The recent US/Mexico Binational Health Leadership Summit on October 13-14 successfully brought together leadership from the University of Arizona, the Zuckerman College of Public Health, and several Mexican government agencies to coordinate and advance collaboration among many health-related programs, all towards the goal of improving public health services in both countries and along the US/Mexico border.
Dr. Cecilia Rosales leads officials to explore the Binational Health Fair as part of the event.
Guided by the leadership and coordination of Cecilia Rosales, MD, MS, Associate Dean for Phoenix Programs at the Zuckerman College of Public Health, the college hosted the US/Mexico Binational Health Leadership Summit on October 13-14 at the college’s Phoenix Campus on the UArizona’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The meeting was scheduled to coincide with and celebrate Binational Health Week XXI, an annual event recognized now for more than twenty years by health service providers in both the United States and Mexico.
The Summit brought together more than 150 participants, including leadership from both countries and the University of Arizona, among them UArizona President Robert C. Robbins, Mexican Ambassador to the United States Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, and the Secretaries of Health from all the Mexican border states (see the full list of officials below). The Summit also convened leadership from the Ventanillas de Salud program and the US-Mexico Border Health Commission, and was coordinated with the Ministry of Health of Mexico, the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, and the Phoenix Consulate Office of Mexico. Across the many meetings and panel discussions that took place as part of the Summit event, participants advanced plans for existing and future collaboration on binational and border health issues.
To start the Summit, officials spoke about commitments and collaborative programs.
In a widely anticipated and appreciated change, Ambassador Barragán announced that the national headquarters for the Ventanillas de Salud (VDS) program will move from New York City to the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix. Further, the UArizona signed a Memorandum of Understanding that partners the Zuckerman College of Public Health with the VDS program to help advise and coordinate VDS services in Phoenix, AZ, and co-coordinate the other VDS locations. The Ventanillas de Salud program, coordinated through the 51 Consulates of Mexico located throughout the United States, promotes health services and health literacy among low-income migrant and immigrant Latin American populations in partnership with community organizations and federal and state agencies.
In addition to the good news about the VDS program, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation announced it awarded $2.5 million to the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership which will work in partnership with Ventanillas de Salud to increase COVID-19 support for Hispanic communities in the United States.
All together, the Summit meetings affirmed participants collective commitment to a range of public health programs that benefit both nations and the border region. The in-person event, coming after many months of fighting the COVID-19 crisis in both countries, brought new hope and determination for healthcare leaders on both sides of the border. And because the pandemic highlighted the health disparities experienced by so many communities, the Summit provided a welcome opportunity to renew our collaborative focus on better health services and education for communities in need.
Officials in Attendance:
- Mtro. Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States
- Dr. Robert Robbins, President, University of Arizona
- Martha Leticia Caballero Abraham, Director General for International Affairs, Ministry of Health of Mexico
- Dra. Gloria Molina Gamboa, Secretary of Health, State of Tamauilpas, Mexico
- Dr. Roberto Bernal Gómez, Secretary of Health, State of Coahuila, Mexico
- Dr. Alonso Perez Rico, Secretary of Health, State of Baja California, Mexico
- Dr. José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Secretary of Health, State of Sonora, Mexico (represented by Dr. Humberto Santiago Ramos)
- Dr. Acxel Martinez Murguia, representing Secretary of Health, State of Chihuahua, Mexico
- Dra. Alma Rosa Marroquin Escamilla, Secretary of Health, State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico
- Luis Gutierrez Reyes, Director of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad
- Dra. Gudelia Rangel, Executive Director, Mexico Section of the US-Mexico Border Health Commission
- Dr. Dan Derksen, Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Outreach, and Interprofessional Activities; Director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health, University of Arizona
- Justin Dutram, Assistant Vice President, Mexico and Latin American Initiatives, UArizona Global
- Marc Miller, Dean, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona
- Dr. Cecilia Rosales, Associate Dean of Community Engagement and Outreach and Phoenix Programs, Phoenix Campus, Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona