Webinar 4/10/15: Using Storytelling to Fight Diabetes and Obesity

IMG_9214You’re invited to register for a webinar at 1-2:30 p.m. ET, April 10, 2015, on the power of storytelling as a public health tool in preventing diabetes and obesity.

The webinar, which will take place during National Public Health Week on April 6-12, 2015, will feature a panel of community workers and researchers doing work in vulnerable communities from two cutting-edge projects.

Natasha Huey and José Vadi will share the exciting work of The Bigger Picture campaign, which inspires young people to give voice to their stories using spoken word to change the conversation about the disease and the social and environmental factors that have led to its spread.

Researchers Jayme Hannay and Rob Dudley, with support from Salud America! (a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program on Latino childhood obesity directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio), worked with teens to empower them to tell their own stories, using cameras to document topics of urgent community concern, (e.g., an abundance of vacant buildings, trashed parks) and develop an action agenda.

Teens built on their photo stories by raising awareness in their community and engaging with policy makers, health professionals, and community leaders to create a healthier environment.

Register for the webinar to learn more about these two projects.

This webinar is part of a Health Communication Matters Series sponsored by the Center for Public Health Practice and the APHA Health Communication Working Group.

See our Salud Heroes webpage or YouTube page for more example of public health storytelling!


Study: Latino Seniors Spend Half Their Remaining Lives with a Disability

Elderly womanAlthough Latinos tend to live longer than other ethnic groups, they also spend a high proportion of their later years with disability, according to a new study, Health Canal reports.

In fact, Latinos ages 65 and older spend half their remaining years with serious physical impairments.

The study, which followed a cohort of several thousand Mexican Americans for 18 years, evaluated physical performance—balance, standing, walking, grip strength, and the ability to get out of a chair.

Respondents with less education and lower financial stability were more likely to experience functional decline than those with higher levels of education and financial stability, and older women who were born in Mexico suffered longer periods of disability, according to Health Canal.

This means many older Mexican Americans need extensive care, either from their families or others, which has implications for Mexican-American families and for long-term care policy.

“These findings reveal that poverty and lifelong disadvantages seriously undermine the health of many older Mexican Americans,” Jacqueline L. Angel, a study author from the University of Texas at Austin, told Health Canal. “Our data also show though that the family steps in to provide care to even seriously impaired older parents, we must develop policies and programs that complement the family in their ability to provide care to older infirm parents in order to improve the quality of life of both the older parents and their caregivers.”

5 Ways to Set the Stage for Success by Latino Youth

latino youthYou’ve probably heard stories of how a Latino youth achieved success and overcame poverty, unsafe neighborhoods, discrimination, and other barriers.

But how can more youth find such success?

A new report by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) examines the personal, environmental, and cultural factors that help resilient youth to learn from adversity and excel.

The report mines several success stories and suggests these five steps:

Tap into the natural resiliency of Latino youth. These qualities include optimism, perseverance, social skills, empathy, a strong willingness to give back to their communities and family and cultural traits such as responsibility and family solidarity.

Help their families escape poverty through living wages and affordable housing. One-third of Latino children are in poverty today, which extends for generations and is the basis of many other problems.

Implement policies. Policies like the “REDEEM Act,” reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and support Common Core State Standards so schools will better meet the needs of Latino students and improve their graduation rate.

Fund culturally appropriate, holistic programs that support youth development, mental health and academic and workforce skills, and introduce students to new interests and technologies. For youth and families living in poor immigrant neighborhoods, community-based interventions such as the NCLR Escalera Program provide important support including career exploration, skills and leadership development, personal development, academic support and overall well-being.

Provide mentors who can help youth become ready for a successful future. Community-based organizations provide critical supports to help youth overcome adversity usually rooted in poverty, discrimination, inadequate education and violent neighborhoods.

“The guidance and support that adults can provide to young people at risk is literally lifesaving in helping them overcome challenges,” said report author Dr. Patricia Foxen of NCLR. “We must make sure that youth today have an after-school program or mentor looking out for them.”

#SaludTues Tweetchat 3/31/15: How to Bring Fitness Back to Schools & Why This Matters to Latinos

IOM Fitness in Schools blog pic-minLatino kids get fewer of the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity AND are more likely to engage in sedentary behaviors, like watching TV, research shows.

What can be done to help more Latino kids be active?

One of the greatest ways to address inactivity in children is to reach kids is where they spend most of their time—at school.

Research has shown that programs that offer physical activity, both during school and after school hours, not only help kids remain active and prevent obesity, but also help students perform better academically.

