Health issues transcend geographic boundaries. Dealing with disease and promoting healthy living in the border region requires line-crossing partnerships. SEAHEC works to enhance the well-being of people living in Arizona’s US-Mexico border region by collaborating with communities and health and social service agencies to enhance service efficiency and effectiveness. We do this through Border Binational Health Initiatives and cross-border networking.

The Arizona Border Communities Health Network

SEAHEC collaborates with partners on both sides of the Arizona/Sonora Mexico border to improve access to health care and health education.  The Arizona Border Communities (ABC) Network, is an effort to promote collaboration, coordination and communication between the Binational Health Council’s in each of Arizona and Sonora’s “sister cities” locations, including Ambos Nogales, Douglas/Agua Prieta and Yuma/San Luis.  Binational Health Councils (known in Spanish as “Cobinas” are recognized by each respective State and supported through the US Mexico Border Health Commission.

The Binational Council of Ambos Nogales

The Nogales Cobina meets bi-monthly and SEAHEC hosts the meetings when they are in Arizona.  The Centro de Salud, Nogales, Sonora, hosts the meetings when they are in Sonora.   Member health agencies share resources, promote binational educational events and promote healthy living in our shared border region. For a schedule of meetings and a list of member agencies, please contact Lupita Gonzales at lupita@seahec.org

Ventanilla de Salud

On January 31, 2020, a binational-interprofessional team of four SEAHEC interns worked with the Mexican Consulate (Douglas) to bring the Mexican Ventanilla de Salud Program to Pearce-Sunsites. Ventanilla de Salud is part of the Mexican Consulate’s Juntos por la Salud program aimed at Mexican nationals living in the US. The program provides health education, screenings and referrals as well as legal and financial resources. Services are offered at consulate offices and related public health events, but Mobile Health Units (MHU) expand services across the U. S. While the majority of MHUs are run by Juntos por la Salud, the University of Arizona College of Public Health operates MHUs out of Tucson and Phoenix.

Hosted by the Pierce-Sunsites Fire District, the first of the SEAHEC/Mexican Consulate Health Events for 2020 brought the UA Primary Prevention Mobile Health Unit into rural Cochise County. The Mobile Health Unit is managed through a partnership between the University of Arizona (UA) College of Public health and the Mexican Consulate.

SEAHEC/ Mexican Consulate (Douglas) team up to expand Ventanilla de Salud Program

The expansion of crucial public health services into rural southeast Arizona will serve Cochise, Graham and Greenlee Counties. SEAHEC interns train with Juntos por la Salud staff to enable them to provide Ventanilla de Salud services, formerly only available in urban areas or at Mexican Consulate offices. Available health screenings focus on helping people manage a healthy weight and prevent or control diabetes. Tests include Blood pressure, Height/Weight, BMI, Cholesterol, Glucose levels and A1C, (a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and to monitor how well diabetes management is working Source: Mayo Clinic). Also joining the effort will be the University of Arizona Cáncer Resource Center, which will provide cancer prevention information. Health education topics include colon cancer, skin cancer, and breast cancer.

Border Health Interprofessional Service Learning Experience – BISLE

This interprofessional course is offered in one of several border “sister” cities of US Mexico border. It examines US & Mexican health systems, community resources and challenges unique to border region and offers ample opportunity for students to get involved in addressing local health needs. SEAHEC works with academic institutions to meet learning objectives for health professions and students in other areas of study. At the same time, we partner directly with other community health and social service agencies to assure that learning objectives align with and support community health needs and concerns. Students engage in meaningful learning, advocacy and transformative action. BISLE: Includes training students to provide care as part of an integrated team where they have the skills to work together, not just alongside others. It also includes training students to look at community or population health issues in a collaborative fashion. Objectives of the course include: increased understanding and gain skills in binational and interprofessional collaboration; increased awareness of unique strengths and challenges in addressing health and wellness; and enhanced skills in collaborating within a framework of community engagement within the context of the US Mexico border region.

Border Latino and American Indian Summer Exposure to Research (BLAISER ) 

Created to address health disparities in Arizona’s ethnically diverse and fast-growing communities BLAISER is offered to students at no cost and they receive a $3,000 stipend, housing, and undergraduate credit for their work.

Focusing Research on the Border Area  (FRONTERA ) 

Students who participate in the nine week FRONTERA program. A research internship offered to undergraduate, graduate and medical students at the University of Arizona, the FRONTERA Program is an ongoing services learning offering sponsored by the UA College of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). The program’s goals are to promote health services research in border communities while “increasing the pool of under-represented researchers interested in examining health disparities in the border region.”  Students participating in the FRONTERA program can expect to gain hands-on research training assisted by one-on one mentoring and reflection.

Binational Health Research Collaborative &  Info – for – Action binational health research conference is a group of motivated and dedicated faculty, agency staff and health professions students who are dedicated to promoting shared learning and research to improve quality of life in our US Mexico border region.  The Info For Action conference is an opportunity to highlight innovative work of up and coming researchers, students and faculty being done in the US Mexico border region to address issues of: vulnerable populations; maternal, child and adolescent health; and environmental health among other topics.  The Binational Health Research Collaborative represents a grassroots initiative of many border-serving community-based and academic institutions including: The Arizona Prevention Research Center of the University of Arizona (UA): Agnes Haury Program in Environment & Social Justice (UA); Northern Arizona University Center for Health Equity, Arizona State University School of Transborder Studies, SEAHEC, El Colegio de Sonora, Universidad de Sonora, Universidad del Valle de Mexico, Arizona Department of Health Services Office of  Border Health, Centro de Investigaciones en Alimentacion Y Desarollo, UA College of Medicine, Red Tematica Binacional en Salud Fronteriza and the Colegio de Frontera Norte.  Please join in!  Contact Gail Emrick at gemrick@seahec.org for more information.