Health Frontiers in Tijuana

MED 239: Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT): A Binational Response to a Growing HIV/AIDS Public Health Crisis

Health Frontiers in Tijuana is a new elective where UCSD Medical students will learn about many of the joys and challenges of community medicine and healthcare of the underserved in Mexico becoming an active participant in the student-run Health Frontiers in Tijuana free- clinic project. Students enrolled in this course will learn about the Mexican Health Care Systems, community partners in Tijuana and will play various roles under faculty supervision, including that of binational health care provider, community advocate, health educator, clinic administrator and global public health researcher.

The HFiT Clinical Training course takes advantage of a novel model of primary health care which will offer outpatient medical services at an accessible location in a culturally sensitive manner tailored to the health needs of marginalized individuals and their surrounding urban communities.  It builds on the wildly successful research collaborations between the UCSD Division of Global Public Health, and UABC to expand the potential impact on preventive medicine to include general primary care medical services for vulnerable populations in Tijuana.
The HFiT clinic represents a true bi-national effort to capitalize on the wealth of knowledge of medical and public health expertise through collaboration between both US and Mexican faculty and US and Mexican medical students. This clinic brings the opportunity to implement evidence based primary medical care and prevention, improving the Binational collaboration and border health. Secondly, this clinic brings the opportunity to train and sensitize physicians in training to learn about working with highly stigmatized vulnerable individuals in a culturally sensitive manner.
Course Organization
  1. Classes: Students will attend teaching sessions on campus (see schedule for times and locations). The class is intended to provide information on the HFiT clinic, acquaint students with the Mexican health care systems, specific health and social needs of the people we serve, introduce students to some global health and community partners, and train in the various supervised clinic activities. The structure of each session will vary according to the topic, ranging from lectures to site visits to hands-on workshops. 
  1. Clinic: During each quarter, each student will attend at least 2 clinic sessions on a weekend, students will be required to complete all travel requirements to Mexico determined by the Chair of the UCSD Division of Global Public Health. Students will perform clinical duties (seeing patients) at one of these sessions. At the other session they will train to perform the duties of social resource representative and patient/community education
  1. Health Education Talk: Each student will learn how to prepare and give one health education talk on a community health topic of choice to a group of patients at the HFiT clinic. Talks can cover topics such as  nutrition, STI/HIV risk and prevention, substance use, self defense, domestic violence, etc. Students will have access to handouts, outlines and visual aids from HHSA and the Mexican health department (ISESALUD) to design their talks. Students will be evaluated by the clinic patients after their talk. 
  1. Binational Social Resources Referral: Students will learn aspects of case management and social resource referrals. During the quarter, students will be assigned two entries from the HFiT log of available social resources to research and update. Students will be expected to contact the assigned resources and complete a form that will be turned in on the last day of class. 
  1. Term paper: Students will be required to write a short paper (3-5 pages) on a global health issue related to personal experiences during visits to the HFiT. The paper should include a discussion on the differences in health care between the U.S. and other countries and on binational collaboration between health care providers.

Please see the course syllabus for more information 


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