About Us

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A healthy Texas-Mexico border


To improve health and well-being along the Texas-Mexico border


In the 1980s and 1990s, considerable attention was directed to the Texas-Mexico border region because of its high population growth and growing concerns about adverse health and environmental conditions.  A pivotal event occurred in April, 1991, when three babies with anencephaly died soon after birth in a Brownsville, Texas, health clinic within a 36 hour period. In response to border health concerns a number of legislative actions were taken, including enacting bills to establish (1) a birth defects registry to actively identify children born with birth defects and (2) an office of border health to coordinate and promote health and environmental issues between this state and Mexico.

Office of Border Public Health Mandate

In 1991, the 72nd Texas Legislature enacted Health and Safety Code, Sub-chapter 12, § 12.071, that stipulates that “The department shall establish and maintain an office to coordinate and promote health issues between this state and Mexico.”  Note that in the early 1990s, all 4 U.S. border state public health departments (i.e., Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico) established border health offices.  

Focus Areas:

  • Binational and Border Coordination
  • Border Data and Information Clearinghouse
  • Community-based Healthy Border Initiatives (outreach, promotion, education, and training)
  • Border Health Best Practices & Evaluation


  • Build sustainable partnerships with key border and binational organizations at federal, state, and local levels to promote communication, coordination and collaboration.
  • Heighten awareness of border needs and issues to facilitate the funding and coordination of public health activities along the Texas México border.
  • Improve access to develop and strengthen the use of border data and information to identify priorities, trends, and emerging issues.
  • Improve border public health outcomes for people living along the Texas México border by introducing targeted culturally competent, outcome-based outreach, educational and training opportunities.
  • Develop strategies to measure and enhance program effectiveness to increase the impact of public health services on the needs of border communities served by DSHS programs.
  • Identify effective intervention models to enhance program effectiveness and increase the impact of border public health services served by DSHS programs.                                                     


  • Border Health Risk Factor Survey (2010, 2012)
  • Border Health Status Report (In progress)
  • Border Health Bulletins (e.g., various border binational topics)
  • Border Binational Infectious Disease Conference Proceedings (June 2014)
  • US-Mexico Border Health Commission– 5 year Cooperative Agreement (2011-2016)
  • Border Binational Health Week (sponsor annual health promotion events)
  • Community based border health contracts (planning, trainings, health   education, including promotora training)
  • Border Obesity Prevention Technical Work Group (Strategic Action Plan, December 2014).
  • Contractual support for work plans for 8 sister-city binational health councils
  • Border Governors Conference Health & Emergency Management Work Table (develop annual recommendations).
  • Border Obesity Prevention (BOP) Summit (scheduled for 2015)


Last updated September 28, 2017