Health City of Laredo comprehensive plan

Overall Goal: Improve the overall physical and mental health of Laredo citizens by increasing the quality of life in the region.


Goal 7.1: Address the health needs of all residents in the region through collaboration and coordination among local, state, and binational entities.

Policy 7.1.1: Partner with local, state, and binational entities to prevent health related problems through prevention programs and policies.

a. City Health Director continues to serve as Vice Chair of the Texas Border Public Health Task Force partnering with all of the local public health department from El Paso to Brownsville and the Texas Department of State Health Services to develop policies, programs, and provide guidance on local public measures to improve prevention, wellness, environmental health, maternal child health and disease control services with adequate resources.

b. The Health Director continues to serve on the State, Territorial, Local and Tribal Health office to provide guidance on border health service to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

c. The Health Director was appointed in February 2019 to the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Border Cooperation Actions between US/Mexico and Canada.

d. Binational Council Meetings (Consejo Binacional de Salud) are ongoing and have expanded into epidemiology and public health preparedness and response to exchange communicable disease information and respond to a public health emergency. Meetings regarding tuberculosis binational cases also continue. Recently created was a chat group via the WhatsApp platform with pertinent public health personnel to exchange disease information instantaneously.


Goal 7.2: Reduce Exposure To Environmental Risk Factors

Policy 7.2.4: Increase access to safe water by continuing to educate citizens and visitors on practices that reduce groundwater pollution, such as proper disposal of medicines, chemicals, batteries, and hazardous materials.

Hazardous Waste Collection Events: The City maintains a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center at the City’s Landfill which is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To further encourage the proper disposal of household hazardous waste, the City’s Department of Environmental Services biannually conducts hazardous waste collection events at a central location site. During the last event held in May 2019, the City collected over 53,546 pounds of hazardous waste.


Goal 7.3: Encourage physical activity through the design of the built environment.

Policy 7.3.7: Work with Parks and Leisure Services Department, and the Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) where appropriate, to invest in a recreational infrastructure that provides not only recreational walking, jogging, and cycling, but also may provide an alternative to car trips. Such infrastructure may include trails (multi-use, hiking, equestrian, jogging), cycle tracks, bike lanes, parks, and restored or conserved wild areas. Use the Rio Grande and stream networks as a multi-use recreational amenities.

o The City has implemented this policy and has constructed hike and bike networks throughout Chacon, Manadas, Zacate, and is currently working on the design of trails on the River Vega.

o Seven (7) new bike racks were bought with Health Department funding and were installed at various parks to facilitate alternative modes of transportation that incorporate physical activity.

Policy 7.3.8: Work with Parks and Leisure Services Department to integrate fixed, durable outdoor fitness equipment in parks that allow for flexibility and resistance training.

The City installed “QR-Fit” stations at four parks that provide 12 workout sessions at each station. Users have free access to professional fitness guidance and a link to a mobile app that participants can use to monitor their individual exercise progress.


Goal 7.5: Create a food system in which city residents can meet their proper nutritional needs.

Policy 7.5.1: Encourage local groceries and convenient stores to stock nutritional food across all stores.

  • The City Health Department offers nutrition services through the Women Infants and Children (WIC) Nutritional Supplemental Program and actively works with the Mayors Active Living Council, the Food Policy Council, local grocers, farmers market vendors and the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to promote better and healthier food choices.
  • The City encourages cultivating homegrown fruits and vegetables by providing training and hands on gardening experience to the community at the Canseco House and other community gardens.
  • When the Downtown HEB closed its doors, a great void was created in meeting the nutrition and grocery needs of the residents of Downtown and neighboring areas. The City of Laredo entered into partnership with New Vision Church by renovating and making available the space at the former Southern Hotel in which the organization could provide food pantry and market services to the general public. Benefiting from this service are the elderly, many of whom reside in Downtown and have limited transportation.

Policy 7.5.2. (i): initiate research, policies, and programs that increase food security, improve health outcomes, and create social and economic opportunities to attempt to ensure that every resident has access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. – Continue to support the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to improve the nutrition of vulnerable members of the population.

Santo Nino Community Center Rehabilitation: The newly renovated Santo Nino Community Center now serves as a neighborhood site to provide health services through the Women infants and Children’s (WIC) Program. Women with children 5 years of age and younger who are of low income are provided supplemental foods, health referrals and counseling. This project consisted of the rehabilitation of a city owed building at a cost of $365,000.


Goal 7.7: Discourage substance abuse.

Policy 7.7.5: Encourage programs focused upon drug counseling, rehabilitation and sobriety.

Detox Facility Planned: The City’s Health Department is working with City Council and City Attorney’s Office to establish Chapter 351 commission to address, fund, and establish a detox facility. The Department also serves as city staff liaison for the Drug and Alcohol Commission and assists in initiatives set forth by members for efforts to reduce and/or prevent substance use and abuse and in collaborating community efforts to create and sustain a detox facility long term.


Goal 7.8: Improve access to medical care.

Policy 7.8.6: Complete the development of the laboratory response network (LRN) at the Laredo Health Department for local, regional, and international disease control.

Laboratory Response Network: State licensing agency for Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendment (CLIA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are conducting inspections of the City’s laboratory to fulfill Laboratory Response Network (LRN) requirements. The City continues to seek funding to sustain LRN.

Policy 7.8.7: Promote the integration of disease self-management and behavioral health screening, and education into primary care.

The City’s Health Department continues to conduct Disease Self-Management (DSM) education and early access to Primary Care, including providing awareness and prevention of degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease management and treatment. The Department is licensed to teach the Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) Curriculum, from the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as train Peer Educators in the community to disseminate this information and engage the community in self-management practices to reduce the risk of Diabetes and co-morbidities. In further support of this initiative, the Health Department has increased its social media presence and DSM promotion and has added a night session that consistently enrolls over 30 people for each eight (8) week session. A hundred and twenty persons (120) have participated to date.