The Texas Healthy Start Alliance has named BCFS Health and Human Services’ (BCFS HHS) Laura Echeverria “Distinguished Practitioner of the Year.” This honor recognizes individuals with exceptional professional achievement and leadership in maternal and child health, and who make selfless contributions to their community with the aim of improving the health of women, children and families.
“Laura approaches her work with such selflessness and compassion,” said Cindi Garcia, executive director of BCFS HHS’ Community-based Services Division. “Her own experience as an immigrant to this country allows her to make very special connections with our mothers, earning their trust so they allow us to provide them with critical medical care that ensures their babies are born healthy and strong.”
“We are proud of Laura and congratulate her on this award,” she continued.
Echeverria began her career as a registered nurse and certified promotora in Mexico. Thirty years ago she immigrated to the United States, yet found that her credentials would not be recognized. She therefore worked in hotel housekeeping for 18 years while she learned English and obtained the experience and credentials she needed to return to her life’s work. She has served with BCFS Health and Human Services for 12 years, and is presently a case manager for the organization’s Healthy Start Laredo program. During this time, Echeverria is credited with the healthy pregnancy and successful delivery of thousands of healthy new babies.
BCFS HHS’ Healthy Start Laredo program was established in 2001 in an effort to decrease disparities in access to maternal and child healthcare. Since transportation is limited or nonexistent for many families served by BCFS HHS, Healthy Start Laredo travels to clients, providing mobile medical care, case management, and other comprehensive services to Colonia residents along the U.S. border with Mexico. Thanks to the program, more women in Laredo now receive prenatal care than ever before.
Women who are pregnant or have a child/children younger than 2 years of age are eligible for free services. Services provided by BCFS HHS include:
- Prenatal and postpartum care via mobile unit
- Health education and parenting education
- Pediatric services
- Laboratory services
- Pharmacy services
- Mental health services
- Outpatient case management services to address the medical, social, financial, educational, legal, housing, parenting and employment areas of the served families