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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Border health minor gets started at NMSU

The growing need for people who specialize in health problems along the United States-Mexico border has driven the development of an academic minor focusing on border health issues now offered by the College of Health and Social Services at New Mexico State University.

al community health centers only want to hire people who know the border," said Jeffrey Brandon, dean of health and social services. "In order to meet our state's needs, we have to train in border health."

"This is important because of our location," said Steve Arnold, department head for NMSU's health science department. "People who want to work along the border need this specialized training."

Arnold said there are very few people trained in border health issues and this new opportunity will give NMSU students an edge in seeking community health positions in this region.

Brandon said this minor, along with programs at the Dona Ana Branch Community College including an associate of applied science in public health, are pipelines to the ultimate goal of graduating more students with doctorates who want to work on border health issues.

Basic health problems such as proper disposal of waste water and solid refuse as well as much higher incidents of diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy are only a few of the health issues that plague the U.S.-Mexico border.

Two courses for the minor will be offered at NMSU as part of the distance education program during the first summer session.

Border Health Issues (HLS469-S/MPH 586-S), a required course for the minor, is a student-centered, problem-based learning course that includes participation in the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association Annual Meeting to be held at NMSU May 30-June 1.

International Practicum (HLS 466-S/MPH 566-S) is an elective course for the minor and includes a two-week trip to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. A passport is required for course registration. The practicum will be led by Hugo Vilchis, who is coordinator of the Border Epidemiology and Environmental Health Center.

Although most of the students participating in the minor courses are majoring in fields such as health science, social work and nursing, the minor is available to any interested student.

"Because many are interested in working on the border after graduation, we expect close to one-fourth of the health science majors to minor in border health," Arnold said. "We are getting more people from out of state that want to come to NMSU because they are interested in border health issues."

The courses have a higher tuition rate to cover extra expenses. The border health issues course is a three-credit course costing $450, which includes the conference registration fee. Registration for this course is possible through May 29.

The international practicum, also a three-credit course, costs $1,050. The course fee includes transportation and hotel expenses in Mexico for two weeks. Meals are not included. Registration for this course is possible through June 4.

Students wanting to register for the courses must do so in person at the weekend college in Academic Research Building B, Room 106, on the NMSU campus.