BLAISER Students Explore Immigration & Border Health Issues


On June 20th and 21st, SEAHEC hosted 21 students from the University of Arizona Border Latino and American Indian Summer Exposure to Research (BLAISER) Program. On their first morning in Nogales, students conducted a door-to-door health information campaign on “Opioid Misuse” in the community. They had lunch at SEAHEC where Executive Director, Gail Emrick, MPH, provided an overview on SEAHEC and an introduction to “Immigration and Border Communities.”

Edward Coghlan, an attorney from Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc. introduced students to the federal government policy on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and DACA Recipient Darío Andrade Mendoza gave a presentation on Scholarship A-Z.


Founded in 2009, Scholarship A-Z started as a resource list at Pima Community College. Today “Scholarships A-Z provides resources and scholarships to students, families, and educators through online and community interactions, in order to make higher education accessible to all regardless of immigration status.” according to their website. Mr. Mendoza is an executive team member at Scholarships A-Z as well as a graduate student at the University of Arizona. At the end of the day, students shared their reflections on what they had learned.

The second day of the BLAISER tour was devoted to exploration of the Tohono O’odham Nation. The group met  at the Mission Library and traveled to Sells, Arizona, where they toured the Tohono O’odham Museum and Cultural Center and visited the local health department for an overview of Tohono O’odham Nation Health department programs, provided by Kristopher Fimbres, Supervisor HIV/AIDS. They also learned about the Nation’s Community Health Representative (CHR) Program from Roderick Deal, the Acting Supervisor of the CHR program.


After lunch, the group toured the local hospital, Tohono O’odham Health Care, with Courtney Wright, MD. After which they drove to the US/Mexico border, which transects the Nation, with Kendall Jose, Vice Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation Chukut Kuk District.

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