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UC MEXUS Conference Planned May 9

UCR Hosts UC MEXUS Conference May 9

Seminars will focus on health and pollution along the Mexican border.

(May 2, 2007)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Disease and pollution know no borders, a fact that complicates the efforts of agencies who view their effects in too parochial a manner.

Four experts from UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz will discuss their new research at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, at UC Riverside in the UC MEXUS Conference Room, 3324 Olmsted Hall.

Ismael Aguilar-Benitez, from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UC Irvine, is the editor of Frontera Norte, the academic journal of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, where he was until recently an associate researcher. In his paper, “Accountability and Performance of Water Utilities in Laredo, Texas & Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico,” Aguilar-Benitez studies the effect of customer accountability on the efficiency of water utilities serving the two border towns.

Francisco Dóñez, from the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley, looks at the effect of myopia in handling environmental problems on the border in his paper, “Where the Sky Is the Right Color:
Air Pollution and Environmentalism in the Rural Borderlands.” In his study of air pollution over Big Bend National Park in west Texas, he examines how environmentalists take the issue of air pollution out of its broader context and alienate potential allies among Latinos and the working class.

David Machledt, from the Department of Cultural Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, has conducted field work in public health both in the San Diego/Tijuana area as well as in Texas and Monterrey. In his paper, “Moving Risk: Binational Bureaucracies, Tuberculosis, and the Foreign Born at the U.S./Mexico Border,” he studies how public health agencies complicate policy, binational organizing and individual treatment of tuberculosis by using conflicting approaches to the disease.

Jennifer Miller-Thayer, from the Department of Anthropology at UC Riverside, will discuss the fallout from cross-border health care in “Migration for Health: Transnational Discourses of Risk at the U.S.-Mexican Border.” Miller-Thayer looks at the reactions of the American Medical Association and the pharmaceutical industry to lower-income Americans seeking lower-cost procedures and medications in Mexico even as higher-income Mexicans travel to the U.S. to access more advanced medical technology.

Dr. Sara Cortes, from the School of Medicine at University of Baja California, Tijuana, will moderate the seminar.

This is the eighth seminar in a yearlong series on topics relevant to Mexico and California held at UC MEXUS headquarters, 3324 Olmsted Hall.

The series is a project of the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS), a systemwide institute that makes its home on the UCR campus. Every month through September 2007, the institute will bring together scholars from the University of California and Mexico from a wide range of disciplines such as sociology, history, anthropology, conservation biology and environmental sciences.

All programs are free and open to the public. Guest parking in Lot 6 costs $6. Permits are available at the information kiosks at the entrances to campus.



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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