In 2001, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, approved the implementation of a pilot phase of the model Ventanilla de Salud “VDS” in the Mexican consulate in San Diego. Supported by the US-Mexico Border Health Commission and the US-Mexico health initiative (now known as Iniciativa de las Américas), The California Endowment approved a grant for a pilot phase in the Mexican consulates in San Diego and Los Angeles (2003).
After two years of development, two evaluation studies and the adaptation process of the pilot, the Mexican government began to replicate this model in other consulates. In 2004, the Mexican government provided funds called ”seed funding” to support and open more Ventanillas in other consulates in the United States. As of today, the Mexican government provides two million dollars in financial support to the program and approximately one million in in-kind support yearly. This funding is matched by organizations, foundations and local sponsorships at every Ventanilla de Salud.
The VDS program has had extraordinary acceptance and growth since its pilot phases in the Mexican consulates of San Diego and Los Angeles. There are currently 50 VDS officially open and operating. This means that the program is present in Mexico’s entire consular network in the United States.
This impressive coverage, coupled with a culturally sensitivity climate of confidence that the consulates inspire and the linking of multiple organizations from both countries make this program and excellent vehicle for health promotion and prevention and for controlling diseases at a binational level within the United States and Mexico.