U.S. & Mexico Host Joint Humanitarian Assistance Workshop

By Mr. Brad Golden | USNORTHCOM Humanitarian Assistance Program | February 16, 2017

Peterson AFB, Colo. --

The U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) Humanitarian Assistance Program, the U.S. Consulate General in Nogales, FESAC - Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense, the University of Arizona, and ARSOBO jointly hosted their inaugural Public Private Partnership (PPP) Workshop in Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Feb. 10-11, 2017. 

More than fifty participants from the public and private sectors and within academia traveled from across the U.S. and Mexico to be inspired on the workshop's first day with the words of keynote speakers, Mr. David B. Werner and Mr. Ralf Hotchkiss. 

Mr. Werner is the author of "Donde No Hay Doctor (Where There is No Doctor)", which is considered the most widely-used health care manual in the world for individuals in primary care delivery and health promotion around the world. 

Mr. Hotchkiss is the inventor of the RoughRider Wheelchair, a low-cost and durable wheelchair designed for production in developing countries and use in rough terrain. 

The workshop concluded on the second day with a cross-border visit to the ARSOBO facility in Nogales. ARSOBO is a successful U.S.-MEXICO Cross Border Public Private Partnership Non-profit Organization Supporting Individuals with Disabilities. 

Participants toured the ARSOBO wheelchair production shop, as well as their audiology and prosthetic clinics and the ARSOBO leadership shared the history of how they started as well as their successes, challenges and present-day best practices. 

The goal of this inaugural event was to stimulate similar relationships and collaborative partnerships in other US and Mexico states in order to cultivate future opportunities for USNORTHCOM's Humanitarian Assistance (HA) Program and its partners to provide opportunities for those with less resources and disabilities to improve their lives.  The HA program supports the government of Mexico (and The Bahamas) to enhance disaster preparedness and response capacities, including public health and medical capacities.

Since 2008, it has partnered closely with Civil Protection, Ministry of Health, SEDENA and SEMAR to enhance disaster preparedness capabilities throughout Mexico in earthquake monitoring, response planning and exercises; structural and wildland firefighting; radiological incident response; hazardous materials response; floodwater monitoring and alerting systems; landslide mitigation and response; Urban Search and Rescue; water rescue; and disaster behavioral health seminars.

In the course of its activities, USNORTHCOM partners with U.S. federal agencies, such as HHS, United States Geologic Survey, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and others to collaborate in building capacity and develop relationships with their Mexican and Bahamian counterparts.