In August, SEAHEC hosted 32 health professions students from both sides of the border who came together to learn about border health disparities and communities in Ambos Nogales. SEAHEC’s first Inter-professional Binational Border Health Service Learning Immersion drew students from the University of Arizona Colleges of Public Health, Nursing, Medicine and Pharmacy, in Tucson, as well as students from Mexican institutions, including La Universidad del Valle de Mexico Hermosillo Campus, La Universidad Kino and El Centro de Investigacíon en Alimentacíon y Desarrollo A. C. (CIAD,) in Mexico.
On Friday Aug. 14th students arrived at the Quality Hotel Americana in Nogales, Az. Gail Emrick, SEAHECs Executive Director, welcomed them and gave a presentation on the Legacy of Colonialism. Following Gail’s presentation students participated in a discussion on local health issues and life in the border region, provided by a panel of health providers and community health workers from both sides of the border.
On Friday afternoon, students formed six teams to explore life in the community of Ambos Nogales. Learning experiences included:
- A visit to the local Community Gardens to learn about the impact of sustainable agriculture on health. Jason Botz, avid gardner and Garden volunteer discussed the variety foods community members grow, and engaged students in helping clean up the garden.
- Painting the Learning Center’s conference room with coordinator Gloria Kirkpatrick.
- Helping the PYLT (Positive Youth Leadership Team) with their program, Step Up, an anti-bullying program designed to promote adolescent wellness and reduce bullying in schools in Santa Cruz County.
- Organizing a health information fair at the Nogales Mercado/Farmer’s Market with Santos Yescas. The Farmers’ Market guided students in teaching about healthy recipes. Arizona Dept. of Health Services (AzADHS) directed students with information on dengue prevention and Mariposa Community Health Center had staff available to answer oral health issues.
Saturday morning students and faculty traveled to Nogales Sonora to the Rosarito, Son. Community Center, where they held a health fair that drew 40 community members. The students staffed six stations to provide information on oral hygiene, prevention of pediculosis, postural defect and chronic disease detection, nutrition, stress management and proper pet care. Local agencies provided demonstrations on creating arts and crafts with recycled items, face painting and information on local resources for addressing teen health issues including, domestic violence and drug abuse prevention.
On Sunday students wrapped up their week of immersion by providing a community presentation on what they had learned. Participants included health care providers and the Mayor of Nogales. During the presentations the students reflected on their new knowledge of life on both sides of the border, in which they shared their experiences and future plans with the community.
Partners in this effort include: Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC), Mariposa Community Health Center-Platicamos Salud, the University Of Arizona College Of Public Health, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy and Sonora’s Universidad del Valle – Hermosillo Campus, Universidad Kino, and CIAD.