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Federal Health Secretary To Visit El Paso

U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) announced today that Department of Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius will visit El Paso July 19-20 to mark the 10th anniversary of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission (BHC) and also meet with local health care leaders in the community.

This will be her first visit to El Paso since her confirmation to lead the department. She is the fourth Cabinet-level official to visit El Paso in the last year.

“I am very pleased Secretary Sebelius accepted my invitation to visit El Paso, and I look forward to welcoming her to our community,” Reyes said in a news release. “As HHS Secretary, she is the nation’s highest-ranking health official and is leading the implementation of the historic Affordable Care Act passed earlier this year. Too many people in El Paso are without health insurance and her efforts are helping improve the quality of life for thousands of residents.”

On Monday, July 19, Secretary Sebelius and Congressman Reyes will address members of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation to discuss ongoing efforts to improve health care in the United States, particularly along the border. On Tuesday, July 20, Secretary Sebelius and Congressman Reyes, along with Jos ngel Crdova, Mexican Secretary of Health, will address the Plenary Session of the 10th Annual Border Health Commission Meeting at the Camino Real Hotel. They will also tour the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine and receive a briefing on the development of the Medical Center of the Americas.

The bi-national U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission was established in July 2000 through an agreement between the Secretary of Health and Human Services of the United States and the Secretary of Health of Mexico. In 2004, the Commission was designated as a Public International Organization by Executive Order of the President. The mission of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission is to provide international leadership to optimize health and quality of life along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Commission coordinates education and outreach efforts on public health issues such as immunizations, preparedness, and chronic disease prevention.

Since taking office, Secretary Sebelius has been a leader on some of the Obama administration’s top priorities. In addition to her efforts on the Affordable Care Act, she also coordinated the response to the 2009 H1N1 flu virus. And under her leadership, HHS has provided a wide range of services from health care to child care to energy assistance to help families weather the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Secretary Sebelius has been a leader on health care, family, and senior issues for over 20 years. As Governor of Kansas from 2003 to 2009, she fought to create jobs, improve access to affordable health care, and give every Kansas child a quality education. In 2005, Time Magazine recognized her achievements by naming her one of America’s Top Five Governors.

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