A few weeks ago I blogged about the June plenary session of the Arizona Mexico Commission called Arizona & Sonora: Gateway for Innovation.  The conference provided an opportunity to move forward a bi-national agenda supported by Arizona and Sonora.  The health committee discussed regional approaches to valley fever surveillance, burn patient infrastructure, substance abuse, TB, border first aid services and Sonora’s upcoming efforts to provide licensing and quality assurance services for assisted living in Sonora (and how we can partner with them as they set up their program).

 A couple of weeks ago I was in Washington DC working on another border partnership called the US-Mexico Border Health Commission.  The Commission was created in July 2000 and is comprised of the federal secretaries of health, the health officers of the 10 border states and appointed community health professionals from both nations. The Commission provides a unique opportunity to bring together the two countries and its border states to solve border health problems.

 Each year the Commission establishes strategic objectives.  This year’s priority areas include TB, physical activity and nutrition, infectious disease and public health emergencies, access to care, data collection, and academic alliances.  We develop action items for each of the strategic objectives.  Through the Commission, each of our border states are able to directly communicate with our respective federal agencies so that we can better align federal priorities with our border strategic objectives.  A couple of weeks ago we were able to meet with several sub-cabinet agency decision-makers as well as several members of the House of Representatives and made real progress toward synchronizing federal policy with our strategic objectives for the border.