February 2007 MedBytes: Border Health

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This month's Texas Medicine  is a special symposium issue focusing on current health conditions along the United States-Mexico border. The Internet has many resources on border health. Here are just a few.

Border Health Commission
Based in El Paso, the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission was formed as a result of efforts by the Texas Medical Association and other groups to improve health conditions along the four states that border Mexico. Located at  www.borderhealth.org, the commission's Web site has information about the commission, its members, and its efforts to provide international leadership to optimize health and the quality of life along the United States-Mexico border. The site offers links to partners and other agencies working to improve the health conditions on the border and information regarding events and opportunities relating to border health.

DSHS Office of Border Health
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Office of Border Health was created in 1993 to enhance agency efforts to promote and protect the health of border residents by reducing community and environmental health hazards along the Texas-Mexico border, in collaboration with communities and U.S. and Mexican local, state, and federal entities. The DSHS online link, www.dshs.state.tx.us/borderhealth, has a map of the border region, publications and reports, and information about the Texas Outreach Office.

U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association
Also headquartered in El Paso, the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association promotes public and individual health along the border through reciprocal technical cooperation and development of border health priorities through public and private partnerships. Its Web site at  www.borderhealth.org offers information on various projects, including the Border AIDS Partnership and the Border Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies.

Center for Border Health Research
Since its inception in 1998, the Center for Border Health Research has focused on supporting health research in the Paso del Norte Health region. With funding from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, the center has granted more than $3.7 million to regional researchers studying a variety of health topics such as infectious diseases, chronic diseases, behavioral health, environmental health, mental health, dental health, alternative therapies, and basic biomedical research. The center's Web site,  www.cbhr.org, allows researchers to apply for funding and provides a list of workshops designed to help researchers be more competitive in seeking grants.

The Office of Minority Health
Established in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) works to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities. The OMH Resource Center maintains the OMH site,  http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/, which serves as an information and referral service on minority health issues for professionals, community groups, consumers, and students. Cultural competency resources include links to organizations and programs; information about policies, laws, and initiatives; and training tools for physicians and others.

U.S.  Census Bureau
The Census Bureau is the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy. The bureau honors privacy, protects confidentiality, shares its expertise globally, and conducts its work openly. Its online site,  www.census.gov, has tools to locate census information, including American FactFinder, which allows site visitors to locate specific data about their community.

National   Centerfor Cultural Competence
The mission of the National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) is to increase health and mental health programs' ability to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems. The center's site,  http://gucchd.georgetown.edu/nccc, contains an online database with a wide range of resources on cultural and linguistic competence (e.g., demographic information, policies, practices, articles, books, research initiatives and findings, curricula, multimedia materials, and Web sites), as well as tools and processes for self-assessment of cultural competence.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest toTexasphysicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, emailErin Prather. Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the  TexasMedical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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