Expanding 2006 Binational Health Week

To improve health services, information, resources, health promotion and prevention activities for Latinos

Staff from the University of California, Berkeley, worked to expand the 2006 Binational Health Week, chiefly by helping local volunteer groups to provide more health screenings for underserved populations (mostly immigrants from Mexico and other Central American countries) and by convening key officials on health issues.

Held annually during the third week of October since 2004, Binational Health Week seeks to promote sustainable partnerships to address health problems on both sides of the United States-Mexico border. It is conducted through a partnership of:

  • United States-México Border Health Commission.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • México Secretariat of Health and Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.
  • Health Initiative of the Americas.
  • Pan American Health Organization.
  • The ten U.S.-México Border States.
  • United States-México Border Health Association.

Key Results and Findings:

  • The project team developed and distributed 600 toolkits to volunteer groups across the United States, to guide them in the organization of Binational Health Week and offer instructions on fund-raising, evaluation and media work. The team also distributed other materials, including posters, educational pamphlets and promotional radio and television spots.
  • The project team set up a website for Binational Health Week. The site provides general information about the event for 2008, contact information for health agencies and a search engine for finding health week events by city, state and county. A Spanish version of the site is also available.
  • The Sixth Annual Binational Health Week, which took place October 9–13, 2006, drew the most participants since its inception in 2001. An external evaluation conducted by Abundancia, a business consulting firm based in San Francisco, showed that during the event:
    • Some 300,000 people participated in 1,014 activities (e.g., health fairs and workshops) throughout the United States and Canada. A total of 49,349 people received health screenings—a 40 percent increase over the previous year. In Mexico, an additional 235,000 people received health screenings.
    • Some 5,000 volunteers and 3,000 agencies contributed to the event in over 200 cities in 31 states.
    • Volunteers surveyed 948 people (mostly immigrants from Mexico and other Central American countries). Survey results showed that:
      • Twenty-five percent of the respondents reported that this was the first time they had ever met with a health care provider.
      • Forty-four percent said they did not have health insurance.
    • Officials from the United States and Central American countries came together to discuss health policy issues related to immigrant populations. For example:
      • Officials from Guatemala and El Salvador partnered with U.S. and Mexican officials to plan how to target Central American immigrants.
      • The Inaugural Binational Policy Forum on Migration and Health, held in Guadalajara, Mexico, brought together key policy-makers from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and the United States to examine and promote immigrant health issues as a policy priority.

The project team also produced a 24-page report on the event entitled Binational Health Week 2006: Social Mobilization to Improve the Health of Mexican and Central American Immigrants.