The impact of COVID-19 has challenged border communities who were already working to improve their region’s social determinants of health — conditions where people live, learn, work, and play that affect their health and quality of life.
On May 19, the one-day, online conference, “COVID-19 and Social Determinants of Health: Impact on the Border,” 8:30–11:30 a.m., will bring together decision makers, health officials, educators, and researchers to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on health, research, and education in the border region.
Senator Mark Kelly is the event keynote speaker, with introductory comments by Victor Waddell, director of the Arizona Biomedical Research Centre, and Regents’ Professor Robert T. Trotter II, Northern Arizona University’s Department of Anthropology and the Center for Health Equity Research.
The event is part of the sixth annual Arizona Biomedical Research Centre’s four-part educational series through Northern Arizona University’s Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) and organized by Northern Arizona University-Yuma, Regional Center for Border Health, Inc, CHER, and the Arizona Telemedicine Program. The conference includes U.S. and Mexican professionals and will offer attendees English and Spanish channel options.
“We in Yuma County are committed to continuing to improve health equity through a collective community action by facilitating this years’ forum addressing the social determinants of health challenges as a result of COVID-19 epidemic impact on our sister cities border communities,” said Amanda Aguirre, president and chief executive officer of the Regional Center for Border Health, Inc.
The event will also include three panel discussions: “San Luis RC/Yuma County COVID 19 Impact on the Border/ Social Determinants of Health”; “Education’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in the US-Mexico Border Region: Lessons Learned”; and “Research Updates and Strategies.”
San Luis Río Colorado (Sonora, Mexico)/Yuma County (Arizona) COVID 19 Impact on the Border/ Social Determinants of Health
Moderated by Alex Bajarano, public relations and community liaison, Regional Center for Border Health, Inc., the panel will address the social determinants of health and how COVID-19 has affected San Luis Río Colorado and Yuma County.
Panelists are Marco A. Wakamatzu, Director Secretaría de Salud Pública, San Luis RC, Sonora, Mexico; Diana Gomez, director, Yuma County Health Services District; Robert Guerrero, chief, Office of Border Health Office of the Assistant Director Division of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs, ADHS; Joe K. Gerald, associate professor and program director, Public Health Policy & Management, Community, Environment & Policy Department, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona; and Amit Kumar, assistant professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training.
Education’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in the US-Mexico Border Region: Lessons Learned
Facilitated by Michael Sabath, associate vice president and campus executive officer of the NAU Yuma campus, and Linda Elliott-Nelson, Strategic Partnerships/Vinculacion, Arizona Western College, the panel will feature Efrain Silva, dean of Economic and Workforce Development, Imperial Valley College, Imperial, California; Juan Gabriel Haro Beltran, director, Promotion of Quality Management, Secretary of Education, Baja, Mexico.
Experts will discuss COVID-19 and its impact socially and educationally on students, and its impact on the instructional delivery system on both sides of the border. Panelists include Tom Tyree, Yuma County superintendent of schools ; Lorena Zendejas, campus administrator, RCBH/College of Health Careers; Licenciada Yara Amparo López López, coordinator, State Educational System, Binational Migrant Education Program, Baja, Mexico.
Research Updates and Strategies
Aguirre will moderate Research Updates and Strategies along with Trotter. Aguirre’s organization supports vital programs in the community and offers community outreach programs, such as the Youth Summer Program Nuestros Niños, Well Woman HealthCheck Program, Asthma Camp, Mobile Unit, Promotoras Conference, and Support Groups.
The “Research Updates and Strategies” panel will feature Paul E. Brierley, executive director, Yuma Center of Excellence in Desert Agriculture; Joshua LaBaer, executive director and professor, The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University; Samantha Sabo, associate professor at NAU’s Center for Health Equity Research, NAU; and David Engelthaler, director of programs and operations, Pathogen Genomics Division, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
The final general session will feature Russell A. Bennett, consultant and former vice-president of Latino Health Solutions, United Healthcare, who will speak on “A Call to Action: Health Literacy and Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) at the Border.”
For a full description, schedule and speaker biographies, visit COVID-19 and Social Determinants of Health: Impact on the Border website.