LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health and the Mexican Consulate today took two steps toward offering better health education and screening programs to the more than 25,000 visitors at the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock each year.
Along with an initial $30,000 commitment from the Mexican government presented to UAMS today, the College of Public Health and the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock also signed a memorandum of understanding to team up for future efforts to boost health education and screening programs.
“Today’s announcement extends our expertise into a quickly growing segment of our community, and encapsulates several key points in the UAMS College of Public Health’s mission,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “That mission includes a heavy emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention as a way to maintain the health and quality of life for all Arkansans, and ensures that all people have access to needed programs and services.”
College of Public Health Dean Jim Raczynski, Ph.D., agreed the announcement fulfills the college’s charge.
“Our overall charge is to improve the health and well-being of Arkansans, and this effort is an outstanding opportunity to reach a specific and growing demographic group that allows us to make an immediate difference,” Raczynski said. “I look forward to many years of successful collaboration.”
Andres Chao, consul of Mexico, said the “Ventanilla de Salud,” or Health Window Program, is a grand opportunity to provide health information and screenings to Mexicans living in Arkansas.
“Similar programs to the one that will begin in Little Rock have already begun in more than 40 locations within the United States to a great degree of success,” Chao said. “We are sure that this program is an important first step towards the well-being of Mexicans residing in Arkansas and an important addition to the broad range of programs that address health disparities in minority populations. This program will provide Mexicans in Arkansas an opportunity to be stakeholders of their own health and we want to be a part of such efforts.”
Raczynski said the $30,000 in funds and the signed memorandum of understanding provide the opportunity to begin looking at long-term collaborations with the Mexican Consulate that will extend beyond a grant received in December 2009 that initiated the relationship.
A grant of $80,961 was awarded to UAMS to provide basic health care resources such as flu vaccinations and cholesterol screenings at the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock each year. The grant was used to create the Ventanillas de Salud program this year. The grants are part of more than $1.5 million awarded last year to 33 health improvement programs in the state by the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas.
“This agreement and grant we’ve announced today lay the foundation to extend what the Blue & You Foundation helped get started with the health screenings and educational programs through the Mexican Consulate,” Raczynski said. “There are a lot more good things that will come out of this.”