Texas A&M Getting Back to our Roots: Engaging Rural Texas Communities Around Healthcare Shortages

Austin Mayor Kirk Watson

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Curtis Donaldson ‘81
Director of Rural Medicine, Texas A&M Health & Director of Community Engagement, West Texas Office of Academic and Strategic Collaboration

Curtis Donaldson ’81
Curtis Donaldson was born and raised in Valley Mills Texas, so he is a rural Texan by birth! He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1981 with a BBA in Management. While attending A&M he was a member of the Fightin Texas Aggie Band, where he also served as B Company Commander and was a Bugle Rank Member and a Ross Volunteer.

Upon graduation he headed to Ft Sill as 2nd Lt and then served 10 years in the Texas Army National Guard in Field Artillery units in Odessa and San Angelo. He also worked for Conoco during this same 10-year period in Midland, Houston, Maljamar, NM and San Angelo.

Leaving corporate America, he started his own business located in Georgetown, TX known as CleanFUEL USA, focusing on technology for the propane vehicle marketplace. At one-point CFUSA had operations on 4 continents and in the USA had customers such as UPS, TxDOT, General Motors and Freightliner.

After 25 years of running CFUSA, he sold the business in an attempt to slow down and he moved to Mason, Texas. There he met and married his wife Mary and between the two they share 6 kids! A few months later, a small community bank would hire him to help grow their business. As a community banker, he threw himself into the community and worked tirelessly on many initiatives such as Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce, ISD Committees, Community Advocate Leadership Team and most recently helped spearhead the capital campaign to raise $5.2 million to help rebuild their burned courthouse.

Along that journey Texas A&M School of Medicine engaged Curtis to help them think through a Rural Medicine Initiative strategy and eventually they would pilot that program in Mason County. The Mason pilot results were so good it spread to the 5 surrounding counties and those results have been so good they had inquiries from other counties, as word spread among medical providers and County Judges. Texas A&M then elected to take the program statewide and asked Donaldson to lead that charge. With his roots in rural Texas from Valley Mills to his now living in rural Mason, he is even more passionate about changing the landscape of rural medicine and has been moved by the impact the program is already having in so many communities.

Curtis works 50% for the Office of Academic and Strategic Collaboration as their Director of Community Engagement for West Texas and 50% for the School of Medicine as their Director of Rural Medicine.