International Valley Health Institute
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Border Health Academy

IVHI has been involved in a yearly service learning experience with Florida State University medical students since 2004 in conjunction with their FSUCares student organization.  Second year medical students come to the Valley from Tallahassee during their spring break for a 10 day period to learn the forms that medical and public health issues take in a border culture heavily influenced by our southern international neighbor.  This is partly done in the context of course work and partly through participating in supervised visits in “colonias” (unincorporated settlements with no land use restrictions that may not have adequate infrastructure) to conduct health needs assessments in family homes and making arrangements with local providers which may include payment for needed tests and prescriptions, and follow-up medical visits.

In 2012, IVHI began a similar relationship with medical students from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in conjunction with their Fronteras de Salud student organization.  Their spring break visit closely followed the Florida State medical students’ visit.

Service learning experiences are usually organized under student organizations like the ones involved here that are specifically established for that purpose by the students themselves with their expenses and contributions to the receiving community mostly supported through fund raising events they organize on their own time.  As the preceptor organization, IVHI works closely with these student organizations and their supervisors to help them organize their visits by advising them and facilitating their plans.

IVHI administrative, academic, and community health worker (Promotores de Salud) staff is all involved in conducting this Border Health Academy.

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