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Mexican government gives $35K to Ark. med school

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm •  Published: March 21, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — People come to the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock to deal with passports and other paperwork, but they can also have their blood pressure checked at free health screenings.

To ensure that those screenings continue, the Mexican government is giving $35,000 to the College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Mexican Consul David Manuel Preciado Juarez presented university officials with a check Thursday to boost health education and screening programs that the school helps provide to the more than 30,000 annual visitors to the Little Rock consulate.

"With the funding that's being awarded today, we're looking at an additional year and hopefully many years in the future," said Jim Raczynski, dean of the College of Public Health.

The screenings and outreach efforts are part of a program called Ventanillas de Salud that arrived in Little Rock in 2010 after a similar program was established in California in 2002.

The program serves Mexicans and other Latinos, regardless of their legal status, Preciado Juarez said.

"We have a duty to serve and help our community," he said in Spanish.

Raczynski said Ventanillas de Salud focuses on improving the health of Mexicans and other Latinos in Arkansas through health education, screenings and immunizations.

"We eventually hope to be offering health education programs, things like smoking cessation, weight loss, healthy eating and other things once we can obtain funding to help support that expansion program," he said at the consulate.

A few yards away, health workers were ready to check blood pressure and sugar levels for people, including 21-year-old Leticia Hernandez.

Hernandez, who lives in Tulsa, Okla., but had driven to the consulate in Little Rock to deal with passport issues, said it was great to have the passport and health services all under one roof.


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