Border Youth Educate on Zika and Dengue Prevention

Nogales Mosquito Surveillance Team

Nogales Mosquito Surveillance Team

Mosquito Surveillance for Dengue and Zika Virus Prevention

Nogales, AZ. (February 26, 2016)

Members of SEAHEC’s Future Healthcare Leaders Clubs are going to play an important role in preventing mosquito borne diseases this year. While they are at it, high school students from Nogales and the Tohono O’odham Nation will get a taste of what it means to be an epidemiologist.

Local teens who are members of SEAHEC’s Future Healthcare Leaders (FHL) Clubs, a high-school based health career exploration program, have been working with SEAHEC FHL Program Coordinator, Claudia Velasco, to learn how to identify and track mosquitos that spread illnesses like dengue, chikungunya and zika virus. The teens, who are students at Nogales High School, and the Tohono O’odham Nation’s Tohono O’odham High School, will share what they have learned with their communities through community health education campaigns later this year, giving the students an opportunity to study population health, hands-on, at the community level.

Arizona Department of Health Services (AzDHS) Office of Border Health’s Mariana Casal & Nicolette Dent, and Santa Cruz County Health Services Jose Arriola, offered technical assistance and guidance using protocols and surveillance techniques from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  All along, SEAHEC and its partners, engaged local youth who are instrumental in leading successful educational campaigns.

The SEAHEC FHL Mosquito Surveillance Project is now part of a wider “Sister Cities” initiative which was recently launched in Nogales.  As part of the Initiative, various committees have been developed, including health, sports, arts and culture, among others.  Within the health committee, the FHL club will work to raise awareness about how to prevent mosquito borne diseases. The campaign is aligned with the federal government’s Border Health 2020 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program. It’s also one chapter in SEAHEC’s 30 year history of collaborative work with community partners to build Arizona’s healthcare workforce while increasing access to quality health care for rural communities in Arizona.

Mosquito Surveillance Project Fosters “Home Grown Healthcare Providers”

Based in Nogales, the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) plays a leadership role in both state-wide and cross-border collaborations designed to address health issues that pay no heed to international boundaries. With a mission to improve the recruitment, placement and retention of culturally competent health providers in southeast Arizona, SEAHEC uses community collaborations, like the dengue prevention initiative, to educate tomorrow’s health professionals to be responsive to the communities they plan to serve. “Home grown” health care providers have the local knowledge and cultural competence that can make the difference between having and not having access to healthcare.

Future Healthcare Leaders Clubs is the beginning of the SEAHEC Healthcare Workforce Pipeline. SEAHEC provides training opportunities for both future and existing healthcare providers. SEAHEC works to prepare, encourage and assist youth from our border communities to be Future Health Care Leaders.  Our emphasis is on “Growing Our Own” health care providers to increase the numbers of youth entering the health care field who are culturally and linguistically well-suited to meet the needs of the populations they will serve. For more information about health career exploration opportunities, contact Tashina Machain: tashina@seahec.org or visit us at http://www.seahec.org/home/programs/health-careers-exploration/

Also, check out the story published in the Nogales International.

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