206984 Missing Link: Engaging Latino communities in health advocacy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:45 PM

Erica Monsalve, LGSW, MSW , Latino Health Collaborative, San Bernardino, CA
Edward McField Jr., PhD, MSA , School of Science & Technology, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Metabolic syndrome related health inequities persist and Latinos continue to lag behind other groups in important health indicators. The obesity epidemic is especially pronounced in the city of San Bernardino, California, where 50 percent of the population is self-described as Latino and 71 percent of adults are overweight or obese (compared to 65 percent in the county and 55 percent statewide). Furthermore, 30 percent of community residents report not having a park, playground, or open space within walking distance of their home, which is more than 8 points over the rate reported throughout the State. People who live in underserved and economically strained communities are often exposed to environmental factors that are not supportive of healthy lifestyles. This presentation describes a grass root strategy to empower communities to advocate for environments that are supportive of healthy choices. The Latino Health Collaborative, a coalition of community members and social service agencies, has implemented an innovative Community Academy for Health Advocacy and Leadership-CAHAL: a community-driven initiative to develop the community's capacity to address community- and systems-level barriers to health and wellness within their own neighborhoods. This presentation describes a) process for engaging mono-lingual Latino immigrants in health advocacy, b) process for developing the CAHAL, and b) community-driven advocacy that resulted in policy and system changes addressing community barriers to healthy choices.

Learning Objectives:
- Describe strategies to promote and enhance community involvement in health disparities and policy development. - Identify factors to successfully engage Latino communities in policy advocacy - Describe strategies to integrate Latino communities in strategies to reduce health disparities.

Keywords: Advocacy, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Extensive experience in community organizing. I'm the Program Manager and Health Advocacy Coordinator of program being presented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.