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    Welcome to final day of the Health Equity Can’t Wait! blog carnival. In the spirit of National Minority Health Month—a nationwide campaign from our friends in the Office of Minority Health—members and friends of the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) Community Working Group are taking to the blogosphere to talk about the opportunities and challenges we face in realizing a country where everyone has an equal opportunity to be healthy and thrive.

    We’re tackling a different theme each day—check out what our earlier bloggers had to say. On Wednesday, our friends talked about the ways that their organizations and communities are taking action to advance health equity. Yesterday, posters explored the question of whether health is a civil and/or human right. Today, we wrap up by exploring the diversity of experiences within health disparities communities.

    Our working group recognizes that we do not live “single-issue” lives and must take a holistic approach to advancing health equity. We realize that subpopulations within communities of color face compounded barriers such as, but not limited to, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, citizenship and immigration status, primary language, geographic location, socioeconomic status, and income. Today, we recognize the work being done to advance health equity at the intersections of racial/ethnic and other identities.

    ****
    Our final question to bloggers is: How does race/ethnicity intersect with other identities in ways that compound barriers to health care and lead to health disparities, and how do you approach these concerns?

    Chasing the Sunlight of Opportunity by Kellan Baker, MPH, MA, Health Policy Analyst, LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress

    Health Equity Can’t Wait Because Millions of Lives Are on the Line by Sandra Yang, Health Equity Department Families USA

    Indigenous Farmworkers Face Unique Barriers to Healthcare by Alexis Guild, Migrant Health Policy Analyst, Farmworker Justice

    Surviving at the Intersections—Barriers to Health for API Women by Shivana Jorawar, Esq., Reproductive Justice Fellow, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

    Clearing the Path to Health Equity Requires Removing Roadblocks for Immigrants by Kara D. Ryan, Senior Research Analyst, Health Policy Project, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

    Eliminating Disparities in Maternal Health by Christine Monahan, Health Policy Advisor and Kalahn Taylor-Clark, Director of Health Policy, National Partnership for Women & Families

    Health Equity At The Intersections: Latino/a and LGBT Health by Veronica Bayetti, Policy Research Specialist at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and Patrick Paschall, Esq., Policy Advocate at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

    Raising Our Voices For Health Equity by Keely Monroe, JD Program Coordinator and Law Students for Reproductive Justice Fellow, National Women's Health Network

    Why Are Women of Color Still Dying in Childbirth? by Jasmine Burnett, Community Organizer, Raising Women’s Voices-NY, guest blogger for Community Catalyst

    Addressing Disparities, Promoting Health Equity and Ending HIV/AIDS by Jeffrey Levi, PhD, Executive Director of Trust for America’s Health

    Health Care Equity Can’t Wait—Women with Compounding Barriers by Lacy Langbecker, MSW, Field Student/Intern, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health

    Why Do Poverty, Poor Health and Unequal Opportunity Persist in the Lives of So Many African Americans? by Otis Pitts, JD, MPH, Operations Manager for The City of Hartford Health and Human Services

    A Movement for National Minority Health Month by Kathy Kim Lo, President, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

    The White House Hosts Conference in Atlanta on HIV/AIDS in LGBT Communities by Charles Stephens, Southern Regional Organizer, AIDS United

    Race, Sex and Health Care: The Math Adds up to ACA by Dania Palanker, Senior Health Policy Advisor, National Women's Law Center

    P.S. Today’s the day! Join us today, April 27, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT, to cap off National Minority Health Month with a Twitter chat! Follow hashtag #HealthEquityNow to join in on the conversation. We’ll be re-tweeting and sharing your thoughts! New to Twitter? Create an account or check out some frequently asked questions to get started.



    ****
    Earlier posts:
    From your perspective, is health care a civil and/or human right?


    Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care is a Human Right by Aurelia Aceves, National Urban Fellow, Community Catalyst

    Health Care is a Human Right for All by Alexis Guild, Migrant Health Policy Analyst, Farmworker Justice

    Health Care is Always a Human Right by Christine Soyong Harley, Policy and Programs Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

    Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity by Sergio Eduardo Muñoz, Senior Policy Analyst, Health Policy Project, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

    Redefining Health: Community Prevention As a Human Right by Ben Simons, Program Coordinator, Prevention Institute

    Health As a Fundamental Human Right by Anjela Jenkins, Policy Analyst & Law Students for Reproductive Justice Legal Fellow, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

    Health Equity Can’t Wait: Why? Because Health Care is a Basic Human Right! by Lacy Langbecker, MSW, Field Student/Intern, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health

     

    ****
    What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    Working Toward Health Equity Together by Quynh Chi Nguyen, Program and Policy Associate, and Aurelia Aceves, National Urban Fellow, Community Catalyst

    Promoting the Health Care Law Today because Health Equity Can’t Wait by Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, Director of Health Equity, Families USA

    Farmworker Justice: Advancing Health Equity through Education and Advocacy by Alexis Guild, Migrant Health Policy Analyst, Farmworker Justice

    Maryland Has Said—Now is the Time for Health Equity! by Leni Preston, Chair, Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform

    United We Stand: Achieving Health Equity for All by Kellan Baker, MPH, MA, Health Policy Analyst, LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress; Patrick Paschall, Esq., Policy Advocate, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Harper Jean Tobin, Esq., Policy Counsel, National Center for Transgender Equality

    Health Equity is a Matter of Reproductive Justice by Natalie D. Camastra, Reproductive Justice Public Policy Fellow, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

    Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice: Eliminating Health Disparities by Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Trust for America's Health

    African American Elder Health Disparities by Delane Sims Founder/Chair, Senior Moments

    Our Communities Count: Advancing Health Equity by Improving Data by Rebecca Spence, Reproductive Justice Fellow, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum

    Health Equity Can’t Wait: Supporting A Health Equity Agenda In Wisconsin by Lacy Langbecker, MSW, Field Student/Intern, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health


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    Welcome to final day of the Health Equity Can’t Wait! blog carnival. In the spirit of National Minority Health Month—a nationwide campaign from our friends in the Office of Minority Health—members and friends of the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) Community Working Group are taking to the blogosphere to talk about the opportunities and challenges we face in realizing a country where everyone has an equal opportunity to be healthy and thrive.

