Universities connect to improve health care for Latina/os

By By Nathan Storey and By Nathan Storey

By Nathan Storey

Nurses, doctors, students and a consulate kicked off the sixth annual Bi-National Health Week on Oct. 4.

The purpose of Bi-National Health Week is to raise awareness about health issues in the Latina/o community and provide free health assistance to those who need it.

“We need to take care of health issues for Mexican immigrants,” said consulate Salvador Jimenez at the kickoff ceremony.

As part of the week-long event, nurses and nursing students from Mexico have come to Salt Lake City to learn more about health care and participate in the festivities.

“We came to see the classes, teachers, technology and the management of the hospitals,” said Crystal Alcala Solis, a third-year nursing student at the National University of Mexico.

The idea is that participants from Mexico can take what they learn from the Salt Lake health-care system back to their country.

“We wanted to see how they work here to improve things back home,” said Ana Theresa Peralta Munoz, also a third-year nursing student at the National University of Mexico.

The Bi-National Health Week also helps the staff at the U School of Medicine to collaborate with the staff from the National University of Mexico to share data and develop joint research projects, said Penny Brook, director of the U’s Outreach program and professor at the College of Nursing.

The collaboration will help both universities gain a greater understanding of and different perspectives on health care. The program is meant to encourage nurses from Mexico to come to the United States to obtain master’s degrees and then return to Mexico to teach other nursing students.

“We would like to have more of an understanding and more involvement,” Brook said.

A health fair held in Provo from Wednesday to Friday will provide free heart screenings, diabetes checkups, vaccinations and more.

“It is open to all brothers of Latin America,” Jimenez said.