that, you know, you see in vulnerable populations or underserved populations,” she said.
Correa said through outreach and education, she has the ability to make a change in the community and with students. She said as demographics shift in the U.S., the population of Hispanic students at WT is growing.
“It is important for them to be able to see individuals that look like them to have reached the goal of obtaining a PhD. They are able to, you know, look at me and be encouraged that they can do that,” she added. “I think it’s just sometimes being able to see key individuals that look like you and encourage you, really is helpful and really paved a path for me.”
She believes her accomplishments are possible because of her educational background and people who have gone before her, leading the way.
“What I love to impart with my students is my diverse perspective, from going up from my background to seeing how we can improve health disparities, how we can look at health inequities, and how we can as a health care profession be able to move towards more of an equitable system to provide care for all those who need.”
In addition to the committees she serves on, Dr. Correa is also involved in several community groups, including Los Barrios de Amarillo and Project Safe Neighborhood.