    We’re tackling a different theme each day—check out what our earlier bloggers had to say. On Wednesday, our friends talked about the ways that their organizations and communities are taking action to advance health equity. Yesterday, posters explored the question of whether health is a civil and/or human right. Today, we wrap up by exploring the diversity of experiences within health disparities communities.

    Our working group recognizes that we do not live “single-issue” lives and must take a holistic approach to advancing health equity. We realize that subpopulations within communities of color face compounded barriers such as, but not limited to, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, citizenship and immigration status, primary language, geographic location, socioeconomic status, and income. Today, we recognize the work being done to advance health equity at the intersections of racial/ethnic and other identities.

    ****
    Our final question to bloggers is: How does race/ethnicity intersect with other identities in ways that compound barriers to health care and lead to health disparities, and how do you approach these concerns?

    Chasing the Sunlight of Opportunity by Kellan Baker, MPH, MA, Health Policy Analyst, LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress

    Health Equity Can’t Wait Because Millions of Lives Are on the Line by Sandra Yang, Health Equity Department Families USA

    Indigenous Farmworkers Face Unique Barriers to Healthcare by Alexis Guild, Migrant Health Policy Analyst, Farmworker Justice

    Surviving at the Intersections—Barriers to Health for API Women by Shivana Jorawar, Esq., Reproductive Justice Fellow, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

    Clearing the Path to Health Equity Requires Removing Roadblocks for Immigrants by Kara D. Ryan, Senior Research Analyst, Health Policy Project, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

    Eliminating Disparities in Maternal Health by Christine Monahan, Health Policy Advisor and Kalahn Taylor-Clark, Director of Health Policy, National Partnership for Women & Families

    Health Equity At The Intersections: Latino/a and LGBT Health by Veronica Bayetti, Policy Research Specialist at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and Patrick Paschall, Esq., Policy Advocate at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

    Raising Our Voices For Health Equity by Keely Monroe, JD Program Coordinator and Law Students for Reproductive Justice Fellow, National Women's Health Network

    Why Are Women of Color Still Dying in Childbirth? by Jasmine Burnett, Community Organizer, Raising Women’s Voices-NY, guest blogger for Community Catalyst

    Addressing Disparities, Promoting Health Equity and Ending HIV/AIDS by Jeffrey Levi, PhD, Executive Director of Trust for America’s Health

    Health Care Equity Can’t Wait—Women with Compounding Barriers by Lacy Langbecker, MSW, Field Student/Intern, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health

    Why Do Poverty, Poor Health and Unequal Opportunity Persist in the Lives of So Many African Americans? by Otis Pitts, JD, MPH, Operations Manager for The City of Hartford Health and Human Services

    A Movement for National Minority Health Month by Kathy Kim Lo, President, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

    P.S. Today’s the day! Join us today, April 27, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT, to cap off National Minority Health Month with a Twitter chat! Follow hashtag #HealthEquityNow to join in on the conversation. We’ll be re-tweeting and sharing your thoughts! New to Twitter? Create an account or check out some frequently asked questions to get started.



    ****
    Earlier posts:
    From your perspective, is health care a civil and/or human right?


    Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care is a Human Right by Aurelia Aceves, National Urban Fellow, Community Catalyst

    Health Care is a Human Right for All by Alexis Guild, Migrant Health Policy Analyst, Farmworker Justice

    Health Care is Always a Human Right by Christine Soyong Harley, Policy and Programs Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

    Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity by Sergio Eduardo Muñoz, Senior Policy Analyst, Health Policy Project, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

    Redefining Health: Community Prevention As a Human Right by Ben Simons, Program Coordinator, Prevention Institute

    Health As a Fundamental Human Right by Anjela Jenkins, Policy Analyst & Law Students for Reproductive Justice Legal Fellow, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

    Health Equity Can’t Wait: Why? Because Health Care is a Basic Human Right! by Lacy Langbecker, MSW, Field Student/Intern, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health

     

    ****
    What is your organization or community doing to advance a health equity mission?

    Working Toward Health Equity Together by Quynh Chi Nguyen, Program and Policy Associate, and Aurelia Aceves, National Urban Fellow, Community Catalyst

    Promoting the Health Care Law Today because Health Equity Can’t Wait by Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, Director of Health Equity, Families USA

    Farmworker Justice: Advancing Health Equity through Education and Advocacy by Alexis Guild, Migrant Health Policy Analyst, Farmworker Justice

    Maryland Has Said—Now is the Time for Health Equity! by Leni Preston, Chair, Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform

    United We Stand: Achieving Health Equity for All by Kellan Baker, MPH, MA, Health Policy Analyst, LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress; Patrick Paschall, Esq., Policy Advocate, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Harper Jean Tobin, Esq., Policy Counsel, National Center for Transgender Equality

    Health Equity is a Matter of Reproductive Justice by Natalie D. Camastra, Reproductive Justice Public Policy Fellow, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

    Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice: Eliminating Health Disparities by Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Trust for America's Health

    African American Elder Health Disparities by Delane Sims Founder/Chair, Senior Moments

    Our Communities Count: Advancing Health Equity by Improving Data by Rebecca Spence, Reproductive Justice Fellow, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum

    Health Equity Can’t Wait: Supporting A Health Equity Agenda In Wisconsin by Lacy Langbecker, MSW, Field Student/Intern, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: How does race/ethnicity intersect with other identities in ways that compound barriers to health care and lead to health disparities, and how do you approach these concerns?

