After spending three days at the US Mexico border, hosted by SEAHEC, a group of 14 college students reflected on their immersion learning experience hosted by the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center. The students were from FRONTERA (Focusing Research on the Border Area,) a 10 week 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 U of a College of Medicine’s Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs (OMA), which is led by Dr. Ana Maria Lopez, professor of Medicine and Pathology.
Through the program, students learn about public health issues along the US/Mexico Border Region by allowing them to have a hands on research experience in the community. During the course, each group makes the trip south from Tucson, to SEAHEC, and the border community known by locals as “Ambos (both)Nogales,” which refers to the fact that there is a Nogales on each sides of the border.
On april 20th SEAHEC took 14 University of Arizona Students to Nogales Sonora, on a Border Service Learning trip. The students were from two U of A student organizations focused on health careers. Nine of the students were members of Fostering and Achieving Cultural Equity and Sensitivity (F.A.C.E.S.) which was organized to address cultural competency issues in the health care system.
The other five students were members of Learning, Understanding and Cultivating Health Advocacy (LUCHA), a graduate student organization at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. The club was designed to connect students to community service opportunities to promote awareness for border health and human rights issues in the US-Mexico Border Region.
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Ambos Nogales – From August 9th -13th, SEAHEC hosted the Border Health Service Learning Institute in Nogales, Arizona/Sonora in partnership with the University Of Arizona College Of Public Health. The week-long course, which rotates annually between Douglas Arizona/Agua Prieta, Sonora, Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Sonora, and San Luis, Arizona/San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, is designed to engage students in community-based collaboration that spans the U.S.–Mexico border. Students provide service to the host community while learning about factors influencing public health in a binational environment.
This year, eight students participated in cross-border activities, which included shadowing Mariposa CHC community health workers, and touring Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales, Arizona. SEAHEC organized panels that gave students a chance to learn firsthand from community members what it is like growing up on both sides of the border, how border communities collaborate to address health local health needs that require international cooperation, and how health care services are impacted by the local economy.