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.
After 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.
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. In the afternoon, the group met with Dr. Carlos Bórquez, who runs a diabetes clinic at Unidad de Especialidad Médica en Enfermedades Crónicas. (UNEME)
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.