    The White House Hosts Conference in Atlanta on HIV/AIDS in LGBT Communities
    by Charles Stephens, Southern Regional Organizer, AIDS United

    The White House held a conference focused HIV/AIDS in LGBT communities on the campus of Morehouse School of Medicine on Thursday April 19, 2012. AIDS United Southern REACH grantee Georgia Equality, was instrumental in the planning of the historic event with other key community stakeholders in Georgia.

    The conference opened with remarks from Gautam Raghavan, LGBT liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement. Following him was Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, Dean of Morehouse School of Medicine (and former AIDS United Trustee), who urged the community to transform “health disparities into health equities,” and highlighted Morehouse School of Medicine’s commitment to ending health disparities in marginalized communities. Rounding out the early morning speakers was Dr. Grant Colfax, the recently appointed White House Director of National AIDS Policy, who spoke about the possibility of achieving an AIDS free generation.

    Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) talked about the impact of HIV/AIDS on LGBT communities in general, and young black men that have sex with men (MSM) in particular. There has been a sharp rise of HIV infections among young black MSM, which is a 50% increase between 2006-2009. Dr. Fenton went on to talk about some of the drivers of the epidemic, including social factors like stigma, among the country’s more vulnerable populations. Fenton was particularly passionate about the role homophobia plays in the epidemic in LGBT communities, and insisted that a more holistic approach has to be adapted in grappling with the social drivers of the epidemic. Dr. Fenton also indicated that as education and income decrease, HIV prevalence increases. He affirmed CDC’s commitment to the health and wellness of gay men, and said that the agency will be launching more social marketing campaigns as well as other initiatives to target vulnerable populations.

    The first panel of the day “Overcoming Disparities, Getting to Equity,” was moderated by Allison Nichols of the U.S. Department of Justice. The panelists included: Loida Bonney of Emory University, Beverly Guy-Sheftall of Spelman College, Rhonda Holliday of Morehouse School of Medicine, Reverend Edwin Sanders of Metropolitan Interdenominational Church and Patrick Sullivan of Emory University. Sullivan asserted that “homophobia is a Public Health hazard.” The panelists went on to talk about the lack of resources and challenges faced by the transgender community in accessing HIV care.

    The second panel was led by former Surgeon General David Satcher on “Improving Health Outcomes through Science, Policy and Practice.” The panel included Vignetta Charles, Senior Vice President of AIDS United; Michael Horberg of Kaiser Permanente; Vel McKleroy of CDC; and Patrick Sullivan. The panelists addressed how to best overcome the barrier between Science and Policy, the importance of looking at not only the challenges of the transgender community but also the resilience. Vignetta Charles indicated that AIDS United’s Access to Care program works closely with LGBT communities, and pointed out how everyone in the room is impacted by anti-gay stigma.

    David Malebranche, Professor at the Emory University School of Medicine, was the lunch time plenary speaker and provided fascinating insight into the nuisances of sexual pleasure and sexual health. He also spoke about the importance of addressing intersectionality, which is the multiple identities that we inhabit, and how those identities shape our worldview.

    The afternoon wrapped up with a series of workshops which included: Leadership Development and Organizational Capacity Building for LGBT Organizations, Medical Provider Readiness, Successful LGBT HIV Prevention and Access to Care Programs, Needs of MSM and Transgender Youth, Community Partnerships, and Couples. The conference provided an excellent blueprint for how we address the disparities of HIV in LGBT communities. The next White House LGBT Summit will be in Minneapolis, MN on April 28.

    This post first appeared on the AIDS United blog. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and AIDS United.


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    During one of the biggest Supreme Court cases in immigration history, NCLR was present alongside fellow organizations --delivering strong leadership for Latinos.


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: How does race/ethnicity intersect with other identities in ways that compound barriers to health care and lead to health disparities, and how do you approach these concerns?

    A Movement for National Minority Health Month
    by Kathy Kim Lo, President, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

    This month, organizations around the nation are celebrating National Minority Health Month and joining together to voice their concerns about health and health care disparities in their communities and how to work together to achieve health equity. Communities of color and low-income populations experience a number of health- and health care-related disparities caused by a range of socioeconomic factors including difficulties accessing affordable care and insurance coverage, and language and cultural barriers. These disparities have been documented by the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine, and more recently, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality's National Health Care Disparities report, which found that health care quality and care continue to be suboptimal for minority and low-income communities and that people of color received worse care than whites on a number of issues.

    Communities of color need a multi-disciplinary approach to achieving health equity and eliminating barriers to care, which is why we support the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012. Historically, the Health Equity and Accountability Act has been introduced by the Congressional Tri-Caucus (made up of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC)) as a comprehensive health disparities elimination bill for racial and ethnic communities over the last several Congresses. Last September, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), as CAPAC's Health Taskforce Chair, introduced the bill in the House (H.R. 2954) and today, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) introduces a Senate counterpart, marking the first time since 2005 that a Senate version of the bill was introduced. The Health Equity and Accountability Act provides federal support, resources and policies to tackle disparities in health status and our health care system at all levels.

