The Arizona Prevention Research Center (AZPRC) at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, received the Senator Andy Nichols Award from the Arizona-Mexico Commission for improving the quality of life in the Arizona-Mexico border region.
Dr. Andrew W. Nichols, former director of the UA Rural Health Office (now the UA Center for Rural Health), was a state legislator who spearheaded legislation to expand the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) healthcare program for the poor. He spent his life working for justice in healthcare and generated numerous programs that provide access to high-quality health care for all, particularly in rural and border communities. He died in 2001.
The AzPRC collaborates closely with community organizations, federally qualified health centers and local health departments to develop and evaluate health promotion programs designed to help people avoid or counter the risks for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. The AzPRC research team has been working with Douglas, Nogales, San Luis and other communities along this 389-mile long border for more than 20 years.
Community Health Workers, or promotores de Salud have been a central component of AZPRC strategies, which focus on reaching vulnerable and underserved Latinos living in Southern Arizona and Arizona border communities. Community health workers are frontline public health workers who have a close understanding of the community they serve and help link people to needed health care information and services.
“We are very honored to receive the Andy Nichols Award because everything Dr. Nichols stood for and worked for is what we try to replicate in our work,” said Dr. Scott Carvajal, professor and director of the Arizona Prevention Research Center at the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health.
“Most of our staff are women. That includes leadership, researchers, our partners and the people who are working on our projects in communities across Arizona. They really live within the spirit of the promotora movement, both in Mexico and in Arizona. We really honor that perspective because as women they are really the best indicators of health in our region,” Dr. Carvajal said.
Dr. Carvajal accepted the award on behalf of the Arizona Prevention Research Center at the 2018 Arizona-Mexico Commission Summit on June 15 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson.