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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Health and environmental issues focus of new partnership

Health and environmental problems facing border communities are the focus of a recently approved memorandum of understanding between the city of Sunland Park and New Mexico State University's Border Epidemiology and Environmental Health Center (BEC).

eration with the New Mexico Border Health Office, BEC will assist Sunland Park in assessment, evaluation and improvement of binational Emergency Medical Services, expansion of a binational mosquito surveillance program and planning for terrorism preparedness.

Although this is the first official agreement with a community, BEC has worked with Palomas, Columbus and Deming to address similar issues, said Dr. Hugo Vilchis, director of BEC.

"I am looking forward to a positive and cooperative arrangement that will bring the university closer to local border communities," Vilchis said. "Solutions are not simple and require collaboration and sharing of resources for effective interventions."

The three-year agreement will bring together the combined resources of the city and BEC to identify health and environmental issues important to the community. The city will provide facilities, materials and administrative support. BEC professional staff will assist Sunland Park by providing consultation and technical support including environmental surveillance, health planning, needs assessments and resource development. As part of the agreement, BEC plans to eventually assign graduate students to assist in health and environmental projects.

Funds from the U.S./Mexico Border Health Commission will assist in program development, including $60,000 for a promotional campaign aimed at decreasing mosquito-borne illnesses and $35,000 to study the possibility of a binational EMS.

For more information call BEC at (505) 646-7966.