    The Health Equity and Accountability Act builds on the Obama administration's substantial investments toward eliminating health disparities, including the historic Affordable Care Act and recent federal initiatives including the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, Healthy People 2020, the National Prevention Strategy and the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity. The HEAA takes the next step towards eliminating disparities by addressing the multiple barriers and intersections that affect minority health. The HEAA:

    • Ensures that a full range of culturally and linguistically appropriate health care and public health services are available and accessible in every community;
    • Creates additional pipeline and training opportunities for minority‐serving professional and allied health care workers;
    • Incorporates strategies to address a range of disease‐specific, mental and behavioral health issues facing minority communities;
    • Seeks to further eliminate existing access barriers to affordable health insurance coverage;
    •  Develops effective policies to enhance quality care for women, children and families; and
    • Promotes investments in innovative health care delivery methods and technologies, and advances research and data collection about the health needs and outcomes of our communities, including health information technology.

    The Health Equity and Accountability Act is more than just part of the solution to eliminating disparities and making our nation's health system more equitable, it is a statement of our nation's unmet health needs. The bill was developed through unprecedented collaboration with diverse stakeholders. Nearly a year ago, we at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) convened the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) Community Working Group -- the lead coalition for the development of this vital bill in the 112th Congress. The Working Group is comprised of nearly 200 advocates representing sectors of the health movement including advocacy, trade, population and disease specificorganizations, research institutions and other groups committed to the common goal of reducing racial and ethnic health disparities in this country.

    These partnerships allowed us to work together with our Congressional leaders to develop an intersectional framework to address racial and ethnic health disparities by including subpopulations within communities of color that face additional barriers due to sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status and geography. And importantly, the Working Group, as a coalition, harnessed the collective wisdom and power of diverse communities and represented a powerful voice for equity.

    While the fight to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities is far from over, the Working Group has added fresh faces and new voices to the effort to ensure that disparities elimination and health equity advancement continue to be a priority in future Congresses and Administrations to come. We invite you to learn more about the Community Working Group and the HEAA by visiting our resource page located here.

    The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

    This first appeared on The Huffington Post. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum


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    To wrap up National Minority Health Month, NCLR is proudly hosting a blog carnival with our friends and partners to celebrate recent progress toward eliminating health disparities for underserved communities—and talk frankly about the challenges that remain. Today, bloggers answer the question: How does race/ethnicity intersect with other identities in ways that compound barriers to health care and lead to health disparities, and how do you approach these concerns?

    Race, Sex and Health Care: The Math Adds up to ACA
    by Dania Palanker, Senior Health Policy Advisor, National Women's Law Center

    Women pay about $1 billion more for health care on the individual market just because they are women. Yet women are only paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. We are charged more and we are paid less.

    And that’s only part of the problem. The wage gap is even greater for African American women and Hispanic women. But the cost of health care is still high. So what does that add up to?

    Well, if you try to add up it all up, you find out that African American and Hispanic women are more likely to be uninsured than white women. You learn that African American women ages 45 to 64 are almost twice as likely to have a disability, handicap or chronic disease that limits activity compared to white women in the same age range. You discover that Latina women have higher rates of diabetes and hypertension. You read that older women of color are undertreated for their cancer pain. You realize that there is a problem.

    So you work towards a solution — you discover the health care law. Passed in 2010, the health care law is already expanding access to care for women of color. Because of the health care law, 410,000 African American young adults and 736,000 Latino young adults have coverage on their parents' health insurance plan. There are 20.4 million women enrolled in private insurance and 24.7 million women enrolled in Medicare who now receive preventive services with no cost sharing.

    The health care law may not add up to eliminate all health care disparities, but it is making a difference.  

    This post first appeared on the National Women's Law Center blog. Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and the National Women's Law Center.


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    Latinos are demonstrably enthusiastic about social media platforms. Given that enthusiasm and the pivotal role that Latinos will play in this November’s elections, social media is sure to take on even more political significance.

    Civil rights organizations have noticed and are leading efforts to extend social activism to real-life improvement for this community. NCLR certainly understands the role of social media in our public discourse and we are happy to announce our participation in the first-ever Google+ Latino Hangout on Air, hosted by Latinos in Social Media (LATISM), at 7:00 p.m. EDT tonight.

    The LATISM event, “Igniting the Latino Vote,” is innovative partly because it will make use of Google+’s convenient feature, the “hangout,” to gather prominent speakers including NCLR’s Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns; Arturo Vargas from NALEO; Ilia Calderón from Univisión; Brent Wilkes from LULAC; and Leo Pierson from The Huffington Post’s Latino Voices; all under a cutting-edge technological app. The panelists will discuss important political topics such as the Latino vote in this Google-powered, user-friendly video chat that will last for an hour.

    To participate in the discussion, just go to the NCLR Google+ page to watch. The hangout will stream there. The LATISM folks will also take questions from Twitter, so you can follow along there, too. Use the hashtag #LATISM to participate. You can also watch a recorded version of the panel on the LATISM National YouTube page after the event.

    Initiatives like this could revolutionize civic engagement in the U.S. and provide an edge for Latinos to fully exert our political potential. Whether you decide to join the panel to participate in the live discussion or to issue a statement about the future involvement of Latinos in U.S. politics, it will certainly be worth your time.

    To learn more about “Igniting the Latino Vote” or to join the discussion, visit the LATISM Google+ page.


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    Last week we reached thousands as part of our campaign against SB1070, and it was a hard task to limit NCLR's forceful campaign to 10 social media posts. However, here are your favorite posts of the week. Thanks to everyone for the stellar support against discrimination!


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    by Ana Hageage, Escalera Program Coordinator, Workforce Development,  National Council of La Raza

    I recently had the privilege of reading essays from Escalera Program alumni applying for scholarships. Among the questions posed was, “What does it mean to be an Hispanic student in a postsecondary institution?” Reading through their responses, I am continually inspired by the courage and perseverance of these young people. Students spoke of leaving their families for the first time, worrying about how their immigration status would affect their opportunities, overcoming culture shock, and having to juggle part-time jobs with demanding course loads.

    Latino youth are all the more at risk of becoming disengaged from education and employment due to obstacles stemming from tenuous immigration statuses, language barriers, low income, pregnancy and parenting, and a disproportionate representation in the juvenile justice system. In 2008, only 57.6% of Latino youth who entered the ninth grade completed twelfth grade with a regular diploma*. One Escalera alumnus addressed this very issue in her essay:

    "There is a large percentage of youth in my community who are undocumented and feel that they cannot attend college. These students don’t receive the best quality education due to a lack of resources and are discouraged from doing well in school due to their legal status; they feel as if their grades will not matter because they cannot continue on to a higher education."

    These students writing these essays come from backgrounds where they could have easily fallen among the 6.7 million disconnected youth across the country. They enter our programs with reading and math levels well below grade level, are first-generation college bound—often the first in their families to even attend or complete high school—and find themselves without the necessary training and education to achieve economic stability.

    What caused these scholarship applicants to stay in school and succeed where others didn’t? The answer was evident throughout the 20+ essays I reviewed: they were inspired, propelled, and held accountable because of their engagement in the community, the support from their mentors, and the resolve instilled in them by their local Escalera Programs.

    Overcoming Barriers

    Since 2001, NCLR has worked to combat persistently high unemployment and dropout rates faced by Latino youth. NCLR together with its Affiliates has targeted this high-needs population through the Escalera Program: Taking Steps to Success, an after-school model that provides positive youth development services for Latino youth ages 15–24. Participants who enroll in Escalera must earn a high school diploma or GED, complete 80 hours of work or internship experience, and enroll in a postsecondary institution in order to graduate from the program. To help students achieve these goals, program sites offer wraparound services focused on six core competencies: reconnection, foundational skills, leadership and personal development, educational attainment, career exploration, and workforce readiness skills, which are central to the success of disconnected youth.

    Best practices from our programs include:

    • Case Management: Escalera program sites offer intense case management to youth who need assistance navigating the various services available to them. The positive relationships that youth develop with case management staff are an essential first step to reconnection and are cited by participants as vital to remaining engaged in the program.
    • Corporate Engagement: NCLR’s corporate partners participate in local programming by offering career exploration activities such as speakers series, mentoring, and job shadowing. For example, professionals from the Shell Hispanic Employee Network (SHEN) recently completed a two-day job shadowing experience with 19 Escalera participants. When asked what they gained from this experience, one participant stated, “Talking with my host supervisor and the people working at Shell showed me the opportunities that come with these careers and majors.”
    • Civic Engagement: Giving back to the community is an important part of reconnection. Youth gain the feeling that they are a part of something larger and learn leadership skills along the way: “My community involvement helped me contemplate all the issues in my community and motivated me to attend a four-year university. I’ve fed homeless people, organized events for children who were victims of cancer, cleaned parks and neighborhoods, and organized events for teen parents.
    • Cultural Relevance: Every year, youth from each program site are chosen to participate in national events such as NCLR’s Annual Conference and Líderes Summit and the NCLR National Latino Advocacy Days. These events offer a unique opportunity for Escalera youth to engage in culturally relevant national discussions and to further develop their leadership skills: “I was given an opportunity to be part of the NCLR Líderes Staff at the 2011 NCLR Annual Conference in Washington, DC where I was able to share and speak to other youth from all over the United States. All of these leadership experiences have helped me grow as a person, become well-rounded, and realize the importance of helping out in the community and being able to make a difference in the world.

    Programs that provide a pathway for our disconnected Latino youth are essential, yet this is only a drop in the bucket in terms of what can be done to serve our young people. If we are to not only mend but grow our economy, we need to ensure that effective programs such as these can be replicated and brought to scale.

    For policy recommendations and more information on NCLR’s work with disconnected youth, please see our report on the Escalera Program, Plugged In: Positive Development Strategies for Disconnected Latino Youth.

    ___________________________________________
    *Education Counts Research Center Database, “Graduation Rate for Hispanic Students Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI), 2008,” http://www.edcounts.org/createtable/viewtable.php (accessed June 2011).


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Camila Gallardo
    (305) 573-7329
    cgallardo@nclr.org

    Awards aim to assist Latino students in postsecondary education

    Washington—Today, the NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Escalera Program is proud to announce the recipients of its alumni essay contest, sponsored by corporate partners Marriot International, Inc. and Shell. The Escalera Program, founded in 2001, is a national after-school program that promotes upward economic mobility by providing students access to resources and assistance in helping them achieve their educational and career goals. To date, 87 percent of Escalera Program graduates have immediately enrolled in college, and they have stayed in college beyond the first year at an average rate of 89 percent.

