Elena Quintanar, Community Health Promotion Specialist II, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency – Central Region
March 8, 2019 marks the 108th International Women's Day. What started as a day for women to appeal for rights, including the right to vote, has become a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women worldwide. Two accomplished women who have been instrumental in building the capacity of health leaders on both sides of the US-Mexico border are Dr. Gudelia Rangel Gómez and Dr. Cecilia Rosales.
Dr. Rangel Gómez currently serves as Deputy General Director for Migrants Health from the Mexican Ministry of Health as well as the Executive Secretary of the U.S.-México Border Health Commission, Mexico Section. Dr. Rosales is the Associate Dean and a professor at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health – Phoenix campus. Through their extensive experience working on border health issues, both women have produced innovative and creative strategies for strengthening the public health infrastructure in the U.S.-Mexico Border region.
As participants in Leaders Across Borders, a leadership program for public health professionals from the US-Mexico Border States, they have worked with other regional health leaders to collaborate on binational public health issues to increase the quality of life for vulnerable populations in the border region. Participants learn about health diplomacy and binational collaboration, obtaining knowledge of their personal strengths as leaders, improving their appreciation of border populations and public healthcare systems by reaching sustainable solutions through teamwork. Over 100 health professionals have graduated from the program, helping to increase the capacity of binational leadership and improve the health of the border region.
Leaders Across Borders has also been an opportunity to strengthen international partnerships among professionals here in the San Diego region. Barbara Jiménez is Director, Central and South Regions for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.
Barbara Jiménez (middle) with Dr. Rangel Gómez (left) and Dr. Rosales (right).
As a Leaders Across Borders participant, Jiménez partnered with Dr. Rangel Gómez and Dr. Rosales to engage in a binational effort to expand the County of San Diego’s Love Your Heart campaign across the US-Mexico border. Love Your Heart is an annual event in which organizations join together to provide free blood pressure screenings to the public on Valentine's Day, February 14.
“As part of our efforts to engage and inform the communities we serve, the Love Your Heart-Ama Tu Corazon initiative is an important binational movement that reaches many of our hard to reach communities about preventing heart diseases and other chronic conditions,” shared Dr. Rangel Gómez.
The U.S. - México Border Health Commission, Mexico Section has coordinated Mexico’s participation in the Love Your Heart Campaign for the last five years with outstanding results. In 2018, nearly 28,000 people received free blood pressure screenings across 135 sites across Mexico.