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NEWS // November 5, 2014

Binational Border Health Week

The 14th Annual Binational Health Week (BHW) inauguration took place on October 6, 2014 at the Consulate General of Mexico. The week included more than 70 community activities to improve the health of Latinos living in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Latino population is the fastest growing minority group in the United States, and at the same time one of the most vulnerable in terms of access to health care services and health outcomes. BHW was created 14 years ago with the hope of increasing awareness and improving health equity in the Latino community.

As part of the County of San Diego’s Live Well San Diego Initiative, BHW supports healthy, safe and thriving communities for all county residents. Several Health & Human Services Agency departments were involved in the planning of this month’s activities including Behavioral Health Services and Public Health Services (PHS).

The second annual “Walk for Health,” organized by the Mexican Consulate and the County of San Diego Office of Border Health, took place after the inauguration. By walking together in the name of health, participants demonstrated their strong commitment toward improving health of vulnerable populations. County executives and the California Office of Binational Border Health Advisory Group members congratulated the event organizers, acknowledging the event’s significant contributions in health promotion, disease prevention and direct service provision among Latinos living in the United States.

The Leaders Across Borders three-day graduation kicked off with a speech on leadership and health diplomacy. A few days later, leaders from both sides of the U.S. - Mexico border were present to accept three recognitions awarded to Ventanillas de Salud, a first of its kind event.
County officials recognized Ventanillas de Salud for their support of the County’s Live Well San Diego initiative and for their outstanding service, leadership, and commitment to the health and safety of the children and families they serve. The day was declared Ventanillas de Salud Day. The Mexican Consulate’s Ventanillas de Salud Program was then recognized as a Public Health Champion by the County’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, for their service and dedication to the Latino community in San Diego.  She thanked them for their partnership and the importance of the program’s role in raising awareness and providing health education on diseases that affect the Latino population such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and nutrition, among others. Finally, Ventanillas de Salud’s was recognized with the first ever Binational Live Well San Diego Champion Award for their commitment to the vision of a healthy, safe and thriving community.

The Ventanillas de Salud is a program of the Government of Mexico developed by the Department of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented through 50 Mexican consulates in the United States and local health organizations.

The event concluded with an official closing of Border Binational Health Week.