    Students from throughout the country submitted essays for the contest, and the eight winners were chosen by an accomplished panel of judges that included Apoorva Gandhi, Vice President, Multicultural Sales and Markets, Marriott International, Inc.; Andy Chaves, Corporate Senior Manager, Marriott International, Inc.; Brian Hall, Supplier Diversity and Outreach Specialist, Shell; Lance Alvarez, Business Development Manager of Growth Ventures, Frito Lay; Ronald J. Quintero, Strategy Director, PepsiCo Global Procurement; and Kathy Spicer, volunteer with the KIPP Escalera Program.

    Applicants submitted essay responses to questions about the importance of a postsecondary degree and what it means to be a Hispanic student in a postsecondary institution. One grand prize winner received a one-time award of $3,000; three winners each received a one-time award of $1,500; and four winners each received a one-time award of $500.

    The 2012 scholarship recipients were:

    • Maria Chavez, DePaul University (Grand Prize)
    • Joanna Barreras, Cal State University, Los Angeles
    • Susy Contreras, Mount St. Mary’s College
    • Joanna Segoviano, San Diego State University
    • Gerardo Gonzalez, University of California, Riverside
    • Danny Martinez, University of Texas, Permian Basin
    • Omri Medina, Pasadena City College
    • Karen Perez, University of Illinois, Chicago

    “During a time when the cost of a postsecondary education is becoming further out of reach for students, we are thrilled to award these scholarships to deserving Escalera Program alumni who are leaders in their communities and on college campuses,” said Simon Lopez, Senior Director of Workforce and Leadership Development at NCLR.

    According to a recent report by the College Board, only 19.2 percent of Latinos between the ages of 25 and 34 have earned an associate’s degree or higher, a number that is less than half the national average.

    “This scholarship contest is one of many ways that NCLR, its Affiliates, and our corporate partners can help Latino students persist in postsecondary education and obtain the academic credentials that are necessary to compete in today’s workforce,” continued Lopez. “These scholarship winners are in the talent pipeline to become the next engineers, psychologists, researchers, nurses, and more.”

    Excerpts of several of the winning essays are attached.

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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  • 05/05/12--14:46: Back To Reality
  • by Stephanie Pollick

    (This first appeared on the Alma Awards 411 blog.)

    Reality television is everywhere, turning regular people into household names and beckoning the already-famous to bare themselves “unscripted” to the world. Diverse casts, or the lack thereof, have been a hot topic in the news these days, specifically regarding the recent discrimination lawsuit filed against The Bachelor for their failure to cast people of color as the lead. But while Latinos and other minorities are clearly underrepresented in mainstream media, we celebrate the fact that more and more Latinos hold prominent positions on these shows—a trend that we hope will continue! Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the successes of the many Latinos acting as hosts, judges, and contestants on reality TV.

    Each week we get to see some of our favorite stars. ALMA favorites Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera pass on some of their wisdom each week on American Idol and The Voice, coaching new young talent like American Idol’s Jessica Sanchez. And Latinos are not just making waves on singing competition shows. Mario Lopez has hosted MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew for all seven seasons. William Levy has swept us off our feet week after week on this season’s Dancing with the Stars, most recently in last week’s tantalizing rumba, which got a little too hot for some of the judges but made the crowd crazy with excitement.

    Our very own five-time ALMA Awards host, Eva Longoria, will delve into reality TV later this year with her new show Ready for Love, which she is helping to produce. The NBC show will follow three men in their pursuit of true love. Not to be outdone in the cupid role, her 2009 and 2011 ALMA co-host, George Lopez, premieres his new show on FOX on July 7. Take Me Out will ask 30 women to choose from several bachelors “who must make the ultimate first impression.”

    How will their forays into reality TV fare? One thing’s for sure—we’re rooting for both of them!


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    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    (202) 776-1566
    jrendeiro@nclr.org

    A new proposed regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would speed up production lines in poultry processing plants, putting its heavily Latino workforce at greater risk of injury in an industry notorious for its hazardous working conditions. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) published a new report, Latinos in the Poultry Processing Industry, documenting the hazards that poultry workers—34 percent of whom are Latino—face as they perform repetitive tasks such as sorting, hanging, cutting, and trimming poultry at rapid speeds in crowded, damp conditions. Musculoskeletal injuries to the hands, wrists, and arms are common but widely underreported because of the precarious employment status of many workers.

    The regulation, proposed by the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, aims to improve food safety by automating some aspects of the inspection process that is required to identify and dispose of contaminated poultry. USDA’s regulation would allow plants to increase line speeds from 140 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute. Yet, the proposed changes do not account or prepare for the expected adverse impacts that increasing line speed will have on worker health and safety.

    “Common sense says that if you take a process that is already dangerous and increase the speed of production lines, you will also increase the risk of injury among poultry workers,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at NCLR. “It is gravely irresponsible to press ahead with this rule given what we know about the conditions in the poultry industry today. That USDA made no effort to put in place steps for greater oversight and monitoring of safety for companies that increase production speeds is troubling. We expect better from an administration that is committed to protecting vulnerable workers.”

    “USDA should rescind this rule and work with other federal agencies to develop a comprehensive plan to mitigate hazards and protect poultry workers,” concluded Rodriguez.

