Leaders Across Borders (LaB), a leadership program created by the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission to improve the health of communities located along the border, recently selected University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) Research Translation Core (RTC) Principle Investigator, Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, to participate in their 2016 program. There will be 20 participants, 10 from each side of the US-Mexico border, in the 2016 LaB cohort. LaB aims to build leaders with binational ties who will work to redefine public health standards in the border region, which extends approximately 100 kilometers to the north and south of the border. Issues prevalent in these communities include chronic, degenerative, and infectious disease; maternal and child health deficiencies; mental health and addiction issues; and limited access to healthcare. As an environmental health researcher and advocate for communities facing exposure to environmental contamination, Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta was selected for the program based on her expertise in environmental monitoring and pollution science, community engagement techniques, and her commitment to furthering the field of enviornmental health. Participation in the LaB program will allow Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta to expand her expertise as a health professional by: 1) developing subject matter expertise needed to work in the border region, and 2) involving her in a united community of health professionals who are both sensitive to and active in border health reform.
Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta has made a 160-hour commitment to LaB involving onsite, in-person learning events; independent coursework in the areas of epidemiology, health diplomacy, management, and leadership; and team projects focused on exercising leadership in the areas of border health concerns. She recently attended the LaB program orientation in Phoenix, Arizona where she, along with the 2016 LaB cohort, completed activities related to action learning, leadership, team-building, and health laws in Mexico and the United States. Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta states: “One of my passions is to improve health on the border and I feel confident that working with my team we will make a difference in environmental health policy along the US-Mexico border.” We are excited to have Monica represent the UA and SRP in the LaB Program, and are looking forward to seeing how her experience will enrich our approaches to community engagement and outreach in the SRP.