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Center for Global Initiatives

About MSMU

HealthCare on the Border

close up of barbed wire

Our HealthCare on the Border research initiatives seek to address important health issues at the US/Mexico border.

Our first project, the Collaborative Health Initiative, is HealthCare Policy fieldwork trip to Baja California (2019-2021)

Formed in collaboration with local non-profits and faith communities in Baja, Mexico, Dr. Inrig has created The Collaborative Health Initiative/Colaboración en iniciativa de salud in the San Quintin Valley and the town of Vicente Guerrero in Baja. Working with three anchor organizations – ReachBaja, Iglesia La Puerta Abierta, Ancla Eterna A.C – and a group of about 20 stakeholder organizations and government entities (dubbed the Anhelo Community Association of Vicente Guerrero), Dr. Inrig is training local health providers and Mount St Mary’s students how to conduct, analyze, and communicate results of a community needs assessment. The long-term goal is to quantify and map the health and social needs of all the main communities in the San Quintin Valley, with the goal of developing community-based development strategies that will produce sustainable improvement over time. 

Participating Mount Saint Mary’s students will learn how to: a) conduct community health needs assessments; b) collaborate with local care providers and stakeholders, c) analyze geospatially structured health and demographic data; d) communicate relevant results to community stakeholders; and e) gain experience in community-based participatory development projects. 

The pilot project involved trained health providers from Ancla Eterna A.C, a local non-profit supporting the dignity of people with disabilities, in three communities of Vicente Guerrero. It will take between 6 – 8 students from October 14 – 19, 2019 to Vicente Guerrero. Students engaged in translating the survey, partnering with Mexican health providers to deploy it in the field, analyzing it upon return to Los Angeles, and communicating results to the Anhelo Community Association of Vicente Guerrero Anhelo Community Association of Vicente Guerrero stakeholders in December 2019.  The October trip served as the first of a series of planned assessment trips that will attempt to map the entire valley and collaborate with community members there to develop sustainable and community-led interventions to address the identified needs according to the priority of the affected communities.

For more insight into the connecting between Health and Human Rights, view Stephen Inrig's research presentation at UT Southwestern Medical Center: "How the Health and Rights Framework Evolved and How That Affects Clinical Research."

Our second project, the Unaccompanied Minor Comparative Trauma Project, is an ongoing national health survey of mental health providers (2019-2021)

In a multi-institutional collaboration spearheaded by MSMU’s Health Policy and Management graduate program, the Unaccompanied Minor Comparative Trauma Project examines the factors affecting unaccompanied minor asylum-seekers and refugees and compares them to the experiences of other unaccompanied minor and asylum-seeking populations to determine factors that might improve care for these unique populations.  Building on existing studies of trauma, the present study will examine the psychological factors (e.g., PTSD, depression, anxiety, and trauma) and physical health factors (e.g., functioning, health living habits, and overall well-being) experienced by unaccompanied minor asylum-seekers. The research team expects that the information gleaned will help generate hypotheses that will improve the framework care providers use based on the cultural and overall needs of this population. 

Participating Mount Saint Mary’s students – both graduate and undergraduate – will learn how to: a) conduct qualitative analysis; b) conduct quantitative analysis, c) draw conclusions and develop hypotheses from analyzed data; d) prepare the research findings for academic presentation (in posters, conference presentations, and peer-reviewed publications; and e) gain experience in mixed-methods research projects.