On March 31, 2015, let’s use #SaludTues to tweet about ideas, tips, stories and strategies to work toward a healthier school fitness environment:

  • WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “How to Bring Fitness Back to Schools & Why This Matters to Latinos”
  • DATE: Tuesday, March, 31, 2015
  • TIME: Noon CST (1:00 PM ET)
  • WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues
  • HOST: @SaludToday
  • CO-HOSTS: Institute of Medicine (@the IOM) & Child Obesity 180 (@ChildObesity180)

We’ll open the floor to your stories and experiences as we explore:

  • Why physical activity throughout the school day is so important for Latino kids.
  • Which health risks are associated with a lack of physical activity among Latino children.
  • Some of the myths about physical activity & physical education at school.
  • Why recess is an important part of the school day for Latino kids.
  • How can we make the most of after school programming to increase physical activity for Latino kids.

Be sure to use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter, share your stories and share resources that can help improve Latino health and fitness.

#SaludTues is a weekly Tweetchat about Latino health at 12p CST/1p ET every Tuesday and hosted by @SaludToday, the Latino health social media campaign for the team at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, which directs Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children.

7-year-old Boy among 20,000 Latinos on Kidney Transplant List


Anthony Rivera

More than 20,000 U.S. Latinos are on kidney transplant lists, struggling to survive as they wait for a potential life-saving organ donation.

Just like 7-year-old Anthony Rivera.

The family of Anthony, who live in Illinois, took him to the doctor after he was too fatigued to play outside and had swollen eyes. They found out he was experiencing renal failure due to kidney disease.

He has to get peritoneal dialysis three times a week and his teacher now home-schools him—often in the hospital.

“I wake him up at five in the morning and we are back home by 10 a.m.,” said Josefina Rivera, his mother. “He lays down to rest and after sleeping a bit, he gets back up to greet his teacher.”

As the Latino population continues to grow, so does the waiting list and the critical need for Latino donors and their families to support organ donation.

To celebrate National Kidney and Diabetes Month, the organization Gift of Hope has a message from people who like the Rivera family are in need of a miracle: “Donation is a beautiful gift, and if we can share life with others, we should not waste the opportunity.”

The organization has donation information in English and Spanish.

“One encounters many people who believe they cannot register to become donors because they have diabetes or any other illnesses, and this is not true,” said Raiza Mendoza, Gift of Hope’s manager of Hispanic affairs. “We should all register and leave it up to the doctors to determine what can be donated and what cannot when the moment arises.”

Study: Large Portion of Latinos Still Lack Internet Access

Sharing some stuff on a phoneThe so-called digital divide in Internet use between Latinos and whites is smaller than what it was a few years ago, studied have shown.

However, a new study found that less-educated Latinos still lack adequate access to broadband Internet, and it prevents them from matching the economic, educational, and healthcare outcomes of their peers in other ethnic groups.

The new data, from the Hispanic Institute, indicate that 91% of Latino families with some college use the Internet, compared with 58% of those with less than a high school diploma.

The latter group’s low educational attainment already impedes their employment prospects, and their ability to secure health insurance.

A lack of Internet access exacerbates those woes.

“Without reliable access to the Internet, Hispanics cannot participate fully in American society,” said Gus West, president of the Hispanic Institute. “The best job and educational opportunities have moved online. If Hispanics are to take advantage of them, they’ll need to follow them into cyberspace.”

A viable Internet connection remains one of the best ways Latinos can take a step ahead, West said.

“If Hispanics are to catch up to the economic, educational, and healthcare achievements of their peers, policymakers and the telecommunications industry must take steps to expand Internet access in Hispanic communities,” he said.

Poll: Latino Parents More Positive about Their Kids’ Futures

pollLatino parents are generally positive about the future, spending more time with their children than their parents did with them, according to a new NBC News: Education Nation poll.

The poll, which interviewed 803 U.S. parents or guardians, indicates that all parents agree more than a high school diploma is needed to achieve the American Dream, including good social and communication skills, but there are gaps in just how positive parents are, largely based on their income, race, level of education and marital status.

Latino parents were especially optimistic.

They were more likely to believe their children will be better off than they are (65%) than whites (40%) and blacks (59%), and less likely to say their children will face more problems growing up than they did (59%) than whites (66%) and blacks (72%).

However, Latino parents also had the highest percentage of “wishing they could do more” for their child’s education, which they rated at lower quality than whites and blacks.

Larissa Rollins, a mother and high school teacher in Texas, told NBC News she’s encouraged by parents’ involvement, but more could be done.

