PCI was founded in the U.S./Mexico border region in 1961, by a young doctor from San Diego who saved the lives of two small children that were dying of pneumonia in a small Tijuana clinic. This experience led Dr. James Turpin to found PCI and forever change the lives of millions of children and families around the world by providing health, opportunity, and support to those most in need.
The U.S./Mexico border region is home to over 12 million people and is characterized by rapid growth and a highly mobile population. Urbanization on both sides of the border has far outpaced the ability of government services to provide necessary physical and service infrastructures. Since its inception, PCI has been working to address the ever-growing demand for health services on both sides of the border, as well implementing a diverse portfolio of programming in San Diego County. Today, PCI’s work in the U.S. and the U.S./Mexico border region focuses on vulnerable minority and other “hard-to-reach” populations with critically needed health services.
MATERNAL & CHILD HEALTH
PCI wants every child to have a strong start in life. In San Diego County, PCI is leading a consortium of more than 70 agencies to transform the delivery of perinatal (period before and after birth) health care. Funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, PCI’s California Border Healthy Start (CBHS) project offers core services designed to reduce infant mortality and low birth weight, as well as increase the number of women accessing prenatal care during their pregnancy.
CBHS focuses on women from underserved areas of central and southern San Diego County, where rates of low birth weight babies and infant mortality are drastically higher than the rest of the county. Women also have substantially less access to quality health care. PCI provides these pregnant mothers with case management and support to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery as well as a continuum of care of up to two years after delivery. In addition to the assistance of a doula, “birth coach”, women also receive assessments and support for post-partum depression and domestic violence; personalized health planning for improved nutrition and well-being; life skills training; and pre-conception education and guidance.
CHRONIC DISEASE PREVENTION
Building on a decade of community planning and vision, in 2010 PCI established the HRSA-funded Family Health Navigator Resource Center project, an innovative family-centered patient navigator model which seeks to improve health outcomes for individuals with chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Over the next 3 years, the project will reach 85,330 individuals at high risk for chronic diseases from health disparity populations in areas of San Diego that represent the highest levels of poverty. Since then, the project has provided intensive non-medical case management to 165 high risk Latinos, Asian American and Somalis and their families in areas of San Diego with the highest levels of poverty, and reached thousands through health education and outreach strategies. In collaboration with private partners, community clinics, a community college program, and a consortium of 25 agencies and other stakeholders, PCI is working to expand the Resource Center to increase the leadership and capacity of community health workers and patient navigators in the border region through continuing training, networking, and improved technology-based support.
In addition, PCI is developing, implementing and assessing the use of culturally tailored strategies for heart health and cancer control within existing community health worker programs in San Diego County. PCI’s Project REACH is incorporating the National Heart Lung Blood Institute’s culturally tailored heart health curricula within existing community health worker programs in San Diego County in ways that can sustainably expand its reach and impact. PCI’s Ventanilla de Salud: Ventanilla de Esperanza (Window of Health: Window of Hope) project is working to increase knowledge of breast cancer screening, referral and treatment services among Latinos in San Diego County.
BINATIONAL CAPACITY BUILDING
For over a decade, PCI has focused on building the capacity of community-based organizations who reach underserved populations in the California/Baja California border region, especially relatively small, grassroots organizations that are providing valuable health and support services that would normally not receive donor support. Through capacity building, PCI’s Border Health Initiative is working to increase reach, improve cost-effectiveness, and enhance potential for sustainability of NGOs, as well as lessening the barriers to collaboration that exist between NGOs and governmental entities. Currently, PCI is applying this approach to organizations working in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, reproductive health and substance abuse, identifying key needs and opportunities where collaboration can leverage resources.
Altarum Institute, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Country Friends, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, University of California San Diego, United States Department of Health & Human Services, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, Government of Mexico and various private donors.
Click here to read PCI’s United States fact sheet.