The Office of Border Health Environmental Health Committee
The mission of the Environmental Health Committee (EHC) is to improve the environmental health status of the New Mexico border population through advocacy, community education, and resource development.
Since 1995, the Environmental Health Committee has served the New Mexico Office of Border Health and New Mexico Border Health Council as an advisory body on environmental health issues affecting New Mexico border region. The Committee has provided a coordinating forum for participating organizations that has lead to numerous environmental health project sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Health. Below is a short list of some of these projects:
- Comprehensive Assessment of Public Water Supplies in the 6 New Mexico Border Counties to assess the current condition and create a baseline for the future.
- Private drinking water study in identifying drinking waster issues in 4 New Mexico border counties
- Funding for a Environmental Health Home Safety Program addressing Colonia communities in Dona Ana and Luna Counties
- Lead study of Sunland Park/Anapra , New Mexico
- Development of Environmental Health Resource directories for the 6 New Mexico Border Counties
- Community Environmental Health Assessment Tool Box for New Mexico
In addition, ideas generated out of the committee have also lead to other programs and projects being funded. These include:
- The Healthy Hands Initiative focusing on hand hygiene in elementary schools and the community at large.
- Bi-National Air Quality Monitoring studying in Palomas Mexico and Columbus New Mexico.
- Development of a resource guide for maintaining septic systems.
- Doña Ana County Environmental Health Assessment and Strategic Action Plan
Actions of the Environmental Health Committee
In addition to providing advice on environmental activities to the NM Office of Border Health, the Committee has identified four other focus areas for its actions:
- Serve as a forum for the conceptualization, design, sourcing of funding and coordination of environmental health projects and program activities in the New Mexico/Mexico Border Region. Greater emphasis will be placed on developing activities in all 6 border counties (Hidalgo, Luna, Grant, Sierra, Otero, as well as Doña Ana). Collaboration will include networking, data interchange, coordination in project implementation and supervision, and quality control and monitoring.
- Monitor present and future environmental health activities in the Border Region. Collect and disseminate environmental health information (assessments, reports, best practices, guidelines and tools, handouts, newsletters, and similar resources). Create a physical and virtual library of past and ongoing EH work and make this accessible to the public; including provision of material for OBH/Outreach Office website.
- Develop and maintain a network of organizations with direct contact to the community. This network will be used to disseminate environmental health information to community residents and their organizations. It will also be used to increase environmental health awareness by training staffs of agencies and organizations linked within the network on current and emerging environmental health issues so they can share this information with their clients.
Serve as a technical and operational advisory body on environmental health issues in the Border Region to pertinent stakeholders, decision makers and governmental authorities including, but not limited to: New Mexico Border Health Council, NM State Government, County and Municipal Governments, legislators, community organizations, and non-profit advocacy organizations.