“[Parents] play the greatest role in their children’s success,” Rollins told NBC News. “That’s why it’s important for educators to see them as partners in the process and help welcome them and support them so that we can make a difference in these children’s lives. If we all work together to give kids the foundation that they need, they should be ready to excel in college and beyond.”

Read more about the poll in English or Spanish.

NBC News’ Parent Toolkit website offers way parents can help their child’s education.

Study: Latinas with Breast Cancer Are Less Involved in Choosing Care Providers

Latina and black women are less likely than white women to pick their surgeon and hospital for treatment based on reputation, according to a new, Medical Express reports.

Instead, they rely more on physician referrals and health plans for those decisions.

The study, published in JAMA Oncology, suggests less-active involvement of minority patients with regard to selecting physicians and hospitals for their care.

“Most women relied on referrals from their physicians for selecting surgeons, particularly black women and Spanish-speaking Hispanic women. In addition, minority patients were less likely to report reputation as an important component of their decisions about surgeons and hospitals and were more likely to select a hospital because it was part of their health plan,” according to the study, Medical Express reported

Promotion of thoughtful decision-making when choosing a physician and hospital may be an important part of addressing treatment disparities among racial/ethnic women.

“Interventions to promote involvement in provider selection may have potential for addressing disparities related to care from lower-quality providers and may improve satisfaction with care,” Dr. Rachel A. Freedman of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told HemOnc Today.

Watch the Award-Winning ‘Salud Heroes’ Video Series

Rick Carrillo

Rick Carrillo, Salud America! TV Producer/Director

The Salud Heroes video series shows how real people have made healthy changes for Latino kids across the country, to inspire others to make similar changes.

Now the series can be called “award-winning.”

More than 40 awards have been given to the Salud Heroes video series and online Growing Healthy Change website, which are produced by Salud America!, a Latino childhood obesity research network funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by Dr. Amelie Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. The recognition is from the AVA Digital Awards, Communicator Awards, Telly Awards, Aurora Awards, Web Health Awards, HERMES Awards, Davey Awards, and W³ Awards.

Just this week, Rick Carrillo, Salud America! TV producer/director, was named a finalist for the “Best in Show: YouTube” award from WEGO Health, which recognizes “exceptional health activists who make a difference in the lives of patients and caregivers.”

Ramirez said Carrillo and the rest of the Salud America! team work hard to promote Latino health.

“We’re humbled by the ongoing recognition of our videos, website, and team, and we hope people will continue to learn from and use our materials as fuel to make healthy changes that improve the lives of Latino children and families across the nation,” Dr. Ramirez said.

Check out the Growing Healthy Change website and watch the Salud Heroes YouTube channel.

3 Reasons Why Latina Moms Should ‘Think Teeth’

Latina Oral Health

(Photo source: Mouth Healthy, ADA, http://goo.gl/XGChnl)

When we think about prenatal care the first thing that comes to mind might not be teeth. However, Latina moms must be aware that the health of a woman’s teeth is actually linked to the health of her child.

Nearly 59% of women do not receive counseling about oral health during pregnancy and many mistakenly believe they should not seek dental care during pregnancy.

In one study, Latina women were significantly less likely than black or white women to receive dental care during pregnancy. Latina women were also less likely to have their teeth cleaned during pregnancy than white women (25% vs. 44%).

According to the Children’s Dental Health Project, 4 in 10 pregnant women have tooth decay or gum disease, which puts their children at a higher risk for poor oral health. Some studies have found an association between gum disease and pre-term or low-birth weight babies.

While accessing high quality dental care providers can be a challenge for some Latinos, here are three reasons that Latina moms should make every effort to seek dental health care for themselves and their children.

  • Maintaining good oral health keeps mom and baby healthy. Brushing & flossing daily, using a fluoride toothpaste and consuming a healthy diet, can greatly reduce the chances of tooth decay. Also, regular visits to the dentist and teeth cleanings during pregnancy can also improve oral health for moms to be.
  • Pregnancy is a key moment to form good habits. Latina moms with good oral health habits are more likely to pass on the same behaviors to their children.
  • Pregnant women in some states are eligible for free dental coverage. Through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), children enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP are covered for dental services. In some states women of low-income may also qualify for free or reduced cost services.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has excellent, free-to-order flyers which can be used to promote good oral health among pregnant women. Access these resources and more by visiting the links below:

Free ‘Think Teeth’ Educational Materials
Resources on Oral Health & Pregnant Women (via the Children’s Dental Health Project).

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