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MCN and Ventanilla de Salud Celebrate Binational Health Week

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BHW 18 volunteers

By Luis Edwardo Retta

This time of the year marks the annual Binational Health Week at the Mexican Consulate of Austin. Along with Ventanillas de Salud all over the country, the Austin Ventanilla de Salud seeks to connect health services to the local community. Migrant Clinicians Network partners with the Ventanilla de Salud to assure continuity of care and connection to health services for the thousands of binationals and other community members who receive consulate services at the Mexican Consulate. To kick off this important week, MCN’s Health Network Associates at the Ventanilla de Salud organized a community-wide health fair.

The idea behind this year’s event was to bring the community of South Austin and its great organizations to a central location. This stems from the understanding that one of the factors that inhibit members of the community from getting the care and information they may need is a lack of resources such as transportation and funding to cover the cost of basic health assessments that are extremely important.


BHW Del Garcia gives speech

The Ventanilla de Salud was able to bring together over 40 organizations for the day of the kick-off. Services such as screenings for skin cancer administered by Dr. Keeling & Dr. Fox and their team from Del Medical, Vision screenings by Lions Club Vision and Screening, along with HIV/STI examinations, adult immunizations, blood pressure and sugar readings as well as cholesterol checks were just some of the many services provided free of charge this past weekend.

Family receive treatment at BHW 18

BHW 18 starting walk


The event was hosted by South East Community Care who provided the central location for all of the vendors and organized the health services portion of the event. After the health services portion, the Binational Health Week participants, vendors, and volunteers along with Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in Austin, all joined in on a one-mile walk from the health fair to the Mexican Consulate where food, drinks, and music kicked off the fiesta portion of the event. 

The goal of the event is to promote living and leading healthier lives which is why you see the Walk/Run/Bike on our logos. We also decided to take the term “don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk” literal and did our first walk to the Consulate. We also “walked the walk” by welcoming previous sponsors such as Mr. Natural and Sustainable Food Source who provided healthy options of food as well as dietary information.


BHW attendees talking


We continue to provide information and services to the Austin area and especially to the underserved Latino communities throughout the month of October. With events including Alzheimer Association Early Detection trainings and screenings, the Austin Kidney Foundation’s KEEP Screening on October 26th, and ongoing provision of free vaccines including for influenza by the Austin Public Health at our weekly Friday Feria de Salud on October 12, we are set to offer a vast variety of services for the month.

All of this of course has been made possible by a community that has come together in recognizing that by working alongside one another we can strive toward the common goal of aiding and bettering our community, providing and increasing access to essential services and important information in order to help increase our standard of living.


BHW doctor mascot


A special thanks to the following:

Access Dental, Amerigroup Real Solutions, Angel E. Leyva with Alcoholicos Anonimos, Austin Public Health - Health Equity Unit, Immunization Program & WIC Program, Austin Animal Center, Austin Dermatology Surgery Center, Austin Voices, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BlueCross and BlueShield of Texas, Central Health, College Health Care Profession, CommUnity Care, Dells Children Healthplan, El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission, El mundo newspaper, Foster Community, Ghisallo Cycling Initiative, Infinite Results, Kidney health information, Lone Star Circle of Care, Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, MAXIMUS, Mr. Natural, MyDental, National Kidney Foundation, SAFE Alliance, Sustainable Food Center, Southwest Key Programs, Superior Healthplan, Thriveworks, Travis County Underage Drinking Prevention Program, Sonrisas Dental, Austin Public Health, Lions Club Vision Screening, Univision Austin.

Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Deliana Garcia, Elizabeth Marrero, Isela Guerra, Yubelly Perez, Carlos Rivera, Eduardo Saggiante, Jose Carrasco, The brotherhood of Phi Kappa Theta and the sisterhood of Kappa Delta Chi and all other participants and volunteers!!

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