I just got back from this year’s (30th annual) United States-Mexico Border Governor’s Conference in Albuquerque- called “Energize Our Borders”. It was an opportunity to further strengthen the ties of friendship, security, and economic prosperity among the 10 states that comprise our United States-Mexico border region. The Conference is made up of 7 worktables including Agriculture and Livestock; Competitiveness; Sustainable Development; Education; Logistics and International Crossings; Health and Emergency Management; and Border Security.
As part of my job, I’m your delegate to the Health and Emergency Management Worktable. I worked with my counterpart and good friend, Dr. Bernardo Campillo, the Secretario de SaludPublica, for Sonora (along with delegates from the other 8 states) this week on action items for our 3 joint recommendations:
- Strengthen our relationship with the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission in order to better target the prevention of obesity among children and adolescents and to leverage their knowledge and experience in identifying best practices and promote them in the region.
- Explore methods for program outreach and development related to reducing substance abuse through prevention and treatment programs and improving knowledge on healthy living; reducing vehicular childhood injuries; and highlighting opportunities to promote Medical Tourism.
- Work with our federal authorities to establish a framework to support cross-border emergency mutual aid, and provide for the cooperation of states, counties and cities during emergencies and natural disasters.
We’ll execute the joint recommendations over the next year using specific action items. For example: Arizona and Sonora have been focusing on reducing vehicular childhood injuries by exploring how we could use the Safe Kids model bi-nationally, since Safe Kids Mexico now exists and is actively looking at how to develop their state programs. Thursday I gave a presentation about how we use Safe Kids here in Arizona and perhaps how the work that Arizona and Sonora is doing could be used as a model for the other states along the border.