For nearly a decade, students from the Ichan School of Medicine have traveled from New York to explore rural health care with SEAHEC in Nogales. The students are from a group known as Medical Students Making Impacts.
While in Nogales, the Students work with SEAHEC’s Student Training Opportunities Program Coordinator, Erin Sol, to provide basic health screenings and education for community members while getting to know local health care providers. Service learning is one of SEAHEC’s key offerings for health professions students that can help them make links with rural communities, increasing the chances that they will consider practicing in a rural setting during their careers.
Among the activities the Mt. Sinai students participated in during their visit in March, were health fairs organized by Erin Sol at the Nogales Senior Center and at the Mexican Consulate’s Ventanilla de Salud in Nogales. They were accompanied by six volunteers from The Arizona Rural Health Professions Program (RHPP,) a core program supported by Arizona AHEC.
The students provided hypertension screenings to 70 Nogales residents as well as education on Diabetes and fall risk management. Mariposa Community Health Center sponsored the health fair at the Consulate, and provided a dentist to screen for cavities. The local Alzheimer’s association provided information on services for families of people who suffer with Alzheimer’s.
SEAHEC’s Future Health Leaders at Baboquivari and Nogales High Schools welcomed the Mt. Sinai students, along with two RHPP volunteers to their club meetings where they shared their experiences of studying medicine and taught the FHL students how to conduct blood pressure screenings.
To round out their trip, the Mt. Sinai students visited the Border Patrol and the El Comedor (The dining room in Spanish) run by the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales Sonora, to learn about the health risks and other dangers Mexican immigrants face in border communities.