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Dan Reyna: a champion of health in the U.S.-Mexico border

It was with deep sorrow that I received the news of the sudden and unexpected departure of a friend and tireless fighter on for border health, Dan Reyna (Daniel Marks Reyna), who died Friday, July 29th, at 59 years of age of a heart attack.

Personally and on behalf of the Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) we send to his family, friends and especially his colleagues, our heartfelt condolences.

Dan Reyna was the General Manager of the U.S. Section of the Border Health Commission, since 2006. Aditionally, he had a long career dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of people living on the border between Mexico and the United States, having worked in the Texas Department of State Health Services and as Director of the Office of Border Health of New Mexico between 1993 and 2006.



Link to the gallery: http://bitly.com/DanReyna

Born in Brownsville, Texas, United States, Reyna graduated in 1974 from the A & I University, Kingsville, Texas with a degree in Secondary Education. In 1982, he obtained a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso and then he studied law at St. Mary's Law School. In 2000, he also earned a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, Pennsylvania.

As a retired colonel of the U.S. Army Reserve between 2003 and 2004, Reyna served in Afghanistan as the Chief Health Action and as liaison with Coalition Forces and multiple national ministries, including the Ministry of Health. Several years earlier, he also served in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Among his numerous awards, includes the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit.

It was his tireless work on improving health on the border that binds Dan Reyna with PAHO/WHO. His sudden absence hurts us deeply. His collaboration, particularly with the PAHO/WHO U.S.-Mexico Border Office, began in 1998 as a member and then as chairman of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association.

For many years, Reyna was a close associate in the organization of the Infant Immunization Week and Vaccination Week in the Americas. He actively participated in the coordination of events and activities with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and with the PAHO/WHO Border Office to highlight the importance of vaccination in the border region. Also, he strongly supported the implementation of the activities of the Binational Border Health Week, through joint activities with the PAHO/WHO Office and other partners.

As a member of the U.S.-Mexico Border Virtual Health Library Advisory Committee, Dan Reyna helped promote its use and strengthen border health research and included the PAHO/WHO Office in the Research Expert Panel and in border research forums.

Dan Reyna was the key for setting the strategic alignment in order to establish health priorities in the border, which culminated in a joint statement by the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, the PAHO/WHO U.S.-Mexico Border Office. He distinguished himself by always fervently defending his beliefs by promoting important health arrangements for the border, managing resources and being a forceful spokesman for the border states to the Federation.

Dan, as he is familiarly known, visited our regional office a few weeks ago, accompanying the annual visit of the commissioners to Washington, D.C.. How could we imagine that this would be his farewell! His departure, so unexpected, is a tremendous loss to the health community and in particular to border health.

Mirta Roses
Director

 

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