On Thursday Aug 1, 2019 the Arizona Rural Health Association recognized SEAHEC’s Healthy Farms Program for our work with the Winchester Heights community. SEAHEC Executive Director Gail Emrick accepted the award at the Arizona Rural Health Conference in Flagstaff.
SEAHEC has developed a community health worker driven development model that can be adapted by other rural border communities. Public health outcomes are closely linked to infrastructure. People who live in substandard housing with old plumbing are likely to face health risks, such as contaminated drinking water, or life threatening fires. If communities have no space for assembly, or a mechanism for managing resources, the likelihood of developing public health supporting infrastructure is slim. By helping people establish key infrastructure that fosters civic engagement, communities can gain the momentum they need overcome long standing barriers to health and safety.
Recruiting health care providers to serve in rural Arizona should soon get easier. In May 2019, the State of Arizona passed an $8 million initiative to support the University of Arizona Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix. A portion of that funding is expected to provide scholarships for up to 100 “students who commit to practice primary care or another designated critical-access specialty in rural or urban underserved communities in Arizona,” according to the university’s website. Arizona ranks 44th (of all 50 states) in active Primary Care Physicians per capita, over a quarter of whom are planning to retire in the next five years. Currently, Arizona is only meeting about 40% of its need for providers. In rural areas, the need is greater. For example, 98% of Cochise County is rated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), according to the Arizona Center for Rural Health. Arizona needs to add 853 active practitioners statewide to its roles to remove the HPSA designation. By 2030, that number will climb to 1,900. As the cost of education rises, student debt has become a major obstacle to attracting young health care providers to rural communities. The University of Arizona Primary Care Physician… Continue reading
Brenda Olivia Sanchez has come on board as our new Border/Binational Program Coordinator. In 2018 Brenda graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in Public Health and a BA in Spanish Translation and Interpretation. During her senior year, Brenda came to SEAHEC as an intern from September 2018 to May 2019. In June, 2019, she came on as a new program coordinator. Brenda oversees SEAHEC programs related to health issues and services along the borderlands. Continue reading
Last summer, (2019) SEAHEC and the University of Arizona’s (UA) Health Sciences Center, piloted the first ever inter-professional course to focus on migration. The seven week course, called Migration Inter-professional Leading to Action and Growth (MILAGRO) was a great success, and we have launched a fall course, now in progress, expanded to include twice as many students and participation of the Arizona State University College of Social Work. The fall cohort includes two medical students, one social work student, three public health students, four nursing students and four pharmacy students. Continue reading
Due to the overwhelming success and positive feedback from 2018 AHEC Scholars, SEAHEC & The University of Arizona (UA) Health Sciences Colleges, hosted a second annual integrated AHEC Scholars/Binational Interprofessional Service Learning Experience (BISLE). Continue reading
Since the Winchester Community Center was inaugurated last summer, the community’s transformation has been remarkable. A fenced playground, a soccer field, a sturdy, bright blue building in the center of the neighborhood, have become a magnet and generator of social activity.
Once known for its lack of infrastructure and services, Winchester Heights now hosts a wide variety of activities at the new community center.
I was honored to be invited to intern with SEAHEC because of my interest in boarder health and immigration policy. I helped out with communications through creating letters, a brochure, photographs and this article. The time that Gail offered me, as a mentor, has inspired me to examine how my career path could help solve the challenges facing our communities. I am so thankful to have had hands-on experiences with leaders addressing these issues and staff dedicated to the mission of SEAHEC. Continue reading