Jill Guernsey de Zapien

Director, Border/Transborder and Binational Public Health

Office: Roy P. Drachman Hall

Jill Guernsey de Zapien has been working on community-based public health interventions and research in Arizona and throughout the Southwest for more than 20 years. She has collaborated with others in establishing the first lay health educator or Promotora outreach program in Arizona, Health Start, focusing on prenatal care for farm worker women. She is the co-author with her colleagues from the Colegio de Sonora of the Working Beyond Border: A Handbook for Transborder Projects in Health. Her work focuses on building a strong connection between the research, education and service agenda at The University of Arizona and the critical needs of underserved communities in Arizona and the Southwest. Her goal has been to assure that the university participates in a strong agenda for social change and social justice, which will result in improved quality of life in underserved communities.

Her research includes conducting the Primary Health Care Review and the Ambos Nogales Primary Health Care Project. These projects were collaborative initiatives with five U.S. and Mexican research institutions as well as the Pan American Health Organization. Other research has focused on the implementation of numerous community-based studies looking at prevalence and risk factors for a variety of public health concerns, (substance abuse, cancer, lupus, diabetes, etc.).

De Zapien has served as the facilitator for two large binational research initiatives on diabetes and cancer involving participants from academic institutions, public health and community-based organizations and private providers. As co-investigator of the Southwest Center for Community Health Promotion, the Border Health Strategic Initiative, the Reach 2010 Project, and the Center for Health Equality, de Zapien continues to work directly with communities in the Southwest to develop strategies for prevention and control of chronic disease.