Office of Border Public Health
Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of the people living within the U.S.-Mexico border region by collaborating with partners and leveraging resources within and outside of Texas. OBPH builds relationships within communities to foster a safe and healthy environment and living practices. We monitor and share data on public health issues and their impact, support binational public health coalitions, conduct community-based initiatives, and support Community Health Workers.
We operate under the assumption that public health problems cannot be contained within international boundaries and that the U.S.-Mexico border region is one epidemiological zone. We work together to keep Texas healthy by keeping our border healthy.
About the Mandate
In 1991, the 72nd Texas Legislature enacted Health and Safety Code, Chapter 12, §12.071: HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE CHAPTER 12. POWERS AND DUTIES OF DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES (texas.gov). That mandate stipulates that “The department shall establish and maintain an office in the department to coordinate and promote health and environmental issues between this state and Mexico.”
All four U.S. border states —Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico—have border health offices.
A healthy Texas-Mexico border
To improve health and well-being along the Texas-Mexico border
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 issues to facilitate public health funding and coordination along our border.
Improve access to develop and strengthen the use of border data to identify priorities, trends, and emerging public health issues.
Improve border public health outcomes by targeting culturally competent, outcome-based outreach, educational and training opportunities.
Develop strategies to measure and enhance program effectiveness to enhance public health services to border communities.
Identify effective intervention models that will increase the impact of border public health services.
Get statistical data on the region, including birth and death rates, population and demographics, hospital care, and health status.
Our Focus Areas
Like any community, whether large or small – urban or rural, they share several common themes to ensure cohesion. While regions differ in population and geography, a healthy balance of public health structure is essential. The focus areas below are vital to ensure long-lasting public health enhancements along the border region.
Community-based Healthy Border Initiatives
Lead the development, implementation, and evaluation of Public Health work plans and scope of work for regional activities along the Texas-Mexico Border.
Continue rural school obesity prevention, diabetes self-education, linking border residents to HHS services, and community-based health promotion and education.
Continue to use our certified DSHS Community Health Worker training center to build capacity of health professions workforce along the Texas-Mexico border.
Ensure coordination of community-based healthy border initiatives across DSHS programs and the HHS System.
Continuously identifying the learning needs of Community Health Workers serving Texans along the Texas/Mexico border.
Border and Binational Coordination
Ensure intra-agency programmatic coordination of border public health services along the Texas-Mexico border.
Enhance capacity to address binational coordination at the eight major sister-cities along the Texas-Mexico border in collaboration with the OBPH Binational Coordinator.
Provide administrative support to the eight sister-city Binational Health Councils and develop state-to-state partnerships with Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Chihuahua.
Border Health Data
- Provide technical assistance and training to border program staff across all focus areas, prepare regular border health status reports, and provide inter- and intra-agency coordination on epidemiology and health data.
Best Practices and Evaluation
Ensure programs/services consistency, conduct ongoing quality assurance to improve services along the Texas-Mexico border, eliminate duplication of services, leverage resources, and improve programmatic/service accountability.
Allow for increased accountability and compliance in expanded contract and grant management, coordinate grant and contract work plan development, establish reporting and communication processes, lead financial management and budgeting, and outcome performance-informed budgeting.
For more border health data visit the Border Health Data webpage.