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Jim and Julie Cardwell Spearhead Neurology Advancements at Texas Tech Health El Paso


Cardwell Family Endowed Professorship in Pediatric Neurology marks historic first at Texas Tech Health El Paso and for our community.


Texas Tech Health El Paso is improving neurologic care in our community, propelled by the philanthropy of Jim and Julie Cardwell and the Cardwell Foundation.


Jim and Julie Cardwell - Cardwell Foundation

Following their visionary support in 2019, which created an inaugural endowed chair in the Department of Neurology, Texas Tech Health El Paso is pleased to announce a new gift from the Cardwells, which will establish the Cardwell Family Endowed Professorship in Pediatric Neurology. It’s the first endowed professorship in the Department of Neurology and the only one designated for pediatric neurology. The university is matching the new gift, as it did with their 2019 gift.


This new investment from the Jim and Julie Cardwell Fund, in conjunction with the Cardwell Foundation, will help address the critical shortage of neurologists – particularly pediatric neurologists – in our El Paso community. There are two licensed child neurologists in El Paso and one in Albuquerque, Midland and Tucson.


The endowment will help Texas Tech Health El Paso recruit a world class pediatric neurologist to educate students in the Foster School of Medicine and practice in the school’s clinical arm, Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso.

"Our wish is to establish a complete care team capable of serving patients of every age grappling with neurological disorders," Jim Cardwell said. "The burden of traveling out of town for treatment, especially while dealing with neurological issues, imposes significant personal and physical challenges on patients and their loved ones. Though it may not happen within my lifetime, we strive to play our part in realizing the vision of providing our community with comprehensive neurology services and care."


A pediatric neurologist, also known as a child neurologist, specializes in the treatment of children experiencing issues with their nervous system. These issues can arise from various parts of the neurological system, including the brain, spine, nerves, or muscles, and may manifest as conditions like seizures, headaches, or developmental delays.


The shortage of child neurologists has a wide-ranging impact, including physical health, how diseases or disorders can progress and impact a patient’s quality of life and the emotional toll on children. Having to wait a long time, even months, to see a child neurologist can add to these issues.


The Access to Pediatric Neurology Training and Services Worldwide 2023 report highlights concerning statistics regarding the availability of child neurologists. In the United States, there is an average of 0.51 to 1 child neurologist per 100,000 people. Texas, for instance, has less than 50 child neurologists to cover the entire state. The United States is facing a shortage of child neurologists, estimated to be at least 20% below the national demand, but many experts believe this figure may be too conservative. Projections indicate that the demand for neurologists in the United States will surpass supply by 19% by 2025.


Salvador Cruz-Flores, M.D., professor and chair of Texas Tech Health El Paso’s Department of Neurology, said this continued partnership is significant in addressing the obstacles posed by the scarcity of neurological specialists.


“This gift is important as it allows us to expand our resources and ultimately improve access to quality care for patients, particularly in underserved areas like pediatric neurology,” Dr. Cruz-Flores said. “Pediatric neurology is an underserved area both nationally, and specifically, in El Paso. Having dedicated pediatric neurologists is crucial for early diagnosis, intervention and ongoing management of these conditions.”


“The impact the Cardwells have had in neurology at Texas Tech Health El Paso is profound,” Dr. Cruz-Flores said. “Through their generosity, they have enabled us to improve patient care and train the next generation of neurologists, ultimately transforming the landscape of neurological care in our community and beyond."


Acknowledging the essential role of neurologists in providing comprehensive care, Dr. Cruz-Flores said a significant portion of services rendered at Texas Tech Physicians El Paso are dedicated to uninsured or underinsured patients. This is why there’s urgency in increasing neurologist numbers to ensure equitable access to health care services for all residents of our Borderplex region.


The Cardwell Foundation, an affiliate of the El Paso Community Foundation, aims to foster community well-being and health care excellence. Through their forward-thinking support, the foundation is advancing neurological care access and improving outcomes for patients in our community. Through the years, the entire Cardwell family has been as a strong supporter of Texas Tech Health El Paso's mission to eliminate healthcare barriers in our Borderplex.


The latest gift from the Jim and Julie Cardwell Fund and the Cardwell Foundation marks another milestone in Texas Tech Health El Paso’s mission to cultivate medical excellence and address health care disparities. As the university forges impactful partnerships and pioneers innovative solutions, it remains committed to advancing the health and well-being of the El Paso community and beyond.


 

YOU CAN HELP

Help transform health care in our community and beyond by making a gift to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. CLICK HERE to learn how to give.

At Texas Tech Health El Paso, we are committed to growing our own health care heroes and

changing the state of health care in our Borderplex. For more information about how you can help, please contact andrea.tawney@ttuhsc.edu or craig.holden@ttuhsc.edu or visit ttuhscep.edu/elpaso/ia/giving/.


 

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