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SEAHEC Executive Director: Politicians Could Emulate Our Border Community Teens

Noting that much national news about the US-Mexico border focuses on the negative SEAHEC Executive Director, Gail Emrick, recently reached out to the Arizona Daily Star to share a “fresh perspective” that illuminates the positive nature of cross border relations.

“If politicians want to use the border as an example of what they are going to do when elected, how about a fresh perspective of unlimited cooperation and potential?” She wrote in an August 12th Op Ed piece for the Arizona Daily Star.

“That perspective is shared and practiced by my colleagues, friends and youth here at the border,” she said.

The editorial opinion piece, entitled “ Emrick: Collaboration on border health issues sets an example” was a product of the “Op-Ed Project: Tucson Public Voices Fellowship” sponsored by the Women’s Foundation for Southern Arizona. The fellowship is part of a national initiative to change public discourse by supporting women to write a greater share of editorials, to “increase the influence of women and minority thought leaders, changing who narrates our world.” Fellowship Applications for the 2017 round are currently available at https://www.womengiving.org/op-ed/

SEAHEC and our community partners have a 30 year history of coalition building and cross-border cooperation.  To learn more about the positive impact of cross border collaboration, read Ms. Emrick’s article at the Arizona Daily Star. 

You can also find out more about the impact of cross border collaboration by subscribing to the SEAHEC Quarterly Bulletin.

SEAHEC is often in the local news. To follow us in the news, visit our SEAHEC in the News page.

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SEAHEC FHL Alumnus Returns to Participate in BISLE

Alex Buranday

Alex Buranday

By Alex Buranday

The long-term impact of SEAHEC’s youth investment is demonstrated when alumni of SEAHEC’s Future Health Leaders Program return to participate in training events as college level health professions students. Raymond Larez, Douglas High School FHL “Med” Club class of 2008, has returned to SEAHEC twice to take advantage of service learning opportunities here in Nogales.  In 2014, he participated in the FRONTERA program, along with former classmate Kimberly Escarcega. Now half way through his Master’s in Public Health degree at the University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, (MEZCOPH) Larez says he immediately volunteered to participate in our newest offering, Binational Interprofessional Service Learning Experience (BISLE,) which SEAHEC coordinates in collaboration with MEZCOPH.

 Larez joined SEAHEC’s FHL program during his sophomore year at Douglas High School, where he remembers participating in club activities that exposed him to college campus tours, college application preparation, Relay for Life,  the CNA program, and other health career preparation activities. After high school graduation in 2008, Larez enrolled at the University of Arizona where he majored in Nutritional Science, and went on to pursue his Master’s in Public Health.

When asked about how participating in Future Health Leaders helped him decide on a career path, he says, “If it wasn’t for Med-Club, pursuing a Masters degree in Public Health wouldn’t have been a possibility.” Larez says that being part of the club helped to alleviate his anxiety about applying to college, and the opportunities the club offered boosted his confidence in pursuing a career in health.

 His advice for current club members and high school students in general: 

“Take advantage of the opportunities, and even though it may be intimidating, just push through and be open-minded.” 

Larez plans to work in public health administration and is contemplating enrolling in medical school. He said he is definitely interested in serving rural, underserved populations. Larez is one example that illustrates how providing definite pathways for youth advancement renders invaluable returns. Along with border health advocacy, SEAHEC’s continuing mission to “Grow our Own” health care providers is truly a worthwhile investment.

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Border Provides Unique Opportunity for Binational Interprofessional Service Learning (BISLE)

By Gail Emrick

During a weekend in August, a unique group of dedicated health professions students gathered in Ambos Nogales to learn about community health issues, provide needed services, and work together in an interprofessional manner. The thematic focus of this years’ service learning was special needs populations and agencies that address special needs in the border region. The first day’s events were held in Nogales AZ, where 30 students and 9 faculty from Arizona and Sonora, gathered to receive an overview of US/Latin American relations, a historical political context of immigration and health outcomes at the border provided by SEAHEC Director, Gail Emrick. Then a panel of health professionals from both Nogales Arizona and Sonora presented on their chosen professions and the particular challenges and benefits of serving as health professionals in the border region.

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2016 Border Health Service Learning Institute (BHSLI) Tour

Late summer is the time for health professions students to take a break from work and studies to explore the practical side of practice, while earning credits toward their degree. In the second week of August, 2016, 19 students from the University of Arizona came to the Arizona border to participate in the Border Health Learning Institute (BHSLI.) One of several training opportunities that focus on practice in Arizona and Sonora’s rural border communities, BHSLI is a credit bearing course offered at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. (UA MEZCOPH)

 This year’s itenerary included trips to Willcox, Arizona, where students participated with community members in “Farmworker Appreciation Day.” They visited the Secretaria de Salud in Agua Prieta, where they also met with Mexican Coordinator of Frontera de Cristo, Rosario Jocabed Gallegos Viesca. Frontera de Cristo is a Presbyterian ministry that provides health education and other services to migrant workers on both sides of the border, and works to foster “relationships and understanding across borders.”

 The students participated in a community dinner sponsored by SEAHEC at Café Justo y Más in Agua Prieta, where they met with local community partners and the Mexican Consul, Jorge Ernesto Espejel Montes.

 They also visited with the Youth Coalition of Cochise Health and Social Services, and spent a day in Naco, Sonora where they provided health education services at a local health fair that drew 500 participants.

 SEAHEC collaborates with universities and community partners to provide exciting opportunities for learning and exploration for future health professionals through our Student Training Opportunities Program (SSTOP). We also provide placement services and support to medical, pharmacy, public health, dental and nursing students to help them complete clinical and community rotations in rural border communities. For more information about SEAHEC’s Student Training Opportunities, contact Program Coordinator, Erin Sol, esol@seahec.org

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SEAHEC Hosts Lupus Training in Tucson

Dr. Bridget Walsh, Rheumatologist

Dr. Bridget Walsh, Rheumatologist

Tucson – Thursday, August 11th, 2016
Health providers met with Rheumatologist Bridget Walsh, DO at El Rio Community Center’s El Pueblo Clinic last month to discuss the latest in Lupus diagnosis and treatment. The Tucson event was sponsored by SEAHEC, with support from the National AHEC Organization (NAO) and the American College of Rheumatology’s Lupus Initiative. SEAHEC is a member of the National AHEC Organization, and NAO had selected only 3 partner sites in the U.S. – SEAHEC being one of the three chosen to participate, due to our region’s proportionately larger Hispanic/Latino population.

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