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.
In Nogales, Sonora, the students visited a factory that makes all-terrain wheel chairs, learned to make papercrete, a sustainable building product made from recycled paper and cement that combines insulation factors and affordability, and helped out in a combination pet neutering & child immunization clinic. The students found what they dubbed a culture of “flexibility and ingenuity,” in the “Ambos Nogales”
in those who respond to public health needs with limited resources, and growing health care needs.
They ended their tour with a pledge to share their knowledge, and recommendations for public health care policy: “Emphasis on root causes of migration to better living conditions in home countries; redirect funding stream from border security; continued inter-organizational collaborations; Micro-level recommendations: health education, projects – “we’d like to get involved in helping projects going on here like the wheelchair shop.”