2014 FRONTERA Border Tour

Frontera Students at Cochise Health and Social Services

June, 16 2014. FRONTERA students were once again in Nogales this spring to explore health professions opportunities in Southeastern Arizona. This year the group included two SEAHEC Future Healthcare Leaders Alumni, Kimberly Escarcega, and Raymond Larez, of Douglas. They were among 10 members from the University of Arizona health professions student organization, Focusing Research on the Border Area, one of several student groups that SEAHEC hosts annually, to provide hands on experience in rural health care. The group was accompanied by Alejandra Zapien Hidalgo, Student Recruitment/Retention Specialist for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, University of Arizona College of Medicine. On Monday, June 9th, the students visited Cochise Health and Social Services (CHSS) and toured the facility with Beth Hill, Director of Nursing, who provided an overview of the county’s services. They also toured Bisbee’s Copper Queen Community Hospital, where they spoke with Copper Queen CEO James Dickson, and Virginia Martinez, Human Resources Executive.

Frontera 2014 with Public Health Nurse Nogales Sonora

In the afternoon, the group returned to Nogales, to visit Mariposa Community Health Center (MCHC) where Joyce Latura, Maternal & Child Health Manager, provided an overview of MCHC services and programs offered through the MCHC Health & Wellness Department. On Tuesday, the group met at SEAHEC where they were welcomed by Executive Director Gail Emrick. Ms. Emrick led the students in a discussion on border health issues and services and US/Latin American Political, Historical & Immigration Issues. She introduced them to Dina Sanchez, Senior Director of Planning/Community Relations at Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital who led them on a tour of the hospital. In the afternoon, SEAHEC’s Coordinator for Student Training Opportunities, Erin Sol, organized a cultural treasure hunt to provide social context for their exploration of rural health. The students were given a list of historic and culturally significant landmarks and features of Nogales, and asked to report back on what they found. Later, they reflected on how history and culture informs healthcare service delivery and health issues in rural communities.

Frontera 2014 w/Nogales FDAfter the treasure hunt, the students met with emergency service staff from Santa Cruz County. They toured Nogales Fire Station #1 with Captain Peter Ashcraft, and met with Captain Alex Green, of Rio Rico Fire District, who introduced them to Rio Rico’s Community Paramedicine Program.

“I just want to thank you once again for making our FRONTERA trip such a success! The passion and sincere desire for better health care along the border, expressed by … everyone we came in contact with, gave me a desire to consider working in rural border areas, whether that be next year during my gap year or in the future as a physician. Again, thank you for the wonderful experience!”

Wednesday was dedicated to learning about innovative health services in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The students first met a team of public health nurses in a residential neighborhood, where they assisted in canvassing the neighborhood to identify emerging cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and community health education needs. After the canvass, the students met with Dra. María Esther Solis-Blanco of the Centro de Salud, who explained that the door to door approach has helped health professionals identify emerging health problems early, and increased their ability to provide timely treatment and education.Frontera 2014 w/Dr. Solis In the afternoon, the group met with Dr. Carlos Bórquez, who runs a diabetes clinic at Unidad de Especialidad Médica en Enfermedades Crónicas. (UNEME)

2014 Frontera Group w/ Dr. Borquez

Dr. Bórquez introduced the students to his team of specialists, and provided an overview of the clinics services, which include personalized consultation and education to help people suffering from Diabetes, to support lifestyle changes needed to control the disease. Despite the near 100 degree heat, and their busy schedule, the students were bright eyed and enthusiastic on their final day in Nogales when they met with Gail Emrick and SEAHEC staff to reflect on what they had learned.

Jennifer Ehiri said that before this trip, she had not considered a career in rural health.”The experiences I gained from the visit were honestly priceless,” she said.

For information about SEAHEC’s service learning opportunities, please contact Erin Sol, Coordinator for Student Training Opportunities.

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