Local Binational Communication and Collaboration
Communication and collaboration are necessary to foster a healthy community. The Office of Border Public Health works to improve communication and convene partners to achieve goals.
Texas border geography ranges from isolated towns like Presidio to the clustered cities of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The climate varies from the dry Chihuahuan Desert to the semi-tropical oasis of South Padre Island. Despite their differences, these communities all share close ties with their neighbors on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande River. Many residents have friends and family on both sides of the border. People cross the border through legal points of entry to work, go to school, and shop as part of their daily lives.
There are many sister cities and binational communities along the Texas portion of the US-Mexico border. Sharing many of the same health challenges, they may be considered one epidemiological zone. The first official U.S.-Mexico health associations were formed in the early 1940s. The first Binational Health Councils, known in Spanish as COBINAS (Consejos Binacionales de Salud) were formed in 1965.
These groups promote collaboration between health officials on both sides of the border. Over time, their purpose has evolved to address many different health issues. For example, many communities have developed plans for health emergencies and disasters. Some conduct joint mosquito-borne disease surveillance. There are always new opportunities to work together to solve public health problems. Joint actions benefit the residents of both sides of the border.
Border Community Public Health Coalitions include:
- Paso del Norte Binational Health Council (El Paso/Juarez/Las Cruces, NM)
- Presidio-Ojinaga Binational Health Council
- Trinational Epidemiological Workgroup (Eagle Pass/Piedras Negras/Del Rio/Ciudad Acuña and the Binational Health Council/Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas)
- Los Dos Laredos y Nuevo Leon Binational Health Council (Laredo/Nuevo Laredo/Nuevo León)
- SMAC Binational Health Council (Starr County/Miguel Aleman/Camargo)
- HIDA REY Binational Health Council (Hidalgo County/Reynosa)
- Brownsville-Matamoros Binational Health Council
Historical Photos of Past Binational Community Health Coalitions
Meeting of the Committee Against Tuberculosis in El Paso, 1948
U.S. Mexico Border Health Association 1951
U.S. Mexico Border Health Association 1966
U.S. Mexico Border Health Association 1967