Quarterly Bulletin

Summer 2016

Rocio Gastelum, of Nogales High School Future Health Leaders Club.

Rocio is the winner of SEAHEC's 2016 Karen Halverson Scholarship Award. We are so proud of you, Rocio!

 Rocio is a member of the Nogales High School Future Health Leaders Club. She plans to study Physiology at the University of Arizona. Congratulations, Rocio!

Rocio Gastelum

Photo courtesy of Mariposa Community Health Center

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One of SEAHEC's most inspiring youth activities are the annual week-long Future Health Leaders Summer Camps. We organize two camps, one sponsored by the Tohono O'odham Nation, and the other sponsored by the Arizona Area Health Education Center.

Summer Camps are packed with exciting opportunities to explore health careers, develop friendships and leadership skills, prepare for college, and learn about the latest advances in the healthcare industry. Our 2016 AHEC FHL Summer Camp ran from June 12-18, and the Tohono O'odham Summer Camp ran from June 20-26.

Tohono O'odham Summer Camp

The Tohono O'odham Future Health Leaders Summer Camp provides an exploration of health careers in the context of Tohono O'odham cultural heritage. This year's Camp took the students from the Tohono O'odham Community College (TOCC) Campus to the University of Arizona Medical College, and back again. The students explored a number of topics related to practicing as a health professional in the Tohono O'odham Community.

 On the first day, the students received an orientation to camp, and moved into the TOCC dorms where they would be based during Camp week. On Tuesday, They learned about "Healthy Living" by examining aspects of our food system, which included a trip to the local Garden Kitchen. They finished off the day with traditional games.

 On Wednesday, the students toured Indian Health Services Hospital, build a Wato, a traditional structure to provide shade, and participated in a leadership building activity. On Thursday, the students visited the University of Arizona Medical College, which included a trip to the Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center, which provides collaborative learning opportunities for health professions students and health professionals. On Friday, the students earned their CPR/First Aid certification and participated in a service learning activity at the Tohono O'odham Archie Hendricks, Sr. Skilled Nursing Facility. On the final day of Camp, the students invited friends and family to join them in a Goodbye Dinner, where they presented their findings,and career aspirations to the community.

AHEC FHL Summer Camp

The students who participated in the AHEC FHL Camp were from the SEAHEC, NAHEC GVAHEC AND EAHEC* regions and spent the week at the University of Arizona campus to get a taste of campus life. The key themes at Camp this year were building bonds, medical biology, community service, and college success. Orientation included a campus tour, activities to "break the ice," and a session where students set down their rules of conduct for the week. On Monday, the students earned their Heart Savers CPR Certification, visited the local planetarium, and explored rock climbing, as an example of health, building physical activity.

Tuesday the students participated in a panel on life in medical school, and a trip to the ASTEC lab, and tours of the UA hospital, and the colleges of Pharmacy, Medicine and Nursing.  On Wednesday, the students visited the Tucson Desert Museum and participated in learning sessions on Behavioral Health and the role of animals in therapy. Thursday, students volunteered at the local food bank, and spent the afternoon exploring topics in Public Health, and building leadership skills. On Friday, the MEDSTART students gave a presentation, after which the students learned about financial aid and the offerings of the UA Campus. On the final day, the students presented a public service announcement, which they had developed earlier in the week, to campus staff and parents.

* AHEC is an acronym for Area Health Education Centers - Arizona has five AHEC regions. SEAHEC is the Southeast Arizona AHEC.

 Students from Focusing Research on the Border Area (FRONTERA) came to SEAHEC on Thursday, July 7th, to help with the  "Fight the Bite" Campaign, an Arizona Department of Health effort to prevent mosquito borne illness.  The students were given an overview of border health issues by SEAHEC Executive Director, Gail Emrick, who welcomed the students to Nogales at SEAHEC, their first stop on the day-long tour. The students also participated in a discussion on epidemiology before heading out to canvas the neighborhoods of Ambos Nogales.

SEAHEC has been involved in AZDHS efforts to stem the spread of mosquito borne illnesses like Dengue and Zika viruses since last year, when our Future Health Leaders Club students laid the ground work for this summer's community education campaign. As part of their community service learning project, FHL students assisted the Arizona Department of Health Services to document  existence of Aedes Aegypti mosquito larvae, that transmit an array of preventable illnesses.  The students trapped and documented mosquitoes, and counted larvae in the Nogales area, and shared their findings with AzDHS and the Santa Cruz County epidemiologist. They also led a local awareness campaign, and in January, SEAHEC presented the students findings at the  US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Child health and Environment Conference in San Diego

The FRONTERA students continued the campaign started by our FHL students. They canvassed the neighborhoods of Ambos Nogales  providing information about how to prevent the spread of mosquitoes that carry disease. To learn more about how to protect yourself from mosquito borne illnesses,please visit Arizona Department of Health. The Nogales International covered the story in June. 

AzCHOW Celebrates Workforce Diversity

The Arizona Community Health Workers Association (AzCHOW)  held their 13th annual training conference  in Tucson on June, 16-17 2016, and it was a resounding success. Held at the Tucson University Marriott Park Hotel, the two day conference drew more than  240 community health workers, supervisors and supporters. The theme of the conference was "Celebrating the Diversity of the CHW Workforce."  The conference featured a variety of topics, chief among them were a panel on CHW workforce diversity, and a workshop on CHW Supervisor communication skills.

Among the conference participants were members of our Healthy Farms Community Health Worker Team from Winchester Heights.

Panelists who provided information about their unique roles as CHWs  in  "Recognizing the Diversity of the CHW Workforce"  included Katherine Sisto, a Community Health Representative for the San Carlos Apache Tribe. Ms. Sisto participated in SEAHEC's Arizona Healthy Hearts Initiative in 2013, by training to become one of our Healthy Hearts master trainers. Also on the panel was Berta Carbajal, of Phoenix, who leads the Phoenix based promotora HOPE Network, and has championed community health workers for decades. Ms. Carbajal was also recognized on Friday, by the membership, with the Joel Meister award, AzCHOW's top award for outstanding service as a CHW.

AzCHOW Vice President, Lorena Verdugo, of Tucson talked about her work with the Ventanillas de Salud, a program developed by the Mexican Department of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with community agencies to provide reliable health information, counseling and referrals to Mexicans living in the border region. Ms. Verdugo is a Community Health Navigator at El Rio Community Health Center in Tucson.

Vidal Ramirez, Behavioral Health Outreach Specialist for CENPATICO Integrated Care, provided information on the benefits community members reap as a result of a recent merger between Cenpatico, Arizona and University of Arizona Health Network. The merger is part of a larger movement to bring consumer oriented health care to Arizona, as a result of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, coloquially known as "Obama Care"

Among the highlights of the conference was a workshop given by Noel Wiggins and Leticia Rodriguez Garcia, from the Community Capacitation Center at Multnoma County Health Department in Portland Oregon. Participants explored ways for CHW supervisors to improve communication and supervision strategies to bring the best out of their CHW teams.