    ###
     


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    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    (202) 776-1566
    jrendeiro@nclr.org

    A new proposed regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would speed up production lines in poultry processing plants, putting its heavily Latino workforce at greater risk of injury in an industry notorious for its hazardous working conditions. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) published a new report, Latinos in the Poultry Processing Industry, documenting the hazards that poultry workers—34 percent of whom are Latino—face as they perform repetitive tasks such as sorting, hanging, cutting, and trimming poultry at rapid speeds in crowded, damp conditions. Musculoskeletal injuries to the hands, wrists, and arms are common but widely underreported because of the precarious employment status of many workers.

    The regulation, proposed by the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, aims to improve food safety by automating some aspects of the inspection process that is required to identify and dispose of contaminated poultry. USDA’s regulation would allow plants to increase line speeds from 90 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute. Yet, the proposed changes do not account or prepare for the expected adverse impacts that increasing line speed will have on worker health and safety.

    “Common sense says that if you take a process that is already dangerous and nearly double the speed of production lines, you will increase the risk of injury among poultry workers,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at NCLR. “It is gravely irresponsible to press ahead with this rule given what we know about the conditions in the poultry industry today. That USDA made no effort to put in place steps for greater oversight and monitoring of safety for companies that increase production speeds is troubling. We expect better from an administration that is committed to protecting vulnerable workers.”

    “USDA should rescind this rule and work with other federal agencies to develop a comprehensive plan to mitigate hazards and protect poultry workers,” concluded Rodriguez.

    ###
     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    (202) 776-1566
    jrendeiro@nclr.org

    Washington—“NCLR (National Council of La Raza) applauds President Obama for his historic remarks expressing support for marriage equality,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. "This issue is about doing the right thing and being on the right side of history. Ensuring fairness and equality while protecting people from discrimination is at the heart of NCLR's mission."

    “Like other Americans, Latinos have shifted their views on LGBT issues in recent years,” continued Murguía. “Acceptance and support for loving couples to have the right to marry is now shared by a majority of Latinos.”

    A report co-released by NCLR and Social Science Research Solutions, funded by the Arcus Foundation, in April found that 54 percent of Hispanics support gay marriage, which is higher than the national average. Ending discriminatory policies in employment and housing also receives overwhelming support among Latinos. “We celebrate this historic moment with our allies in the LGBT community and with the millions of LGBT Latinos across the nation, and we look forward to working together to advance equal rights for all in the days ahead,” concluded Murguía.

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

    ###


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                Contact:
    May 10, 2012                                                                        Julian Teixeira
                                                                                                  (202) 776-1812
                                                                                                   jteixeira@nclr.org

    Sacramento, Calif.—Today, more than 400 Latino advocates from across California rallied on the lawn of the State Capitol, urging members of California’s State Legislature to pass a package of bills aimed at protecting homeowners facing foreclosure. The “California Homeowner Bill of Rights” proposed by California Attorney General Kamala Harris would extend a number of critical consumer protections to homeowners throughout California, including many Latino families, who have been particularly hard hit by the housing crisis.

    The series of bills aims to:
         •   Establish basic standards of fairness in the mortgage process
         •   Increase transparency in the mortgage process
         •   Provide community tools to prevent blight after banks foreclose upon homes
         •   Improve tenant protections after foreclosures
         •   Guarantee enhanced law enforcement to defend homeowner rights

    “By passing this package of bills, California’s legislators have an opportunity to keep the American dream of owning a home alive,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza). “This is a vital lifeline for Californians that will potentially keep countless Latino families from losing their homes. This series of legislation is an important piece of the puzzle that can finally begin to stem needless foreclosures in California and can be part of the solution to our nation’s housing crisis.”

    Today’s rally, sponsored by the Center for Responsible Lending, was part of NCLR’s Home for Good campaign, aimed at stopping unnecessary foreclosures and protecting affordable housing, and was held in conjunction with NCLR’s California Latino Advocacy Days. The rally included participants from Chula Vista, Fallbrook, Greenbelt, Hayward, Keene, Los Angeles, Montebello, Moreno Valley, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton, and Walnut.

    Following the rally, advocates conducted more than 100 legislative visits to encourage lawmakers not only to pass the “California Homeowner Bill of Rights,” but also to support easier access to high-quality health care, funding for education programs that address the needs of English language learners, and workforce development benefits such as an increase in the state’s minimum wage.

    “We need to prioritize measures that will ensure a brighter future not just for Latinos, but for all Californians,” said Murguía. “The work that our advocates are doing today will send a message to the State Legislature about the concerns of our community. Whether they are about housing, jobs, education, or health care, all must be addressed if we want to move forward so we can provide better economic opportunities for the state’s growing and vital Latino population.”

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

    ###


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             

    Contact:
    Joseph Rendeiro
    (202) 776-1566
    jrendeiro@nclr.org

    Washington—Today, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a federal lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office over a number of alleged civil rights violations, including discriminatory practices targeting Latinos.  NCLR (National Council of La Raza) firmly stands behind the DOJ’s decision to file suit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and, once again, calls on Sheriff Arpaio to resign.

    “DOJ’s findings corroborated what has been a long-standing pattern and practice of unwarranted, unequal, and unconstitutional treatment of Latinos by Sheriff Joe Arpaio,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR.  “We welcome DOJ’s lawsuit, in light of the sheriff’s refusal to put in place the necessary mechanisms to prevent abuses of power that have hurt Latino immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.”

    As a result of the findings from its investigation, DOJ proposed a settlement that would have required the MCSO to train officers to make constitutional traffic stops, collect data on people arrested in traffic stops, and begin outreach to the Latino community, and it would have required a court-appointed monitor to oversee these changes.  However, Arpaio refused a court monitor, thereby putting an end to negotiations and resulting in the lawsuit.

