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R.C. Ortega immigrated to the Texas border during the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution. Upon seeing the unmet health needs of large numbers of Mexicans throughout the state and the dismal tuberculosis mortality rates among Mexicans, he began working as a health educator in Mexican communities along the border. During his thirty year career in public health, Ortega developed a unique approach to health education. Through his efforts, he considerably reduced the disease burden among Mexicans in Texas and introduced an awareness of health disparity and a commitment to cultural competency among public health workers in the United States.