AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Students from all over the panhandle made their way to Amarillo for the fourth annual Amarillo Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery’s “Academic Advantage and Career Day.”
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Dr. William Graves said in prior years, the event has been held on a Saturday, which prevented students from attending.
“A lot of these students may not have the financial means to drive to Amarillo and come to the Globe-News Center and sit for a seminar on a Saturday. A lot of these families are working, a lot of these students have jobs to help support their family. So having the school system involved in something like this, is a really encouraging way for students to learn about health care,” said Dr. Graves.
Students heard from several area medical practitioners on what it takes to make it in the medical field and the issues facing it, including the lack of rural healthcare in the panhandle.
“When you live in a small town, you have a problem with having an underserved community because it’s hard to bring people from larger communities to a smaller area like Amarillo. We feel if we can educate people in our community about healthcare, that when they go out and do their education, that they’ll come back to where they’re from and that we can have more health care providers in our community based on these reasons,” said Dr. Graves.
Dr. Graves also said the cities that Amarillo is competing against are facing similar issues.
“Don’t forget, a lot of these larger cities are considered underserved as well,” said Dr. Graves.
Dr. Graves said the ultimate message he wanted the students to come away with was, “It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor if you’re family is affluent or not affluent. If your parent is a doctor or not a doctor, health care is a reward system. If you work hard and you put your time in, then you can be successful in this field.”