    “We have a high regard for the work that law enforcement officers do every day, as well as their efforts to put in place community policing strategies that uphold the constitution and public safety,” added Murguía.  “Sheriff Arpaio’s practices, however, are a black eye on the law enforcement community.  ‘To serve and protect’ should not be determined by the color of your skin.  We hope that our elected leaders heed this lesson and the dangers of having law enforcement prioritize immigration status over criminal behavior.”

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans.  For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

    ###


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  • 05/14/12--10:57: The @NCLR Weekly Top 10
  • Top 10 in Social Media, May 6 - 13

    This week, two formidable advances were made toward the dream of an America that is inclusive and filled with opportunities. Thank you to everyone for sharing our excitement!

    Storified by NCLR · Sun, May 13 2012 03:53:16

    1.
    54% of the #Latino community supports #marriageequality and today President Obama joined their ranks. http://ow.ly/aO6C5 #LGBTNCLR
    2.
    We are pleased to... | Facebook"NCLR (National Council of La Raza) applauds President Obama for his historic remarks expressing support for marriage equality," said Jan...
    3.
    New from #NCLR: President Obama Joins Majority of Latinos in Support of Marriage Equality http://ow.ly/1jBQlINCLR
    4.
    We like this news.... | FacebookPHOENIX - Federal authorities said Wednesday that they plan to sue Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office over allegations of civil ri...
    5.
    Whether #Latino voter reg is up or down, politicians can't ignore the community's needs. http://ow.ly/aNUBK @voxxinewsNCLR
    6.
    Latinos place a... | FacebookA new report, LGBT Acceptance and Support: The Hispanic Perspective is a comprehensive study that shows Latinos are at least as accepting...
    7.
    ACTION NEEDED: Stand with NCLR in protecting victims of domestic violence! Show your support here: http://ow.ly/aMder #VAWANCLR
    8.
    There are 2.4... | FacebookLa falta de interés por el proceso se debe al incumplimiento del "Dream Act " y porque no sienten la urgencia.
    9.
    TAKE ACTION: Help us send the message to Congress that domestic violence is never okay! http://bit.ly/JZDtcO #ruckusNCLR
    10.
    A version of #VAWA... | FacebookWASHINGTON -- The House Republican version of the new Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would dramatically rollback confidentiality prote...

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    More than 400 people rallied to put spotlight on California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s “Homeowner Bill of Rights”, a bill that could help hundreds of Latinos facing foreclosures.


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    By Laura Vazquez, Legislative Analyst, Immigration Policy Project

    The NCLR Affiliate Network includes organizations that provide critical services to victims of domestic violence and abuse. When the House Judiciary Committee debated H.R. 4970, the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012” (VAWA), I was thinking of them. I was thinking of the survivors of domestic violence who have come through their doors. It is these clients that Congress has sought to protect in its history of reauthorizing VAWA. However, H.R. 4970 eradicates protections desperately needed for immigrant survivors of domestic violence. The Latin American Community Center’s Domestic Violence Program, an NCLR Affiliate in Delaware, said, “we witness firsthand how immigrant victims are already at a disadvantage when getting victim protections.” It is because of these stories and because of the fact that far too many immigrants are victims of domestic violence that NCLR strongly opposes H.R. 4970.

    In 1994, VAWA was enacted to protect victims of domestic violence. Recognizing that abusers often exploit a victim’s immigration status, Congress created tools to assist survivors in coming forward to report the crime and assist law enforcement in prosecuting the abusers. Community-based organizations, including some NCLR Affiliates, have taken these tools not only to protect immigrant women, but to assist in the prosecutions of the abusers. According to the Department of Justice, since the passage of VAWA, incidences of domestic violence have decreased by more than 50%.

    H.R. 4970 seeks to take those tools away, putting victims at risk and giving power to perpetrators of domestic violence, stalking, sex crimes, and human trafficking. H.R. 4970 would effectively prevent immigrant victims from applying for protection from their abusers. It radically changes the current application process for immigrant women and puts steep new hurdles to eligibility in the path of immigrant survivors seeking protection under VAWA. We urge the House of Representatives to reject H.R. 4970 because it denies victims protection and deters victims of crime from cooperating with law enforcement. We hope that Congress can return to the long-standing intent of VAWA and pass a bill that protects all victims of domestic violence.
     


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    This week is National Women's Health Week, and to mark the occasion, we're hosting a Twitter chat with our friends at the FDA Office of Women's Health and the March of Dimes.

    Not familiar with Women's Health Week? Here's some info from WomensHealth.gov:

    "National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health. The theme for 2012 is “It’s Your Time.” National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
    • Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
    • Get active.
    • Eat healthy.
    • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
    • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet."

    Our chat will focus specifically on diabetes, cervical cancer, and safe medication. We know you have lots of questions about Latina health, so be sure to join the conversation at #LatinoHealth.

    Here's what you need to know to join:

    What: A Twitter chat about Latina health
    When: Thursday, May 17, at 7:00 p.m. EDT
    Where: The Twitterverse! Join the conversation at #LatinoHealth

    You can also send us your questions before the chat or leave them on our Facebook wall.

    And, if you just can’t get enough of this topic, we'll also be talking about these issues and more at our inaugural Health Summit, taking place just days before our Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Sign up today and meet us in Las Vegas. Join the Facebook group for all the latest info. We look forward to chatting with you on Thursday!


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