This week PCI’s U.S. Border team honored San Diego leaders who have served the region’s Hispanic community and who have championed PCI’s program Ventanilla de Salud (VDS). VDS, which celebrated its 10th anniversary at the event, is a collaboration with the Mexican Consulate that has served nearly 265,000 Mexican immigrants since its inception.
The program is a model for improving health care and services among Hispanic immigrants by providing information and referrals for issues from maternal and child health, obesity, and breast cancer prevention, to substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence. San Diego’s VDS was the first in the nation and it has been replicated by Mexican consulates in all 50 states.
Ten honorees were recognized on Tuesday during a reception at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego. Honorees included:
- Patricia Alvarez – Founder, President and CEO of Energy Communications Corporation. Alvarez has tirelessly supported the work of PCI as a standing member of the Hands Across Borders Committee by offering pro bono media services, connecting the organization with other Latina influencers and supporting PCI’s many fundraising events.
- Alejandro Bustamante – Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations at Plantronics. Bustamante serves in a prominent position on PCI’s Board of Directors and has lent his company’s and personal support to the organization.
- Dee Dee Castro – Community and Public Relations Manager of Viejas. Castro has been a special advocate for PCI’s work in the border communities and a significant supporter through Viejas of PCI’s flagship annual event, Hands Across Borders.
- Sonia Contreras – Binational Director of the Dulce Wireless Tijuana project at the International Community Foundation. Dr. Contreras designed and directed the Ventanilla de Salud program.
- Kurt Honold – President of Endeavor Baja California, business executive and former mayor of Tijuana. As a PCI board member, Honold has championed support for PCI’s Well Baby Clinics program, which provides basic preventive health care for Tijuana’s most remote areas through ongoing mobile outreach.
- Lidia S. Martinez – Manager, Community Affairs & Grassroots for the West Coast at Southwest Airlines. Martinez has been an ardent supporter of PCI and has made significant contributions to the organization’s border and international works through connections with local and national media, other community partners, and through Southwest Airlines directly.
- Brenda Pugh – Program Manager of San Diego Welcome Baby Program. The San Diego Welcome Baby Program has partnered with VDS since its inception to provide thousands of ‘Welcome Baby Kits’ at no charge to all new and expecting parents through an initiative of the First 5 commission of San Diego.
- Miriam Hiel, MD – Program Coordinator for Ventanilla de Salud. In addition to her role with VDS, Dr. Hiel has also served as PCI’s Project Coordinator for the Border Region Diabetes Study, the Border Vision Fronteriza Program, and the Reducing Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service Disparities project. Dr. Hiel is also responsible for implementation of the promotora model to increase awareness and knowledge of substance abuse and mental health issues among Latina women along the U.S./Mexico border.
- Cónsul General Remedios Gómez Arnau – Cónsul General of Mexico in San Diego. Remedios Gomez Arnau is a diplomat, academic, writer on US/Mexico relations, migration of Mexican workers and consular protection of immigrants abroad.
Thank you to everyone who attended and to the Mexican Consulate for hosting this special event with us.