HRSA Programs on the Border
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports programs that promote access to health care services for underserved and vulnerable populations, including individuals living along the U.S.–Mexico border.
Healthy Border 2010 aims to improve the quality of life, increase the number of years of healthy life, and eliminate health disparities. Four objectives focusing on the health and wellness of women are to:
- Reduce the female breast cancer mortality rate by 20 percent;
- Reduce the cervical cancer mortality rate by 30 percent;
- Increase the proportion of mothers receiving prenatal care in the first trimester to 85 percent; and
- Reduce the adolescent (15–17 years of age) pregnancy rate by 33 percent.
HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) manages the HRSA Border Health Initiative. ORHP assists rural communities in strengthening health care services by supporting programs that aim to improve the recruitment and retention of health professionals and eliminate health disparities. In a collaborative effort, ORHP, the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health, and the Rural Policy Research Institute developed the Rural Assistance Center. The RAC is a Web-based resource that assists residents along the U.S.–Mexico border in locating and competing for funding opportunities that address the health care needs and challenges of their communities. ORHP’s Border Health Initiative also works closely with the U.S.–Mexico Border Health Commission (BHC), which is composed of the U.S. and Mexican secretaries of health, the chief health officers of the 10 border States, and prominent community health professionals from both nations. The mission of the BHC is to provide international leadership to optimize health and quality of life along the U.S.–Mexico border.
HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) currently funds six Healthy Start grantees along the U.S.–Mexico border. Healthy Start programs work to bring women into prenatal care early in their pregnancies, reducing infant mortality rates and low birth weights, while working to eliminate health disparities related to pregnancies. The six grantees are located in each of the four U.S. border States and utilize promotoras to provide support and guidance to the community; this model has been shown to work particularly well in border projects where program participants and the communities at large are faced with a variety of unique challenges and barriers. The HRSA Office of Women’s Health has also translated several of its preventive health publications under the Bright Futures for Women’s Health and Wellness Initiative to reach more Spanish speaking women.
Other HRSA Offices and Bureaus contribute to accomplishing the mission and vision of HRSA on the U.S.–Mexico border through a myriad of programs and initiatives. The Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) supports Area Health Education Centers and Centers of Excellence, including the U.S.–Mexico Border Health Centers of Excellence Consortium. The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) delivers primary care services through a variety of Community Health Centers and Migrant Health Centers. The HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) funds Ryan White Parts A–F including Special Programs of National Significance, AIDS Education and Training Centers, Dental Programs, and the Minority AIDS Initiative.