Sharing News on Border Health Issues
In October, SEAHEC Director Gail Emrick & Student Training Opportunities Program Coordinator Erin Sol traveled coast to coast to share SEAHEC’s successes in border health workforce development. They first traveled to New York City to the Arnold Institute for Global Health , at the invitation of Mt. Sinai University’s Ichan School of Medicine. where they gave a presentation on border health issues. The presentation provided an overview of how SEAHEC works to improve access to healthcare in rural border communities through health workforce programming. For nearly a decade, students from Mt. Sinai have been coming to Nogales every spring to work with SEAHEC on border health issues.
Ms. Emrick spoke to a group of about 40 students enrolled in the the Global Health program at Mt. Sinai University. She provided an overview of SEAHEC’s core programs: Future Health Leaders, Health Professions Student Training Opportunities and Continuing Education/Continuing Medical Education that make up SEAHEC’s “Healthcare Workforce Pipeline.”
After providing an overview of US Mexico border health issues and SEAHEC’s priorities for addressing them, Ms. Emrick elaborated on the key factors that make the US Mexico border unique in border regions worldwide. There are vast number of people living and working along this 1,954 mile long international border, with 61,637,146 on the US side and 12,246,991 on the Mexican side, according to the US Mexico Border Health Commission The region sees over $200 billion in two-way commerce that sustains 15 sister cities and much of the US southwest economy. After observing highlights of previous Mt. Sinai student experiences with SEAHEC at the border, the students expressed much interest in learning about future service and internship opportunities.
Taking advantage of the New York visit, SEAHEC went to the Manhattan / Staten Island AHEC (MSIAHEC) where Executive Director Mary Marshall and colleagues graciously met them.
“We learned so much about the similarities and differences between SEAHEC and the New York City AHEC staff, it was fascinating to see where they work, how they work and how many of our challenges are similar,” Ms. Emrick said.
“Specifically, we share an ongoing challenge of identifying primary care providers to serve in their under resourced communities,” she added.
SEAHEC and MSIAHEC also support similar training initiatives like services earnings and shared ideas on inter-professional training. “It was a wonderfully enriching experience,” Ms. Emrick said.
SEAHEC Participates in National Collaboration to Address Health Disparities
After two days in New York, Ms. Emrick flew on to Los Angeles to participate in a strategic planning session for the US Health and Human Services Department (HHS) Office of Minority Health Pacific and Southwest Regional Health Equity Council, known as RHEC IX. The nine Regional Health Equity Councils (RHECs) are independent non-governmental organizations representing in nine US geographic regions. which make up HHS service areas. Each council comprises leaders and stakeholders from both non-federal public and private sectors from within that region.
Being a member of the Council requires a high level of responsibility, participating in monthly calls, serving on work committees, and collaborating at a regional and national level to address disparities in access to health care. In particular, Ms. Emrick serves on a committee that is preparing a textbook which will showcase models for promoting health equity.
“It is truly an honor to serve on this Health Equity Council, together with some of the most dedicated, hard-working health professionals around. We share issues, ideas and initiatives”, reported Ms. Emrick after attending the recent meeting. For more information on the Regional Health Equity Council’s, visit these sites: www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/npa OR http://region9.npa-rhec.org